There are certain high-use areas of the home that get neglected when it comes to cleaning and organizing. One such place is the garage. The word garage is derived from the French “garer,” a word which means to park. Fittingly, the main purpose of early garages in America was to store cars. Carriage houses, originally designed to house horses and buggies, were often converted into garages with passing time. Thanks to C.G. Johnson, in 1921, the overhead garage door was invented, making it simpler for vehicles to enter and exit. Fast forward to today when we have more material things than ever before. Our garages tend to become dusty catch-all spaces, housing items like lawnmowers and blowers, sports equipment, ladders, shovels, and hand tools, lawn chairs, kids’ toys, coolers, camp and fishing gear, pool apparatus, Christmas tree storage, extra refrigerators and more! It is an easy space to fill up, often leaving no room to park vehicles and making item retrieval an utter challenge -in some cases a danger. If you can relate, that means it’s time to clean out the garage.
Before getting started, decide what the main purpose of your garage will be. Then, create a plan based on that purpose. For example, if you wish to park your car in the garage, most of the main area will need to be cleared of items. Should you wish to use it as a workspace for woodworking, a designated area for projects will need to be created. Or if you want to use a portion of the space for the kids to play and park their bikes, closed and locked storage is a necessity for potentially hazardous items. To design and organize a well-functioning space, keep the overall vision for your garage at the forefront of your plans.
If you have a lot of things to get rid of, you can sort through and have a garage sale or sell items online, give things away, donate items in good shape, or discard unwanted items. Consider renting a residential dumpster if you expect to produce high volumes of waste. When choosing a dumpster company, understand the local laws on disposal, kinds of debris accepted, cost variables, and weight limits should they apply. Or check with your local trash company to see what may be left curbside for weekly pick-up. There are some important considerations before beginning a DIY garage organizing projects, including understanding weather conditions, giving yourself plenty of time to clean, redesign, and organize the garage, having the proper storage ready, and lining up strong helpers since garages often contain items which are heavy to lift. Also, research storage ideas for inspiration.
To get started, remove items from the garage one by one, using the driveway space to group like-items together that you are keeping. For example, group bikes together, helmets together, gardening tools together, baseball equipment together, seasonal items together and so forth. As you go, toss trash and use labeled Rubbermaid’s to store the items you wish to sell, donate, or give-away. Keep going until the garage is emptied of items. Remove any preexisting shelving you do not wish to use. Then, thoroughly clean the garage floor, walls, and ceiling. Now is a great opportunity to repair walls, paint, hang shelving, hooks, and pegboards, build workstations and more. For DIY installations, measure your space before making changes to ensure that there will be adequate space to park your vehicle. No DIY skills? Consider hiring a professional company to design and build your space.
Be select about what items you return to the garage and where you put them. When reintroducing items into the garage, always start at the back and work your way forward. Workstations, such as a woodworking space or gardening area, should be carefully organized together in a dedicated backspace of the garage, keeping frequently used tools related to the craft handy. Bulk household items are best placed by an entrance door to the house. Be sure to label closed containers or use clear ones that enable you to see the contents. Frequently used items, such as kids’ toys, are to be placed in easy to reach spaces for easy retrieval and clean up. Chemicals and dangerous equipment must be stored safely and out of the reach of children. Locked storage is ideal for heavy duty tools. Be as creative as possible, making use of empty spaces for storage. One example is suspending storage from the ceiling. However, bear in mind that some restrictions may apply to drop-down storage depending upon local fire safety regulations.
Most garages face the street, making it easy for neighbors to peer in and see your chaos. With an organized space, no more scurrying into the garage and trying to shut the door quickly or making excuses for the mess. Simply take some time during a nice weather period to sort through what you have, get rid of junk, and organize in ways that make sense. A little investment of your time and energy to reduce clutter and organize will go a long way. Not only will you be able to say goodbye to lost and misplaced items, but your garage may also become the pride, envy, and model of the neighborhood.
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