Does the thought of organizing your garage strike fear into your heart? If it’s been months or even years since you have been able to easily find what you want in your garage, you might feel like it’s a lost cause. Maybe you’ve used your garage as a catchall for everything that didn’t have a home inside of your house, or perhaps you like to save everything “just in case,” but now it’s gotten out of control. Whatever the situation, whipping your garage into shape is not only possible, but it might even be easier than you expect! Here are 6 tips on getting the process started:
- Mentally prepare yourself
Decide when you plan to work on the garage, and write it down on the calendar. It’s best to choose a weekend where you will have two days to devote to the project; if you’re lucky, you’ll get it done in one day, but if it’s a big job, you’ll have enough time allocated. Also, invite (or beg) friends to help. Tell them that you’ll provide pizza and iced tea or beer in exchange for a couple of hours’ worth of work. Once you invite friends, you will have to stick to your plan.
- Stock up on boxes and other free or inexpensive containers
Instead of buying bins, plastic containers and other receptacles in which to store garage items, you are going to want to use something temporary to start. This will reduce the risk of you buying a bunch of containers that are the wrong size or the wrong strength for whatever it is you need to store.
- Spread out the boxes in your driveway, and begin bringing items out of the garage Label each box with a marker, and start filling them up. You will have to choose your own categories based on what you have in your garage. Some typical categories might include “car care,” “cleaning supplies,” “tools,” “lawn care,” and so on. Once one box is full, simply close it up and label another box with the same category to begin filling that one. (If you’ve chosen a rainy day for this project, you’ll need to do this inside of the garage; if you don’t have the room, you may need to reschedule for a sunny day.
- Make liberal use of the garbage can and recycling bin Chances are that there are items in your garage that you have not used in some time. Be honest with yourself about whether you actually need to keep these belongings. Your friends may be able to help you with these decisions. If there are items that you don’t want anymore but are not garbage, make plans to drop them off at a thrift shop later in the day. Don’t put them back into your garage; load them directly into your car or call the thrift shop to schedule a pickup!
- Go through the boxes
Once you have everything out of your garage and organized into categories, it’s time to look carefully at what you have and decide how you would like to store everything. Designate a place in your garage for each category of items. Try to keep frequently used items in easy-to-reach locations. Also consider where items are most likely to be used. For example, your recycling bins should be kept accessible to the garage door so that it isn’t a hassle to drag them to curb on recycling day.
- Buy bins and containers at this time
Once you know what types of containers you will need, it’s time to purchase them. Place labels on the containers as opposed to on the shelves, because this way if you decide to move the bins around, you won’t need to move labels as well.
Organizing the garage might seem like a big job, but once it’s done, you’ll feel a sense of relief and satisfaction. Now that your garage is nice and tidy, come up with a good maintenance plan in order to keep it in good condition. Going through the garage monthly or quarterly should prevent you from having to spend an entire weekend on it in the future.
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