Minimize Garage Clutter in 3 Simple Steps
For most families, the garage is the catch-all of everything members don’t want to see, or can’t accommodate, inside their living spaces. The TV doesn’t work anymore? Chunk it in the garage until there’s time to take it to the junkyard. The exercise machine is too bulky for the bedroom? Then to the garage it will go. No room at home for a carpentry work station? Well, the garage is versatile; it can serve a new purpose.
Indeed, if only the garage can talk, it will scream “no more!”
If you have a garage that looks like a crisis center after a strong hurricane, consider the following 3 steps in de-cluttering:
Decide the purpose(s) of your garage.
There’s nothing wrong in re-purposing the garage for the family’s needs. Most homes have limited space, and you can’t be faulted But if you want to avoid clutter, you have to set boundaries as well. Here’s a sample rule: while the garage can be used to store gardening supplies, it can’t be used to store old toys. You can’t allow family members to see the garage as a convenient trash bin — to do so is asking for trouble!
Sort through the clutter.
When you determine what you want your garage to be, it’s time to start sorting the mess into clear-cut categories. The categories should be consistent with the purpose(s) you decided your garage will play. If, for example, you have decided that the garage should store tools related to carpentry, plumbing and vehicle repair, then form a category for each. Any object that doesn’t relate to carpentry, plumbing and vehicle repair should be up for disposal.
Here’s a useful tip when sorting: to keep yourself from getting overwhelmed, sort in stages. Begin by deciding to take out only 10% of the clutter. Pretend that you have a quota that you need to fill, or else you’re headed for frustration. When done, weed out another 10% from the 90% that remained. And then 10% from the 80% that’s left, and so on until you’ve reached the point when you can’t take anything out anymore. If you sort in stages, you’d find out that letting go of unwanted object gets easier as you go along. The stuff came in by layers, so it can exit in layers.
Organize the space.
Once you have the survivors of your elimination process, it’s now time to put some order in your garage. For best results, clear everything out first. This way you will have a better idea of how much space you’re actually working on, and how much stuff the room can reasonably accommodate. Working on an empty room frees the imagination – you’re more likely to come up with great, out-of-the-box ideas when you’re working with blank space.
Put like things together; you can devote different sections of the room for different uses so that your family members can easily figure out where to go for their needs. Make use of space-saving storage devices like plastic totes that be stacked together, and hooks are useful to maximize the wall space. If you need a craft man’s table, then consider something you can pull down from the wall, or one that will collapse or fold. This will increase the floor space – after all, you still need to be able to park your vehicle!
Sometimes, we need to remind ourselves that the garage is also the place where cars like to sleep at night. When was the last time your car had a roof over its head?