Organize Your Garage for Safety and Efficiency
Some people may say garages have doors for a reason: to hide the clutter. But if you’re tired of climbing over the mess and ready to let the sunshine in, here are some tips to organize your garage to be safe and more efficient.
Identify your goals
Some homeowners want to park their vehicles inside; others prefer the speedy access of parking outside. How you plan to use your garage makes a world of difference to your organizational efforts. Maybe you even want to carve out a corner for a workshop or a mini karate dojo. It’s your garage, so you’re the boss, at least after you tame the mess.
Once you’ve decided on how you’ll use your newfound space, it’s time to start sorting. Often, the best approach is to move things into groups. So, Halloween decorations go in one area, maybe mixed with other holiday decorations. Tools go into another area. Eventually, you’ll sort these further, identifying what to keep, what to move elsewhere, and what to sell, give away, or discard.
If you feel overwhelmed at the start of organizing your garage, know you’re not alone. Many homes have their own clutter monsters to tame. Also, know that it didn’t grow overnight. The teetering piles of unlabeled boxes and broken things you planned to fix one day happened over the course of months, years, or decades.
Tackle the job in bite-sized chunks. By working an hour or two at a time and then coming back to the task, it becomes easier to manage. You might be tempted to power through and try to get it all done at once. Unless the clutter is in its beginning stages, this runs the risk of eating an entire weekend, robbing you of much-needed rest and recreation. Give yourself some time off. The clutter will still be there when you’re feeling fresh and ready.
Start relocating your groups
After you’ve sorted items into like groups, give some thought to whether the garage is the best place for these items. In many cases, they ended up in the garage just as a matter of convenience. There was space at the time, and you could just close the door to hide the clutter. Maybe those holiday decorations would be better kept in the space under the steps or in the attic. Maybe you don’t need some of them anymore. You decide.
Consider adding shelving
Shelving can get the clutter off the floor and get those teetering piles of boxes out of your way. However, shelving can also bring safety risks. Look for sturdy shelving solutions. For example, for standing shelves, look for shelves with a wide base that’s less likely to wobble or fall. Also, consider fastening the shelving to a stud in the wall.
Sell or donate the things you don’t need
If something has been sitting untouched in the garage for years, you probably don’t need it. If you want your space back, it’s time to get tough about this. But you can mix toughness with kindness by donating items you don’t need that may be exactly what someone else needs. You might choose to sell other items.
Organizing your garage likely requires both moving things as well as getting rid of some things. If you donate some items, you’ll gain the satisfaction of helping others. Items you sell can mean a few extra dollars in your pocket. At the very least, you’ll reclaim the space that was once yours and make your garage a safer and more pleasant place for your family.