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Nancy ´╗┐Collins

Professional Organizer

Time to Organize Your Garage?
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Don’t be afraid. Nancy can help create more calm and less chaos.

This time of year is the perfect time to get your garage in order! It’s not too hot, not raining, and before you dive into all your summer activities and vacation trips, this is the time to get everything organized so you can find it. Here’s a few tips to make it easy:

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Take a brief tour before you start hauling everything out: are there items that are broken or need repair? Maybe toys or other sports equipment that your family has outgrown or doesn’t use any more? This is not the deep purge step, it’s just a quick “I know we won’t/don’t use this anymore” fly-over. Remove those items first. Don’t get stuck in the weeds with this, just a real fast glance. If you need to pull things out of the middle of the garage to get to them this is the time to do that. But just do a quick pre-sort with this step.

When you’ve got the middle of the garage cleared, Start in one corner of the garage and pull everything out into the driveway. Don’t do the entire garage, just this one corner. I usually put tarps out in the driveway and create three piles/areas for these items: definitely save, definitely edit, and definitely donate/toss. Don’t overthink this step–just categorize these items for now. 

Once the items in step # 2 are out of the way, look at the space where they came from: are there any areas that need to befitted up, i.e. shelves that need help, hooks that need to be installed, etc? Think about what you want to store in this space: what is the best use of this space? Are there other items in the garage that would fit here better? Is this a space that works well for the items you just removed or is there a better use of this space? This is the perfect time to create ZONES where items that have the same use or function live here (think camping equipment, yard tools, hobby stuff, etc) Once you’re done looking at it, decide what actions to take to use this space before you start putting things back. Sweep the floors, wipe down any shelving, etc. Then when you go to put things back, think about what you just decided was the best use of this space. If something you used to store there that would be better off somewhere else, put it aside in the “edit” pile, and put back what you know you will need to use there.

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Once you’ve completed that step, it’s a simple matter to work around the garage in a clocklike direction, working on one area at a time, moving things into the definitely save, definitely edit, definitely toss/donate piles again. Don’t agonize over this step, just continue to work in this manner. And if you find something that doesn’t belong in your new area, put that in the edit pile so that you can put it away when the process is done. Don’t forget to clean and sweep up as you go. Working on sections of your garage at a time is much less intimidating than doing the whole thing at once.

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One last tip: storage bins can be a lifesaver or reason where stuff goes to die. I have found that storage bins should all be the same brand (they store easier because they fit together), and don’t forget to label label label them. Buy sturdy ones that don’t all apart if they fall down (and yes, they DO fall down sometimes), and make sure you know what is in them. Don’t go with super huge ones unless you know you have a place to store them and can move them easily when you need to. Labeling systems as easy as masking tape on the side with the contents listed work, or even packing slip holders with 3 x 5 cards in them that stick to the outside are great options. WRITE BIG on the labels so they can be read easily (no one needs to climb a ladder to see what’s store in the bins–make them easy to see) . If you don’t label them you will not know what is in them, and it becomes a hassle to find things. A good rule of thumb is twice a year, take a look at/inside the bins and edit the contents again. Make sure they are stored on sturdy shelving (there are several inexpensive options out there at your local Home improvements stores that go together quickly and easily.

My team and I love to help you with your garage. We’ve got lots of storage ideas for everything garage. We’ve done a lot of them, and now is the time to get this job done before it gets too hot and the summer gets away from us.

Feel free to reach out to us and mention my Summer Special: 5 hours for the price of 4 on any garage organizing task!

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