Day 19: Garage
Hello, friends! Welcome to Day 19 of our How to Organize Your Entire Home in 20 Days series! You have been working so hard and we are so close to having your entire house organized.
Today’s project is a big one, but no worries, you know what to do!
Up today, your garage! This area is another great space to get the entire family involved since the items in there are a combination of your's, your partner's and your kid's --no need to do all of the hard work without some help. Let’s get started!
The first step to organizing your garage is to (that's right!) pull everything out from the space.
Start taking everything off the shelves, out of boxes, from within the cabinets and off the walls and pile it all into different piles in the garage and on the driveway. (This is a perfect activity to get some time in the outdoors!).
The best way to keep this project efficient is to put things in categories (the piles we talked about) AS you are pulling things off the shelves and out of boxes.
Make groups of similar items like sports equipment, tools, holiday decorations, toys, outdoor gear and anything else you store in your garage.
After you have made broad groups of everything in your garage, start sorting through those groups and dividing them into even smaller groups.
The more specific and detailed you can get for each group, the better your garage will look and function at the end.
Sort sports equipment into groups based on what kind of sport it is (all of the baseball equipment into a group, all of the basketball equipment into a group, all of the workout gear into a group, etc.).
Then move onto the tools and group all of the similar tools together (power tools with each other, hammers with each other, screwdrivers with each other, etc.).
Sort the holiday decorations by the different holidays and then by what kind of decoration it is (Christmas lights together, Christmas tree decorations together, Easter wreaths together, Thanksgiving knickknacks together, etc.).
Sort outdoor gear by what it’s used for (make groups of camping supplies, water equipment, outdoor cooking utensils, etc.)
Repeat this step until all the items in your garage are sorted into very specific groups. By being very specific with your categorizing, you’re creating an organizational system that will allow you to easily find items and quicker to put those items away after use in the future.
I know it’s a lot but the end results will be so worth it! This will be the hardest and longest step but it is definitely necessary in order for your garage to be completely organized.
By bringing out all of the items, you are easily able to see what items you want in your garage and what items you’re ready to let go of.
After you've pulled everything out onto the driveway, the next step to getting your garage organized is to start throwing away trash.
Toss out things in your immediate vision that you know without a doubt are trash.
Don’t spend too much time looking though -- we will dig deeper for things to throw away later on.
Quickly toss out old boxes, empty bottles, or any other items you see that can be thrown away. By throwing away obvious trash, you are quickly eliminating some of the clutter without much effort.
After you have categorized all the items in your garage, the next step to getting this room organized is to clean it!
Yes, take a step away from all the stuff, it’s time to just focus on the space.
Start by dusting off high to reach places like shelves and cabinets. Dust away any cobwebs that are hiding in the corners. After that, wipe down all flat surfaces like shelves, outside of cabinets, desks, and work surfaces.
Spray disinfectant on items like tools, workout equipment, sports equipment, outdoor gear and toys.
Now is the best time to clean your garage because there is nothing to get in the way of wiping every surface!
Once you have finished cleaning the garage, it’s time to get back to the piles of stuff. You're going to be further deciding on these items in their categorized piles! There are only 3 options to all of these items: keep, donate or trash.
Items that you want to keep should be things that serve your family a purpose and you definitely will be using in the future.
These are things like tools, sports equipment, and seasonal decorations.
Items that need to be donated are things that are still in good condition but no longer serve a purpose for your family.
These are things like outdated camping gear, tools that you have an excess of, and sports equipment that no longer fit anyone in your family.
Items that are trash are things that don’t serve your family any further purpose and wouldn’t serve anyone else purpose either.
These are going to be things like expired batteries, a broken toy, torn sports equipment, or any other item that you were holding onto that won’t serve anyone a purpose.
Is there really a difference between these two "toy" boards?
If you are having difficulty deciding on what items should be kept or donated, ask yourself questions such as, when was the last time someone in my family used/wore this item? Does this item still serve its original purpose for me? How many of this one item do I have and is more than one really necessary? Would someone else better benefit from having this item than I would?
