Did you know that only 30 percent of Americans keep their cars inside the garage? The reason most families let their precious thousand-dollar investment-on-wheels rot in the driveway is twofold: too much stuff and not enough organization.
With summer looming hot and heavy in the Mojave Desert, the time has come for us to clean out our garage (and driveway, for that matter) and organize what’s left, so we can finally give our cars the shelter they deserve. Fortunately, I found some invaluable tips to help us succeed on this monumental endeavor.
1. Schedule Wisely
Some home organizers swear by the power of completing chores in short intervals over several weeks, but for a major job like your garage, this strategy will never work. Unlike your living room, which only needs a vacuuming or dusting once in a while, your garage needs a serious clearing and cleaning, which could take years if divided up into 10-minute episodes ― if it ever gets done at all.
A smarter tactic for tackling your garage is to schedule a large chunk of time during which you can devote your whole attention to the job at hand. An early summer weekend is ideal, so you can enlist all of your family members to help without hearing excuses about sports practice or homework.
2. Pretend You’re Moving
On the morning of the first day of your scheduled garage crackdown, you should spend a few minutes imagining that you are preparing to move to a new residence. Moving is exhausting and expensive, and it is endlessly beneficial to move only those items you cannot live without. By pretending that you are about to leave this garage behind, you will develop the appropriate mindset for shedding all the unnecessary clutter currently in your garage.
With your visualization complete, you can begin acting as though you are about to move. The first step is to take everything out of your garage, placing it in the yard or driveway. As you do so, you can inspect all of your belongings, sorting them into piles for keeping and throwing away. It is essential that you fully empty your garage on the first day; then, you can see how glorious your garage looks when it is completely clean, and you can have something to aim for when you reorganize all your possessions.
3. Ditch the Junk Fast
Once your emptying task is complete, you shouldn’t waste any time getting rid of the stuff you deemed unworthy of “moving” ― that is, putting back into your garage. The longer it takes you to ditch your junk, the more time you have to second-guess your decisions and hold onto items you no longer need.
Most of your unwanted possessions can probably find good homes through charitable organizations, which will gladly take your donations as soon as possible. For example, if a boat is taking up your precious garage space, you can donate the vessel for a sizeable tax refund and get it off your property in just a couple weeks, compared to the several months it takes to move a boat in this market. Other charities, like Goodwill and Big Brothers Big Sisters, have drop-off donation windows open every day, so you can lose your small stuff the weekend of your big clean.
4. Make a Floor Plan
By now, it should be the second day of your attack on the garage. This morning, before you let light into the more manageable pile of possessions to store, you should take some time to design a floor plan for your soon-to-be organized space. Instead of piling boxes wherever they will fit, you should develop a system that keeps like items together.
For example, if you expect to stash lawn tools in your garage, all of your shovels, rakes, gloves, etc. should be within a single reach. Additionally, holiday decorations might all occupy a single corner, but you should further categorize them so you aren’t digging through American flags to find your winter tree ornaments.
5. Take Advantage of Vertical Space
For a perfectly clutter-free garage, you can’t expect to keep your possessions in molding cardboard boxes stacked haphazardly on the floor. Using your floor plan, you should be able to determine the types of organizational tools you need to keep your garage looking good in the long-term.
Using this project as an excuse to go to the Container Store, I assembled a number of furniture and shelving to stash my stuff neatly off the ground. Vertical space helps your garage look neater ― and it provides more space for your vehicles to seek shelter. For my possessions, I found pegboard to be the most useful, but you might also invest in shelving, cabinets, and storage boxes.
Already this year, temperatures outside are scorching, which means it is a special treat to step into a car carefully cooled by our new organized garage. All it took was a weekend, some magical thinking, and a carload of brand-new containers, and I have a garage I can be proud of.
Tiffany Rowe is a marketing administrator who assists in contributing resourceful content throughout the World Wide Web. Tiffany prides herself in her ability to provide high quality content that readers will find valuable. Hobbies: Yoga, photography, D.I.Y crafting and a new interest in dog training