10 Tips for Organizing Your Garage
I’m not sure whether it is me or just something that most people struggle with but my garage has ALWAYS been a mess. Ever since I got my first storage unit/garage about 15 years ago I’ve managed to accumulate all of the junk I bought but never use in my garage and manage to have just enough space to park my car. All stuff in my home goes through a natural transition from shiny new cool thing, to seldom used thing in a pile or junk drawer, to garage clutter, and eventually dumpster filler or donation candidate. In all honesty there are few things that I really need in my garage but so many things that are tempting to buy. So I am turning over a new leaf (or trying) and here are 10 tips that I am using to finally have an organized garage.
1. Decide what your minimum objective is in organizing and make sure you at least make that happen. So if your objective is to make sure that one car can fit into the garage (or one more), then make sure that you plan to clear enough space to achieve that goal. In order to get the car in, all of these boxes or items must go.
2. Don’t buy items that have a low probability that you will be using them. For instance that treadmill, elliptical machine, or exercise bike that you were eyeing last January. Those things are generally always destined to join the junk in the garage (if you can carry the darn things out there). They are large and eventually just a pain to keep moving around in the garage. If you have a few like me, just sell them on craigslist or donate them and move on.
3. Unpack the boxes that are currently in your garage and use a very basic rule. If you haven’t used something in the last year, you don’t need it. Put it in a garage sale or donation pile (or the dumpster if it truly cannot be used by any other human). If it’s a collectible take it into the house where it belongs or simply sell it as the garage is not where collectibles belong.
4. Don’t store large amounts of gasoline, propane, or other highly combustible materials in your garage. These are a known fire hazard and they also are floor or shelf space hogs (for instance, before I started I had 5 5-gallon gas cans on the floor of my garage with about an inch of gas in each one). Another basic rule for garage items is that if it is not SAFE, then fine a proper way to dispose of it. The ideal scenario is that you keep chemicals and flammable items to an absolute minimum.
5. You know that old desk, entertainment center, and book shelf is really NEVER going to go back into the house. Do everyone a favor and donate that to a local charity, individual, or Goodwill. It’s eventually just going to fall apart outside and then be destined for the junkyard.
6. Bicycles should be hung using bicycle hooks or racks. They take up a shocking amount of floor space and generally never end up back where they started from (especially with kids). If you have a designated spot (hook) and enforce it then this will save you a lot of grief.
7. Sporting equipment should be stored together in a large tub or tubs that are clearly marked. How many times have you wanted to play catch only to not be able to find two gloves and a ball? It’s a great idea to keep like sports items together whenever practical.
8. Garbage cans and recycling bins also take up quite a bit of space but are a necessary evil. Just like your cars, you should plan your garage around these items; as you know you need to be able to freely get them in and out of the garage multiple times during the week.
9. Garden tools should also be hung on the wall using secure hooks being careful to attach each item in a way that keeps them from falling yet makes them very accessible. If you have hired a lawn service and don’t foresee ever letting the service go, then go ahead and let this equipment go (donate it).
10. The last item for me is to retire the objects of desire that once were fun projects you planned to get to one day. If that one day has been coming for more than a year… chances are very good it’s not coming. You should consider getting rid of that as well (a car you plan to eventually restore, an old motorcycle, the first personal computer you ever owned, the band saw you bought and don’t remember why, etc.).
These may seem like obvious tips but they are good reminders (at least for me). If you just work through them you can quickly find your way into a manageable situation in your garage. Once you get the amount of stuff down to a reasonable level to meet your space objectives then you can actually organize the items BY USE (keep your car wash stuff together, your tools together, etc.). You may need shelving units and/or other storage bins or hooks to finally get the remaining items organized but no doubt you will be very glad you did once the dirty work is finally done and you have that garage you always dreamed of (or at least don’t feel embarrassed to leave the garage door open).
Submitted by www.changeofaddress.org/blog/2010/10-tips-to-finally-have-an-organized-garage/ in exchange for link. Written by Sheryl Owen. 090310