Do you have a garage at home? Yes? Does your car, that four or five-figure investment that you would find it hard to cope without, actually ‘live’ in that garage when it’s not in use? If you answered no, you are far from alone and it’s probably because the space is too cluttered for you to do so.
This is often the case in my professional experience as a Houston home organizer and large bodies of research back me up! A home organization study done by Moen (North America’s top faucet brand) found that the garage was the most cluttered space in homes.
Another survey conducted by the National Association of Professional Organizers found that 50% of homeowners named the garage as the most disorganized area of their house. And a study conducted on behalf of the Wall Street Journal discovered that 24% of homeowners are embarrassed to leave their garage doors open. And it’s all down to clutter and disorganization.
This is more of a problem than just not being able to park your car or being embarrassed to show your neighbors how disorganized you are. A cluttered garage is often filled with things that should not even be there in the first place, and in some instances you may be damaging these items, making it not worth keeping them at all.
So, if your garage is less than organized, it’s time to change that. Here are some tips and information about Houston garage organization that should help.
Houston Garage Organization: Getting Started
Ready to get started with your garage organization project? Here are some must dos:
• Set aside at least a full day, or even a full weekend or two, to get the job done.
• Make decluttering a family project and invite over a few friends to pitch in, and it’ll go a lot faster. Really can’t face the thought of garage organization even with that help? Contact a Houston garage organization professional to come in direct operations as well.
• Be prepared to go through absolutely everything, including boxes you didn’t unpack when you moved in—you never know where that family heirloom might be lurking.
The Garage Organization Process
As you go through things you will need to create three piles; keep, donate or sell, and toss. Lay them on dedicated tarps or mark off areas of your driveway with chalk and put them there.
What should get the boot: outgrown toys, items that are beyond repair, expired household chemicals (which may need special disposal), and anything you haven’t used in two years or more. If you have a hard time letting go of things that have sentimental value, snap pictures as keepsakes.
Sort the keepers into broad categories (for example, sports equipment, hand tools), and place them in well-marked cardboard boxes or, better yet, stackable clear-plastic bins you can use later. Put the keepers back in the garage for now.
As soon as possible, donate giveaways and schedule a yard sale to get rid of castoffs. If you have no time for a yard sale, or have found things that may be a little too valuable for one consider listing them for sale on a site like eBay or Craigslist.
Things to Store Elsewhere
It’s very likely that some of the items in your keep pile should actually not be in the garage at all. These you will have to find a new home for, including all the following:
Extreme cold or heat can ruin both exterior and interior paint. If you want to actually be able to use it, store your paint in a more temperate area.
Your propane tanks should never be stored in your garage. A single spark could ignite the fumes. Propane tanks should always be kept outdoors.
While you might find it convenient to store your paper goods in the garage, don’t. They’re a magnet for roaches and other bugs. Move them to your pantry.
A refrigerator is a huge energy drain in spaces that are not air-conditioned.
Unless you feel you need to feed every rodent in the neighborhood – and therefore invite them to live in your garage – keep pet food in sealed bins inside your home. Need help with pet organization? You’ll find my top tips for that here.
Houston Garage Organization: Drafting a Floorplan
Once your garage is starting to look less cluttered it will be time to draft a formal floorplan and prepare to buy the new storage and/or garage organization systems you’ll need to create a garage your car can live in and that you can live with. Here are some things to keep in mind as you do that.
1. Items you use together, like gardening tools and lawn chemicals, should be stored close to one another.
2. Put bulky equipment, like lawn mowers, in corners, where they won’t get bumped or knocked over by your car.
3. Place frequently used items, like bikes, close to the garage door.
4. Stash seasonal or rarely used items in the hardest-to-reach spots.
You should also plan to keep items off the floor whenever possible. You’ll free up much more room for your car and avoid sloppy, impossible-to-sort-through piles. If you purchase ready-made shelving units or cabinets, make sure they’re raised on legs so that you can clean the floor beneath them easily.
And finally, don’t be afraid to get help. Garage organization is one of the hardest projects less than organized homeowners have to try and tackle. A Houston garage organization professional will come on and do as much of the work as you like and, at the same time, help you create a plan to keep your newly organized garage space clutter free and efficient going forward.