By asking yourself these questions about items you aren’t sure of, you are opening your mind and being honest with yourself about the needs of your family. Any items that you keep but you don’t need will continue to add to the clutter around your house for no reason.
By giving away these items, you are not only clearing the mess from your house, you are also allowing someone else to use these items that may need them more than you.
Once you have decided which items you’re keeping and which items you’re getting rid of, it's time to put away the items that will remain in your garage.
Place the items you're keeping back onto shelves and into cabinets within the categories that you previously sorted them by.
If your garage doesn’t already have shelves or cabinets, think about investing in some in order to keep your garage organized moving forward, otherwise there’s a good chance your garage will end up in chaos again if there is no organizational system to follow, The Container Store has a variety of shelf options for all sizes of garages.
Put the most commonly used items (toys, current sports gear) in the most accessible spaces in your garage like a low or middle shelf.
For items you don’t use everyday but still use often (tools, car maintenance equipment), store in an easy to reach spot but out of the way from your more commonly used items.
Things that you only use a few times a season or once a year (holiday decorations, camping gear), store on the highest shelf or the least accessible spot in your garage since you won’t need to be getting to those items often.
To ensure all of your items stay organized even while they are not being used, store them away in weather-tight totes. These bins are great because you can see through them; making looking for items quick and easy, and they stack well on top of each other so you’ll never have to worry about your boxes falling over and scattering all of your stuff onto the ground.
You can also go with colored bins, depending on your preference. We like to get our bins at Target and Home Depot!
If ground space is limited in your garage, take advantage of wall space. Easily install utility boards for additional storage. Hang up commonly used items like tools or cleaning equipment.
Tall items like weed-eaters, rakes and brooms are also great to hang up because then they aren't getting into a tangled mess on the floor.
Don’t forget to sort items into the bins or on the walls based on the categories you sorted them in!
Meaning, if you place your Christmas tree decorations with your outdoor grilling set, you’re going to end up feeling overwhelmed when you’re trying to have a cookout because you’re having to dig through holiday decorations to find the tools you need!
Keeping everything separated into groups and what we call "genres" of categories will help you easily find things later in the future and help you put things away quicker after use because you know exactly where they need to go.
Finish up by labeling any bins that you used. This way, you'll always be able to find things easily (and so will everyone else in your family!)
I think it’s worth it to invest in organizing and storage equipment for your garage since it holds so much of your family’s overflow/storage items and can easily start to feel overwhelming.
These items are some of the neat garage organizers we have used and we think is worth the money. If you feel the same, check out these sports equipment racks and these tool holders to keep those items organized and in a specific spot.
If new organizing equipment isn’t the route you’re looking to go, no worries! Use what you have (shoe boxes, old phone boxes, and any type of bin) to keep your items sorted while they aren’t in use.
It's all about finding the organizational system that works best for you and your family!
After you have stored away all of the items, finish up by taking care of the leftover items.
These are the items that were in your garage at the start of today’s process and never made it back on the shelves because they don't actually belong in the garage.
Once those items are placed back where they actually belong, the last step is to sweep the garage! We skipped this step in the cleaning process since all of the items were taking up the floor space but go ahead and do it now so your garage can be completely clean.
One last tip before we wrap up for today.
A garage is a great place to have a permanent “donation box” for your family.
During the last 19 days you may have noticed how often you have donated items.
That’s because part of the organizing process is to declutter and get rid of items you no longer need to make space for an organizational system you can easily continue to follow.
You can’t organize clutter, you can tidy it up, but then you will do that a hundred more times in your life over and over again.
By donating items you don’t use and don’t want, you can easily follow and keep up with your organizational system.
Having a permanent donation box can help your family can let go of unwanted items on a regular basis, preventing future unwanted clutter. Keeping this box in your garage will keep it out of your house (it's definitely not cute to look at while you’re trying to enjoy your morning coffee!) and you can quickly load it into your car when it’s full to take to the nearest donation center when you’re running errands.
Making this a habit will be so helpful for your family to keep clutter down!
If you’re still feeling overwhelmed by today’s project (garages can be tough!), please reach out to the Clutterless Home Solutions Team.
Clutterless Home Solutions