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How to Declutter and Organize Your Home: Garage

The garage is the catch-all storage from the rest of your home. Studies have shown that 57% of people with 2 car garages have room for only one car or none because that room is so filled with stuff.

An organized space can lead to new workstation opportunities where you’ll be able to use your tools in a safe way. You’ll also save time and money because you won’t need to buy duplicates of things that you already own but can’t find.

Having convenient storage solutions means that you’ll be more likely to store things away instead of tossing them mindlessly, and it also means that you’ll be able to store a car or even two!

How to Start

  • Get help so that you can get through it faster. This room is not like the rest of the home in which we can tackle one drawer at the time and call it a day. We have to move fast here to see some real progress.
  • Don’t buy any shelves or boxes until you’ve decluttered. This is a mistake that we make all the time, buying a lot of organization systems that we don’t know if we’re going to need; or worse, since we now have a lot of boxes, putting everything inside without decluttering first.
  • Get boxes or gardening bags ready to sort into 3 categories: donate, keep, and throw away.
  • Get everything that you can out of your garage and while you do so, put piles outside of everything that you want to keep in different categories.
  • Ask yourself: have I used this during the past year? If the answer is no, it’s time to let it go.
  • Group together items for the different activities: car cleaning products, sporting gear, seasonal clothing and decorations, gardening, etc.
  • Start by decluttering the category that is easier to reach, then cleaning the garage and lastly, organizing the remaining items.
  • Here are some categories that you might want to use:
    • Car cleaning products.
    • Car spare parts.
    • Gardening tools.
    • Sports equipment.
    • Seasonal decor.
    • Paint and accessories.
    • Seasonal clothing.
    • Outdoor decor.
    • Kids’ toys.
    • Other random things.

Things to Declutter in Your Garage

  • Power tools: what do you own and what do you really use? We sometimes buy a tool for a certain project and then it stays there forever, never to be used again. Or worse, we see a tv infomercial of a tool that is very handy for DIY projects, the only problem with that is that we never get to do those projects. Which tools do you have duplicates of? Which ones are rusty? Create space by getting rid of all those that you don’t need and give them to someone who will use them.
  • Empty boxes: for some reason, here is where all of Amazon’s empty boxes end. I’m pretty sure that there are lots of places like supermarkets where you’ll be able to get any box for free when you need it. Keep a couple and throw away the rest.
  • Paint: take a good look at the paint cans that you have stored in your garage. Which ones have a color that you’re no longer going to use in a room? Which ones have dried up or have almost no paint at all? The same goes for the paintbrushes and rollers, get rid of those that no longer work.
  • Gardening stuff: which gardening tools do you use? Which ones are damaged and just using valuable space? Are there some plastic flower pots that you kept after you bought better planters and you don’t plan on ever using them? Do you have pop up sprinklers that you’re never going to install? What about accessories such as wind chimes, bird feeders and wireframing for ivy or tomatoes? Or outdoor decor such as waterproof covers for your sofa or decorative pillows for the terrace? Which ones are you keeping because they’re in good condition but that you no longer need? Finally, keep 1 pair of gardening shoes and not 5.
  • Chemicals: take stock of the chemicals that you own, from plant chemicals that you might’ve bought to get rid of a certain bug to fertilizers and cleaning agents. Get rid of the ones that are very old, and keep only the ones that you need and use.
  • Car care products: this is a category that can get out of control: from cleaning products to oils and antifreeze, a good declutter is very needed here. Place similar items together, we sometimes buy car wax because we think that we need it, when we really have 5 lying around our garage. Car spare parts: do you still need the spare parts that you own? Or do you no longer own that car? Why are you storing the tires that are all worn and that you’ve replaced?
  • Seasonal decor: this can quickly get out of hand when we have too much storing space. The best solution here is to have a limited amount of boxes for Christmas decor. When the boxes are full and you decide to buy more stuff, get rid of something inside a box so that you don’t have to expand your storage space. Do the same with Halloween or Thanksgiving decor.
  • Old clothing: it’s ok to store some seasonal jackets so that they don’t take up space in your closet, but it’s a completely different thing to fill bags of old clothes and just keep them in your garage instead of donating them. When clothes are stored for too long they get stained, go out of style and no longer fit. It’s time to declutter those clothes, and the same goes for old shirts that you use as cleaning rags, I mean… how many of those do you really need?
  • Sports equipment: too many balls, sports that you or your kids no longer practice, old tennis rackets, games that you no longer play, ski equipment that you can easily rent when you finally go skiing, etc. The same goes for your kids’ scooters and pogos, maybe they’re already all grown up and don’t even live with you anymore, so it’s time to let them go.
  • Random things: you’ve kept them because they’re in good condition but you don’t use them anymore: old toys, kitchen appliances, gifts, lamps, old furniture, etc. Deal with those items by either selling or donating them.

How to Design and Organize Your Garage

  • Think vertical: get a heavy-duty shelving unit, better yet if the shelves are adjustable in height.
  • You can then place big tupperwares that have one category of items and label them. Don’t use cardboard boxes for storage because they might get eaten by rodents and insects.
  • You can also add a slatwall. This is a great organizing system because it allows you to see your tools hung up in an organized way. It’s also very versatile because it allows you to customize it to your needs by adding shelves in different sizes, small storage bins, hooks, baskets and rods. If you want, you can put folding doors to conceal it.
  • Repurposing home furniture for storing items is a great idea, you can have old kitchen cabinets or a dresser.
  • Store lightweight bikes off the garage floor by placing a couple of hooks in the ceiling and hanging them.
  • Balls take up too much space. You can use a mesh bag or a hammock and hang them from the ceiling.
  • Gardening tools: long gardening tools can be attached to the walls with extra-strength velcro.
  • The garden hose can be neatly hung in a hose hook.

Maintenance Tips

  • A good tip is to have a certain amount of storage containers, and when they get filled, you have to declutter one of them before putting more stuff in your garage. Before you store something in your garage for “just in case” occasions, deal with it: donate it, sell it or throw it away.
  • Try to keep most of your storage off the ground so that it’s easy to sweep and hose the garage floor.
  • Purge once a year so that you’re able to keep the amount of stuff under control.
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Written by

Ana Maria Matamoros

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