GUEST BLOG BY Lori Krolik OF More Time for You. THIS IS part of a SERIES OF GUEST BLOGS FROM SOME OF our PROFESSIONAL ORGANIZER PARTNERS.
If you’re like many homeowners your garage has become the dumping ground for your past, your present, and your future.
- The Past - Boxes that you moved from your old home or apartment that were never unpacked.
- The Present - Sports gear that you claim to need, but can never find it when you do.
- The Future – My kids no longer use this, but my friend (sister, cousin, etc.) will have a baby soon enough.
This storage space, which was originally intended to hold your expensive automobile, has now turned into a cluttered and disorganized mess. If it makes you feel better, you’re not alone, according to a recent UCLA study, “Only 25 percent of garages (in the typical 21st century home) can be used to store cars because they are so packed with stuff.” That’s sort of backwards, don’t you think? If you’d like to take back your garage, whether to store your car or actually find all your camping gear without tripping over piles, there is a plan and a path you can follow for organization success!
Time – A typical garage takes anywhere from 4-8 hours to organize. Whether you spend a Saturday or take a day off work, you need enough time to start and finish the project. An unfinished garage organization project just invites more clutter and means you to have to start from scratch the next time you return to it.
Supplies – Before starting any garage organization project, be sure to have the following:
- Muscle – You’re going to be lifting and moving a lot of stuff, you cannot do this alone. Find a friend, hire a day laborer, or call a hauler.
- Containers – Clear bins in a variety of sizes will help immensely in the sorting and organization process. They’ll also help keep your garage organized once it’s finished. If you have equivalent sizes of Sterilite bins in 66 QT., 16 QT, and 8 QT sizes you should be good to go. Depending on the size of your garage, you’ll want to have at least 10 of each size. You can always return what you don’t use, so buy more than you think you’ll need.
- Label Maker – Labeled bins and shelving give a clear indication of where you can find something as well as where it goes after it’s used. If you don’t own a label maker, now is a good time to invest in one.
- Trash Bags – You will definitely be getting rid of a lot of junk that cannot be sold or donated. Have a good supply of trash bags on hand.
Disposal Plan – You’ll hopefully have many items for trash and donation. Call your garbage service provider to know what they can take and how you can arrange for a pick up date close to your garage organization date. Many local charities offer pick up services for large amounts of donated items. If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of coordinating with a charitable organization and your city garbage service, hire a hauler to take everything to their respective places. This ensures the items are taken away immediately and don’t linger on-site for you to have second thoughts or for them to creep back into your home.
Know Your End Result – What’s your plan: stick with your current garage set up and just get rid of stuff, invest in your garage space to increase functionality as well as the value of your home, or some combination thereof? Things to consider in planning the end design:
- Shelving – open or closed? In either case it should be adjustable as well as durable.
- Access – What do you want to store in the prime real estate, the easily accessible areas? What can live high and out of the way?
- Who will use it? – Will this just be a storage area, or are you trying to create additional play space for your kids or teens, or a man cave for yourself or your spouse?
Adding cabinetry and flooring can make the space more attractive as well as functional and there are all kinds of price points available to you from custom design to do-it-yourself at your local home improvement store. Valet Custom Cabinets & Closets offers cabinetry as well as epoxy flooring that can turn your dark and dingy garage into a beautiful and inviting space.
Sort & Zone – A garage organization project cannot be done piecemeal. You’ll need to pull everything out (see “muscle” section above) so you can see what you have and then make a decision. Designate 3 areas on your driveway for Trash, Donate, and Keep. As you pull things out, if you can easily decide something is trash or donate, then put it in the respective zone.
For items you want to keep, create sub-zones of various categories: Camping, Holiday, Tools, Recreation, Luggage, Mementos, Sports Gear, etc. As you go through old boxes and random items tossed on shelves, place like items in one of your clear bins. This does not have to be the final resting place, but it will keep the items together and allow you to see how much you have of certain types of things. Soon enough you may realize you have 10 tote bags. Do you really need that many or could a few be donated?
Put Things Away – After you’ve identified all the giveaway and trash and zoned what you’re going to keep, you’re ready to put things back. Place items in the proper size containers or on shelves, label as needed, and be sure the more commonly used stuff is easier to access than the less frequently used items (holiday decor, archived taxes, mementos, etc.).
Once your garage is organized you’ll be amazed at how much space you have and how easy it is to find what you need.
Valet Custom Cabinets & Closets designs, manufactures and installs custom organizational solutions that enhance the functionality of your living space while complementing the décor of your home.
Our talented design team creates unique solutions tailored to your specific needs, style and budget. We are independently owned and a direct manufacturer.
Our areas of specialty include Home Offices, Wall Beds, Media Centers, Closets, Pantries, Garage Cabinetry, and much more.
Your Space - Exceptionally Designed - Uniquely Styled - Expertly Crafted
Lori Krolik, Certified Productive Environment Specialist and Professional Organizer, is the owner of More Time For You.
She primarily works with residential, home office and small business clients to create systems out of their most serious clutter challenges (whether its piles that prevent a home from functioning the way it should or paper piles that impede office productivity). Lori’s 20+ years in the organizing field has resulted in thousands of clients who are more organized and productive as a result of working with her. Her primary philosophy is that you need to be able to find what you need when you need it whether at home, at work, or on your computer. Lori became a Certified Productive Environment Specialist in 2010, is a long time member of NAPO (National Association of Professional Organizers) and founder of the Los Altos chapter of Women’s Networking Alliance.