By Mike James
In our busy lives, it’s easier to ignore a messy garage than it is to ignore a messy living room or bedroom, right? After all, we don’t have to live in our garages. And, with a garage that is detached from the house, it isn’t difficult to let things pile up, sight unseen.
After all, as we go through life, we tend to end up with those pieces of furniture, replaced or old appliance, or some gadget we no longer want in the house. Not wanting to discard such items into the trash or charity bin immediately, the garage becomes he holding place that stores these type of things.
When things become out of control in the garage, it’s time to do something about it. Here’s six tips to help you get your garage in order:
1. Set up zones for sorting items.
Areas or zones should be set up during the sorting process for items you want to throw away, donate, or sell. You can even set up a work area in which to sort through the clutter.
If you set up a work area, you can take one box of stuff at a time and sort through it.
2. Sort items by type.
Sort through items by category type, then store these like-items together. You can use tarp for sorting items onto, or sorting bins to sort items into.
For instance, you’ll most likely have category types such as tools, lawn and garden, electronics, paper, memorabilia, household, holiday decorations, etc.
With papers, you might have sub-categories, such as receipts, paid bills, bank statements, letters, and so on.
In deciding what to keep, assess its value by determining a) whether you’ve used in the past one or two years, b) if you have any intention of using in the immediate future, and c) if it is a document that requires saving (i.e., financial archives, as these need to be archived for a certain number of years).
Make temporary labels on the storage bins containing items you’ll be storing. You can make permanent labels later.
3. Install racks, shelves or cabinets.
If your garage doesn’t have storage cabinets, racks or shelves on its walls, consider installing some. These can be purchased at places like Home Depot and Lowe’s, and they’re usually pretty easy to set-up.
The goal of having shelving or cabinets is to get everything off the garage floor and have designated places for everything.
4. Put away sorted items.
When organizing the sorted items into a designated storage spot in the garage (on a shelf or in a cabinet), keep the like-items together in an area.
This means that you would put all the tools in one area of the garage or in tool cabinets, or on shelves or pegboards.
Boxed papers would go in another area. And lawn care and gardening items would go in another area, and so forth.
5. Left-over items after sorting.
After you’ve sorted and put things away where they belong, and you’ve set aside what you’re donating and selling, there may be some stray items left that you don’t have space in the garage to store them.
At that point, you might want to reassess whether or not you truly need to hold onto it, since it ended up in your garage in the first place. If you don’t have room to store these items in the garage without it taking up space on floor, reassess its value on keeping it.
6. Making the finishing touches to the space.
Once you’ve organized all of the stuff in your garage, you may want to sweep the floor and clean any particularly dirty surfaces. This will add just the finishing touch you need to your newly organized garage.
Organizing your garage involves following the same principles it takes to organize your house. Everything should have a proper place, less is more, and piles are to be avoided.
Take a look at some garage organization solutions to help inspire you …
Mike James helps residential and business customers who use self storage when they don’t have enough storage space on their own property. Mike James’s company – Extra Space Storage – has locations from coast to coast, including a self storage facility in Charleston and a Greensboro self storage facility.