How to Organize Your Garagge
By Julie McRitchie co-Creator Organize Your Life
How and why is it, that one day you realize it’s been years since your car took cover in an organized garage……what happened? There are many reasons but the fact remains the same – the garage area is in a complete mess! There is no way you could find the right size screw driver, or hammer to drive even one of the nails that are spread all over the floor into anything. Who would have a clue which box holds the camping and picnic gear? “He” might know you may think, but the garage should be user-friendly for everyone and that means anyone who wants to go into the garage to repair or make something – or to simply find the Christmas lights.
Ok we all get the idea the garage is disorganized and you want it to be organized!
Set aside, then Plan and Prepare for a day to organize your garage. You will need to spend some time doing a bit of a stock take of the situation. Really give some thought to how our suggestions are a fit for your garage and select your storage solutions based on your needs and budget. You will need to be prepared with some empty boxes, garbage bags, some labels and markers and if things are really serious, a mini skip.
Do you need a mini skip? – If you do; book it now!
Do you need more boxes or stackable plastic containers?
Collect boxes from your local fruit and veggie store or buy some big plastic tubs from $2 shops, or hardware stores. Fishing tackle clear lidded boxes also often found in craft shops are great for all the small screws and washers. Pull out drawer units can also be handy and keeps the little bits handy on the bench top ice cream containers are great in the garage too for holding all sorts of oddments.
If you need and have room for more storage shelves, Op shops and $2 type shops can be good for cheap functional pieces. Or buy some brackets and wood from your local hardware store.
Create a plan
What is being moved from where, to where? what will be the advantages of moving it? Think about how often you use something and position it accordingly – the most used item most accessible and the least used higher up and further to the back.
Make use of wall space for all types of storage
Some wall mounted storage solutions include:-
Hooks and racks – for garden tools anything from the leaf rake to your bike or hoses.
The ceiling can be great place for storage especially if you have rafters to utilise
Skis and fishing rods can be balanced across rafters
ropes and pulleys can be used to hang a kayak or roof racks.
Putting shelving up can be very rewarding so if there is room for some shelving of whatever length and width give it a go store all manner of items.
This is a great way to store paint tins and power tools. Just be aware of weight ratings to be sure what you put on them will be held securely.
Consider if you need to ask someone to help you move some heavy or awkward things. Asking for help is a lot better than getting a bad back!
On the big day equip yourself with sturdy shoes and old clothes including gloves and maybe a mask if you have to deal with lots of dust/sawdust/cobwebs or chemical fumes.
Whack on some music that will keep you on the move.
To get started sometimes we need to make a larger mess to clean up so don’t be upset if after your first half hour attempting to get organized it looks worse than when you started!
We all have different styles but this is what I did recently to declutter and get our garage organized.
Take some before photos
Walk around in the shed if you can (!) & visualise it clean, tidy and orderly
Make some decisions on the big stuff, bin / op shop, a new space, or use it more effectively if you are going to keep it – i.e. the lawnmower and garden tools, power tools, hand tools, etc
Question if this is the best spot for them? How can I store this better?, Is it accessible for how often I use it?. Could I store it another way i.e. handle folded away, shelving over it, garden tools hung or standing in a drum or have in a tray against the wall.
Using your space well is the key to having your garage organized. You will need to get rid of what you don’t need; this may be heartbreaking, but on the whole it will be satisfying as you and your family decide what is no longer needed and can live without. Take photos of things that have been special if that is what is needed to move on.
Allocate an area for going to the op shop, to be given to friends, local club/charity Auction event etc.
You can get good prices for scrap metal, especially for the copper, stainless steel, bronze and Aluminium so look into this if you have any lying around.
Also make piles to sell – you may not have enough for a garage sale but still a few products good enough to sell. To earn some extra cash might even be a good motivator for you to take this job right to the end! EBay is great to sell off the repair manuals for the cars you had years ago, the old backpack, power tools, hand tools, garden tools, kids prams, toys, exercise gear, snow & diving gear etc
If you need to experience the feeling of progress load the stuff for the op shop / friends etc into the car and take away immediately, phone friends and give them a deadline to have collected it before you give it to someone else or simply toss. You can also put a FREE sign for your nature strip. Anything you put here will be gone quickly! Same with wood – “free firewood”.
Once you have some space, and you are down to what you want to keep, put in place a system that will save your garage from being that disorganized again.
Make a monthly note in your diary to assess the stuff in the odds and ends box in the shed and take it to the op shop – recyclers etc. This is an easy system that keeps you on track and you will enjoy the satisfaction of ticking it off your monthly to do list.
At some point you might have decided you have enough for a garage sale. Before you get carried away with how much money you will make – (although some people make a lot of money out of a garage sale) on the whole it may not be the most effective way for you to get rid of your stuff. We previously lived in a rural town and passing trade was limited so sales were not great but once we put a sign out that said “garage sale all stuff free” then they came in droves and we were happy to get rid of it. We didn’t have to pay removalists to take it all to our new home and no tip fees, or have to store it in our new garage and we could then quickly get back to life.
Alright, the garage is decluttered and is now ready for sorting; think about what you need access to right now. Seasonal rotations help to declutter – your camping gear, beach stuff and skis won’t likely be needed all at the same time so put away at the back what you don’t need and make easier access for the things that you do.
My Father was an earth mover and needed discipline to put things away and once he had a place for everything clearly marked he followed it to the letter, so much so that in his latest employment he is getting the workshop in order on a large cattle station using many of the simple ideas we share here with you.
Clearly marked places for things –we cannot stress enough the importance that every thing must have a place and you must put it back after every use. If it isn’t being put away ask why not ? – maybe it isn’t in the most practical place or stored the best way.
Rules - Rules of the shed at our house with 3 teenage boys is; the work bench must be clean and clear before leaving the shed.
Discipline to follow whatever rules you set – motorbike time is deducted at our house.
Reward yourself for sticking to the rules.
TIPS/Helpful Links –
Try to avoid using glass jars – as great as they are for being clear – they are too easily dropped and broken. Fishing tackle boxes are ideal they stack and you can see what is inside. Howards Storage SolutionsLearn how to stay on top of every aspect of your life using just one simple folder full of lists and spots to store all your current bills, mail, rosters, must see videos, favourite wines etc. www.organizeyourlife.com.au