Beware of the Avalanche in the Garage!
The chore was simple enough. You had to go into the garage, find the Christmas lights and string them up before the neighbors beat you to it. Sounds simple, right? Wrong! Not when the garage has turned into the de-facto dumping ground for all your half-completed carpentry projects, old photo albums, and costumes from decades ago. The undeniable fact is that the garage needs to be cleaned out and it needs to be cleaned out, now!
Try the 3 Bin System
It is a good idea to enlist a partner in the de-cluttering exercise; otherwise, this will drag on for weeks. If you can not find a friend or family member to help you out, you can enlist the services of a cleaning lady from a reliable housekeeping service. With your partner in tow, start sorting through the clutter with the following categories in mind:
- Stow: This category includes irreplaceable items such as hardware tools, fishing equipment or keepsakes such as a vintage toy car collection which must be stored for safekeeping.
- Throw: These items are rather easy to identify; busted soccer balls, damaged gardening shears and expired buckets of paint.
- Donate: Feel free to be big-hearted when sorting items out for donation. The Salvation Army will happily take any old shoes or clothing off of your hands. If there are any toys in the garage, you can drop them off at the local daycare or the YMCA.
Stack to the Ceilings
A rule of thumb while re-organizing a space that has heavy use is to “stack to the ceilings’. Interior decor expert Christopher Lowell never tired of advising homeowners in investing in quality shelving and wall hooks for their garages. By purchasing sturdy and tall shelving you are preventing the stored items from taking over precious floor space. Installing wall hooks will allow you to hang up everything from mountain bikes to the lawn mower during the winter months.
If you have expensive gym equipment resting in the garage and taking up floor space, ask yourself if you have used it more than a couple of times in the past 5 years? If you have not, it is time for it join all the other clutter in the either to the Throw or Donate pile.
Place Like with Like
You have heard this term before, “place like with like” but do you know what it really means? It is a quick way to remember to group items that belong together in a shelf or a drawer. One foolproof to go about it is to designate a spot for sporting goods. Once that is done, label one shelf for the winter sports gear like skis and snowboards and another for summer sports like basketballs, tennis rackets, and biking helmets.
The label maker will be your new best friend before this chore is over! Use colors to help specify the contents within a carton or box, like red for Christmas or green for Gardening.
Check Status of the Garage on Quarterly Basis
Reclaim your garage – and your life – by regularly checking in on the clutter status. It is as simple as scheduling a reminder on your e-calendar for every three months. If the thought of a deep clean sounds daunting, you can always sign up for a monthly professional cleaning service to complete the errand for you.