Monday, October 10, 2011

Monday Motivation: Getting Your Garage Organized (doing the dirty work)

Several readers have emailed me to let me know that they are getting ready to do a major garage cleaning/organizing this month.  It's the perfect time to do it because the weather is neither too hot or too cold. 

To get started, don't forget to read the first post about organizing your garage.

Now we're ready to get our hands dirty:

1.  Set out your garbage and recycling containers so they are handy. I always recommend using opaque containers (either cans or dark bags) for trash.   Once it goes into the bag - it's gone.  No looking back or having second thoughts.  Also set aside some empty boxes or bags for donations, items to return to someone, and items that need to be moved to somewhere else.

2.  Decide what categories you will want to have in your garage. 
     ~ tools
     ~ yard/gardening
     ~ toys
     ~ sporting goods
     ~ auto repair
     ~ projects
     ~ holiday decor
     ~ home improvement
     ~ camping/coolers
     ~ car storage (isn't that what garages were originally designed for anyway?)

3.  Set aside an area for each category in your yard, driveway, or other level surface.  This will be your staging area.

4.  Here comes the fun part.  Take a deep breath and start at one side of the garage.  Pick up an item and make a decision about it.  Do you :
     ~keep it?
     ~trash it or recycle it?
     ~donate it?
     ~move it somewhere else?
     ~return it to someone?
Put that item in the appropriate area, bag, or box.

5.  Continue moving around the garage, picking up one or two items at a time and follow step 4 for each item.  Warning:  When you do this, people might stop by,  thinking you are having a yard sale.  I actually made $50.00 one time while cleaning out our garage. 

6.  When everything has been removed  you can make any repairs or improvements to your walls and floors.  If you decide to paint/treat the floor you'll need to wait for the recommended time before walking on the floor.  When we painted our floor, we did half at a time, using the other half to store all of our stuff.

7.  Now it's time to set up your storage solutions.  Put up any shelves, racks, work benches or other storage options that you'll need for your stuff.  Refer to your plan from post #1 to see where everything will be stored.

8.  With all of your storage set in place, your garage is now ready to be "restocked".   Working with one category at a time, place your things in the appropriate area.  Store the most used items at eye level.  Items that are not used frequently should be placed at the higher and lower levels.  Be sure to keep and dangerous things locked away where children cannot reach them.  Also, store heavier items on lower shelves.

It's best to store most of your items up off of the floor.  This way you can sweep out your garage with a leaf blower in less than 3 minutes.   I highly recommend this.

9.  When everything is put away you can take care of your other piles.  Trash in the trash can  Items to be recycled can go to their destination.  Donations packed up and  ready for pick-up or drop-off.  Items that belong somewhere else can be put where they belong.  Items that need to be returned to someone else can be placed in your car (if small enough) to be delivered this week.

Now that your garage is cleaned out and organized you can stand back and congratulate yourself.  You can now straighten up your garage quickly because everything has a place to belong.  Also, you'll be able to find what you need quickly because it has a "home".

Note:   I recommend pizza for dinner because you will be too tired to cook.  I also don't recommend that you tell your friends and family that you cleaned out your garage because they will want to store their junk in your newly spacious area.

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