What is the purpose of your garage? Car storage, first and foremost. For many, though, the car sits outside all winter while clutter lives safe and warm in the garage. So make some space, and get rid of some garage clutter!
What makes garage organizing a challenge? Garages become a catch-all, a dumping ground for our clutter. Everyone uses the garage, so it becomes the holding place for all undecided items. In addition, most of the stuff in the garage is just big, both the space and the items stored in it. And when the clutter piles up, the task becomes so overwhelming, we just can’t tackle it. The garage is the last area we care about, though it may be the first one we see when we come home.
I would suggest that garages are unique and deserve our respect. They are truly multi-functional space, with stuff for all members of the household. And whether respect the garage or not, winter is coming and no one wants to scrape frost or snow off their car every day! So clean out your garage!
This Thursday, November 15th is America Recycles Day (per Catalog Choice , “the only nationally recognized day dedicated to the promotion of recycling programs in the United States.”) and recycling is the best solution for most of the stuff cluttering up your garage! (click here local events: http://americarecyclesday.org/join-event
Cardboard – toss it, seriously.
We keep boxes for just in case, in case we need it, in case we have to return an item, in case we up and decide to move. Most of these just-in-cases will never come to pass. Collapse and recycle your cardboard with your weekly pick-up, or drop off at a local collection location. If you must keep your boxes, nest the small ones and break down the big ones to store flat. A roll of packing tape will restore them later, and you reclaim lots of space.
Appliances / EWaste like computers, televisions, cords, etc.
If the item works, try Facebook groups, like buy / sell / trade groups or local groups. Whether the items works or not, you can join a local group on www.Freecycle.org, or check out Appliance pick up or EWaste recycling in your area (check out My Recycling Guide) .
Paint / Hazardous Chemicals: For more information about hazardous waste disposal sites in your area, click here: http://www.epa.state.il.us/land/hazardous-waste/household-haz-waste/ . If you have paint to dispose of, check http://earthpaintscs.com/index.shtml
Other People’s Stuff
If you need help organizing your garage, enlist aid. Call friends and family, especially the people who have been storing things at your house. Ask for their assistance with clearing out the garage, and using firm but loving language, ask them for help and tell them the time has come for their stuff to go.
Imagine all the stuff on the floor of your garage stored vertically on the wall. Great, right? There are snazzy garage storage systems like Gorilla Racks or Metro Shelving, but you can reap benefits for a lot less money, too. For less than $100 at Home Depot, you can purchase some free standing shelves for bulky items, and nails or hooks to install on the studs for hanging storage for items. I spent 10 minutes in a client’s garage recently, pounding nails into studs for vertical storage. You can also store stuff in the garage rafters, or suspended from the roof beams. We hang our bikes from rafter hooks over the winter, above my husband’s car, and clear space in the garage for easier movement.
Finally, once you have cleared your garage clutter, determine zones (storing like items together) and homes (permanent spots) for things, or you will end up right back where you started. In garages, zones are based on categories like: Seasonal (holiday), Yard / Outdoor, Garden, Hardware, etc.
Spend an hour or two in your garage this week, and you will thank yourself all winter long!