how-to-organize-your-garageIf you’re having trouble locating items in your garage, or notice that you’re running out of room to walk, it’s probably time to re-organize. Many people approach their garage without a clear plan of attack, which almost always results in chaos and clutter. Rather than flying blind through the mess, follow these 7 steps to get your garage back in order, and you’ll probably rediscover items you forgot you even had –  not to mention create a better system for storing and finding things in the future.

Step 1:  Place a few tarps or old sheets in your driveway or on your lawn. Remove all items from your garage and place on the tarps or sheets. Try to group together similar items as you pull them out of the garage.

Step 2:  Once your garage is empty, you’ll want to sweep and wash the floors and walls.

Step 3:  Go through the items you first removed from the garage and make sure everything is sorted into groups; for example, keep all your tools in one pile, sporting equipment in another, decorations, lawn equipment and so on. This is a key step in successful organization.

Step 4:  Once everything is sorted, it’s time to purge. Create four piles: keep, donate, trash and recycle. As you start going through things, place them in the appropriate piles. Trash anything that is broken or hasn’t been used in over a year, and donate any duplicate items. If you’re having trouble deciding whether to toss or keep something, ask yourself these 4 questions: Do I love it? Do I use it? Have I used it in the last year? Do I really need it?

Step 5:  Next take inventory of all the items you’re keeping and then map out your garage space –  either on a piece of paper or use masking tape to outline the different storage zones in your garage. Remember to consider the entirety of your space, including walls for hanging or shelving space and the ceiling for overhead storage. If you find you’re still lacking space, you may need to go back to Step 4 and try to downsize some more.

Step 6:  Now that you’ve mapped out your space, it’s time to gather your supplies. Do NOT buy any supplies before plotting out your space, to ensure you only purchase the things you need.

  • Pegboards are great for storing tools and mounted hooks are perfect for hanging bicycles and extension cords (be sure and use a stud finder to mount the hooks properly).
  • It’s best to store any hazardous chemicals or paint cans in a locked cabinet, it you have young children in the home.
  • Large trash cans or hanging racks are great for storing lawn items, like rakes and shovels.
  • Use solid wood or metal shelving units to store heavy equipment and storage bins.
  • Use clear plastic storage containers when storing like items, to make it easier to find them when you need them.

Step 7:  Once you’ve gathered all your supplies, you can start putting things away in their designated zones. Take it a step further and label all areas with a label maker or masking/duct tape and a permanent marker. Be sure and label the front and sides of your storage bins so you’ll be able to read them no matter which way you face them.

Now that your garage is in tip-top shape, you can finally start to enjoy it.  Maybe you can even get around to finishing any handy projects you’ve been putting off!

  • By: Draper and Kramer Mortgage Corp.
  • In: DIY, How To
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