Organizing a Garage

The weather here in New England is still nice enough to do some outside and garage work.  I’m sure by now, the outside furniture, hoses, umbrellas, etc are finding their way into the basement or garage Tips for organizing your garage… or soon to be.  If they go into the garage, it’s a great time to be sure your garage is organized and able to put your car(s) inside.

It’s so easy for a garage to turn into a catchall storage unit.

Obviously, there are items that belong in the garage.

Here is a list of those items that truly belong in a garage:

  • Cars – Ok, I know this might seem obvious, but I have to tell you that I have many clients who have so much “stuff” in their garage that their car(s) don’t fit. Getting your car(s) in the garage should be a priority.
  • Gardening supplies – Keeping them in a cabinet or hanging on a peg board is a great idea. Don’t just leave them in your wheel barrel or thrown on the floor.  You’ll be sure to lose them over time.
  • Lawn care tools – Need not say any more here. BUT if you do have a shed, it’s better to move them there.  Especially the off-season tools.
  • Hoses – In New England, we drain our hoses and store in the garage. Otherwise, they will freeze and crack over the winter.
  • Sporting Equipment – It’s great if these items can be hung on the wall. The Container Store, Home Depot, and Lowes have many great options.
  • Plastic Storage Bins – If you have empty ones and think you’ll need in the future, be sure they are in a place where they won’t get very dirty and gross from the garage. Otherwise, get rid of them.

But what are some of the items that you should not consider keeping in your garage?

  • Clothes – The best place for out of season clothing is in your temperature-controlled home. Storing off season clothing in nice Rubbermaid containers work great.  Or having a rack that you can hang your clothes in garment bags are even better.  But storing in the garage is not your best option.
  • Paint – Many of our paints are latex which freezes at the same temperature as water. Having your paint freeze in the winter and then get very hot in the summer with more than likely degrade its quality.
  • Furniture – It’s best if you can store your outside furniture in the basement … especially if it’s wood. The extreme temperature changes can damage the wood.  Upholstered furniture is a definite NO!!  I’ve had clients store upholstered furniture on one side of the garage while parking the car on the other.  In the winter, the car is bringing much sand from the roads and eventually ruin the furniture.  In the house it belongs.  If no room inside, consider donating or giving away.
  • Food – Really not a good idea. It can attact rodents (those friendly mice and chipmunks).  Even if you have canned food, with the temperature changes occurring in a garage, this is not the best place to put your extra food.
  • Appliances – some people have an extra refrigerator and/or freezer. If your garage isn’t temperature controlled, it might make the appliance run inefficiently.  Best to check with your Electric company to get their professional opinion on that.
  • Photos — NO, NO, NO!! Please do not store your memorabilia in the garage, attic or basement.  You need to keep those items where the temperature is at what you live with.  Please, this is critical.  Otherwise you will damage your photos.
  • Electronics – Probably not the best place because it could get damaged. Unless it’s high on a shelf where it won’t be moved around, then considered putting inside the house.  If it’s an electronic you really don’t use, then consider disposing.  There are many companies that will take your electronics and dispose of properly.  My local computer store takes all electronics off my hands.
  • Extra fuel – Obviously this can’t even be considered to be stored anywhere but the garage. Just be use they are in containers that are specifically assigned to store fuel or highly flammable liquids.  If you have an outside shed, that would be best.

How Do You Start To Organize the Garage?

  1. The best way is to totally empty the garage into the driveway. As you are emptying the garage, create areas where “like go with like” and put those items there.  Use the list above of items that belong in the garage at least as a start.
  2. Give the garage a good sweeping.
  3. When you are ready to start putting items back in, look at each area to see how much you have in each section. Then determine the best place for them to go back.
  4. Try your best to have things off the floor. If you can get cabinets, peg boards, etc. to have all your items organized, this will create a neatly organized garage.
  5. You can take it one step further and label each area. For example, if you were to choose to have a peg board, under the trimmers label it trimmer.  So, when someone takes the trimmer to use, they will have no question as to where it goes back.

So, time can be running out to get your garage in order … especially if you are a New Englander.  Put it on the calendar.  Get the family involved.  You can have it complete in no time.  And when that first snow storm comes … you’ll be glad!

Need help getting started, coming up with a plan or having another set of hands, just let me know.  I’m here to help.

Your Health, Wellness and Organizing Expert … believing in you!

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