If you are lucky enough to have a garage, it is typically the largest room in the home – well, maybe outside the house. There is no doubt that this is one of the reasons why it can be one of the most challenging areas of your home to organize.
Decide on the Purpose of Your Garage
Before you can begin a garage organizing project, you need to decide what purpose your garage will serve. Do you want to use it for storage, an office, a gym, a workshop, a play area or to park your car(s)? While my personal preference is to park our cars in the garage, I know this is not a reality for everyone.
How Long will it Take to Organize My Garage?
The saying “Rome wasn’t built in a day” is good to keep in mind as you organize your garage. It will be a process, not an event. The amount of time this project will take depends on a several factors:
- Size of your garage
- The amount of stuff
- How quickly you make decisions
- Whether or not you have help – either from family or a professional
Where do I Start?
You have lots of options “how” to begin your project, but before you dig in, it’s important to have a plan for success. Elements of your plan should include:
- Project completion date
- Garage zones – For sporting equipment, yard care, car care, paint, holiday décor, surplus food items, and so on.
- Budget – For products, professional services or both.
- Responsibilities – Who in your family is responsible for various parts of the project?
- Working backwards – Using your project completion date, map out your time (and others’) on a calendar and remember organizing often takes longer than you think. Use a multiplier of two.
With your plan in place you have options where to start:
- Start with an area that will make the biggest “visual” impact – such as donating or selling large items like furniture, sporting equipment or yard equipment no longer used.
- Begin by collecting all items that will be recycled, go to the dump or hazardous waste station, or be donated.
- Dig into an area that is causing you stress – this could be any area, and the feeling of accomplishment to have the one area complete will create momentum to keep you moving forward.
- Start in one corner of the garage and make your way around the garage by making decisions about what will be kept. Everything that needs to leave the garage should be removed from the location it’s in presently and set in an area for donations, sale, dump, recycling, etc.
Storage Solution for Your Garage – Monkey Bars
As I mentioned in my post last week, I was in Baltimore attending our annual industry conference and expo. The Expo featured new and existing organizing products and services, and I would like to share one of them with you – Monkey Bars.
The Monkey Bars concept is that you can separate long-term from short-term storage. All of the hooks adjust easily to rearrange items when storage needs change. By using a variety of shelves and hooks, you can customize your storage in any garage. Pictured is one solution, but you can find other ideas on their website.
What’s Your Favorite Garage Organizing System or Product?
While there are numerous garage storage solutions and products, it’s not possible for me to list everything here. I invite you to post a comment about your favorite garage organizing solution.
Does Your Budget Meet Your Taste?
Products range from DIY to custom designed and installed solutions. This is where your budget plays a key role to ensure your budget matches your taste. Ask yourself: “Do I want my items easily accessible and visible,” or “Do I prefer things to be stored behind closed cabinets and in drawers wherever possible?” The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search for garage organizing systems.
Laura Leist, CPO
Organizing with Laura
Free Seminar with Laura Leist on April 3, 2012 in Renton, WA
I will present a free seminar titled “Eliminate Chaos: The 10-Step Process to Organize Your Home & Life” at the Fairwood Library in Renton, WA from 7 to 8 p.m. The talk will include an overview of two garages I organized along with other rooms of the home. Click here for additional information.