In most households, the garage is sort of the catchall for all the junk and possessions that you don’t want inside the house. Unfortunately, this eventually leads to a crowded, messy space that’s unable to be used for its intended purpose: parking vehicles.
5 Steps To Reclaiming Your Garage
Research shows that nearly one in four Americans own a garage that’s too cluttered to fit their vehicles. In other words, every fourth garage you pass by is so crammed with stuff that it’s impossible to pull a car inside and use the space for its intended purpose. Sound familiar?
The garage can easily become crowded and filled with junk. From holiday supplies and hobby knickknacks to landscaping equipment and household tools, it’s the logical gathering place for the possessions that you don’t want to clutter your main living spaces. But at what point does it all become too much? At what point do you decide to reclaim your garage and use it for its intended purpose?
If you’re tired of living with a messy garage that’s so disheveled that you won’t even open the garage door at risk of the neighbors catching a glimpse of your junk, now’s the time to do something about it. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Sort Through The Junk
The first step is to sort through everything in the garage. While this may seem like a daunting and impossible task, just take it one item at a time. Create four big piles on your driveway and assign every item as keep, sell, donate, or trash/recycle. Every item should be able to fit into one of these categories (and the keep pile will ideally be the smallest). In order to keep something, you need to view the item in the right context.’
It should be something that you’ve (a) used in the last 12 months, or (b) plan to use in the next three months. If it passes this test, the next thing to consider is (a) is it useful, and/or (b) does it bring you joy? Finally, if an item passes through all of these filters, you need to ask yourself one final question: Is the garage the best place for this item to be stored? If the answer is yes, then it can stay.
This is the lengthiest step in the entire process. However, you’ll discover that it makes the rest of your job significantly easier. It’ll leave you with just a fraction of the original stuff and make it fairly simple to organize the remaining items.
2. Purchase An Outdoor Shed
Remember: Your garage is designed for parking vehicles. Unless you’re blessed enough to have one more bay than you have vehicles, you probably don’t have room for lawn mowers, yard equipment, and large tools. The best solution is to purchase an outdoor shed that can be placed in your backyard or side yard. This will allow you to further clear up space without having to get rid of items you truly need.
3. Organize In Zones
Finally, you’re left with what will actually stay in the garage. Even at this point, it’ll be necessary to organize into zones. This may include a zone for: tools, holiday décor, auto supplies, landscaping supplies, outdoor toys, etc.
4. Use A Vertical Storage System
With zones established, think vertically. You don’t want to bang your car doors into stuff every time you get in and out of the vehicle. By using wall space and storing items in a vertical fashion, you can save floor space and maximize the area. Here are some great vertical storage ideas.
5. Organize As You Go
Keeping your garage clean is an ongoing affair. In order to reduce the risk of losing control of this space and creating more messes in the future, make it a point to organize as you go. This will save you time, stress, and the temptation to let small messes turn into massive problems.
Adding It All Up
Admittedly, the garage is a lightning rod for all the odds and ends that you don’t have room for inside your home. But it doesn’t have to be a source of guilt and embarrassment. By finally taking charge and restoring this space to its original intended use, you’ll discover a sense of peace, freedom, and purpose.
For most people, purging and organizing the garage is a weekend affair. If nothing else, you’ll need an entire day to work through the mess. So go ahead and create time in your schedule. You’ll be glad you made the sacrifice!
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