School’s out, summer is in full swing and it’s time to face the inevitable: the garage is a disaster.
During the winter months, we have a tendency to dump things in the garage on our way in and out of the house, and we put off cleaning it out due to cold weather and short days. Once your garage has been established as the final resting place for “things that you don’t want but can’t quite throw away”, those piles of clutter become a magnet for… well, more clutter.
Ready to go Midlevel on the garage? Consider these top 5 organizing tips from Organizers Northwest before you get started.
- Decide on your goals before you begin. What does your ideal garage look like? Can you park the car in there? Do you need more space for your tools? Are the garbage and recycle bins in a convenient location? By planning ahead, you can anticipate how much clutter needs to be eliminated in order to be successful.
- Be ruthless. As you make decisions about what to keep, remember that we use 20% of what we own. That means that the old Therm-a-Rest with the suspicious stain may still be useable, but the question is, will you actually use it? If it’s been in the garage for eons, chances are you won’t miss it when it’s gone.
- Plan zones. As you are deciding where things deserve to live, a practical solution is to organize the garage into “zones”. By doing this, you create clear guidelines for others and make it much easier to find what you need. Some zone ideas are: kids toys, tools, sports, winter, summer, “Costco” items and garden supplies. Consider how you will place zones based on their proximity to where those items are most likely to be used.
- Buy the right product. We always advise people to wait to purchase bins and other organizing products until after they have done the work. Until you know what you need to store, you won’t know what to buy. Once you are ready to purchase organizing products, we recommend clear bins so that you can easily see the contents. Those with lids that snap shut on either side are better than those with flaps. We recommend storing bins vertically, but never stacked without a shelf separating each bin. If you don’t have one already, invest in solid shelving to house bins and gear.
- Anticipate change when labeling.
Once you are ready to label your storage bins, remember that your garage, like your life, will go through changes and reinventions over time. Kids grow out of their toys, hobbies evolve and memorabilia accumulates. Resist the urge to write directly on storage bins, or to label them in any permanent or time-consuming way.
You could also use clear label sleeves with handwritten inserts that you can slide in and rewrite when needed. These label sleeves from Identa-Label are large, attractive and easy to see. And the next time you are ready to fine-tune the organization of the garage, your labelling needs are solved!