Garages are notorious dumping grounds for things you used to use, thought you might use, or didn’t know where to put. It's an everyday eyesore, the door you slide past while giving friends the grand tour of your home: “Ohhh, that’s just the garage.” The financial implications of the wasted space and money spent on dormant objects, amount to a crying shame
But your garage can be part of your home oasis, and summer is the perfect time to organize and purge. With these 10 Tips to Organizing Your Garage (or your attic, basement or "junk" room), you can reclaim your space to be a beacon of usefulness.
1. Analyze What Works and What Doesn't
Write down the compelling reasons for wanting to get organized and include the view point's of anyone sharing the space. Also create a list of the essential items that you would like better access to. Post both lists on the wall for guidance and motivation.
2. Plan Your Space in Zones
Think of a kindergarten classroom as the model for designing your space, dividing it into self-contained “activity zones," i.e. a Sports Zone, Home Repair Zone, Seasonal Storage Zone, etc.
3. Estimate the Time It Will Take
If you are working alone, the typical garage takes 3 days to reorganize; if you're working as a family, you may be able to get it done in a day. You don’t have to do it all at once, but set aside enough time in your schedule to do the whole project.
4. Use My S.P.A.C.E Formula
Attack the piles methodically, keeping only what you use and love, using the SPACE acronym: Sort (group similar items), Purge (discard the excess), Assign (give things a home), Containerize (use containers to group items attractively), Equalize (maintain your system).
5. Adopt a Charity
Select an organization, a friend or family member to give items to that shouldn't be recycled or thrown away.
6. Assign a Home to Your Items
Once you've sorted and purged and know what you're keeping, it’s time to start putting items into their zones in your available storage. Consider the frequency of access in determining which specific shelf, drawer or area to place items into and tips #7 and #8 for solving additional storage needs.
7. Use Vertical Space and Aisles to Increase Storage
Install shelves and hooks on the walls to fully utilize the space. Consider talking with your neighborhood home improvement store for unique storage solutions for items like bikes, etc.
8. Select Containers Carefully
Before shopping for containers, take measurements of the space and the objects to make sure you buy the appropriate size and consider what you need to protect your belongings.
9. Label Beautifully
Nicely printed, easy to read labels are essential to maintaining the system — Bold Black letters on White labels are ideal. Pictures and silhouettes help people know where to put things, too: If you have a pegboard for tools, outline the shapes of the tools to mark their placement on the pegboard!
10. Create a Maintenance Plan
Make it a rule to clean-up the space each time you use it, investing 3-5 minutes to put everything where it belongs before leaving the room. And since possessions seem to grow like weeds, schedule yearly “Tune-Up’s” to weed out and update your system.