Have you got a garage that is so cluttered you struggle to squeeze your car in? If so, you could benefit from some of our clutter-busting ideas to get your garage organized. After all, your car is most likely the second-most valuable investment you will make in your life, so why would you leave it outside when you have a garage to keep it safe and secure?
Starting Your Clear-Out
If your garage is overflowing with stuff, then you will need to set some time aside to sort that out. Your garage organization project could take a day or two in total, so make sure you have plenty of time. Consider running a garage sale as motivation so you are forced to sort through everything; including those unopened boxes piled up in the corner!
Sort your stuff into three heaps. One for things to sell, one for things that you want to kee, and one for things that you will sell or give away.
Anything that’s broken or damaged, or that is past its use-by date, should be disposed of. Be careful with batteries and cleaning fluids or other chemicals. You may need to dispose of these properly. Sentimental ornaments and old gifts that you no longer use may be hard to get rid of. If you have not touched them in the last two years then do try to get rid of them. Take a photo as a keepsake, and consider giving them away so that you know they will go to a good home.
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If you have been keeping paint, propane or chemicals in your garage, consider moving them elsewhere because the varying temperatures and damp could damage them. The same gods for paper goods such as plates or even books. The paper could get damaged if it gets damp, and it will attract bugs too.
Move food (even pet food) inside, and try to bring your refrigerator into the house if you can. Keeping a fridge in the garage used to be common just for space reasons, but it’s actually a huge energy drain because fridges and freezers don’t work effectively in spaces that are not air-conditioned.
Use Creative Storage
If you have a lot of stuff to keep in your garage, get creative with your storage. Mount a board to the wall and hang tools from nails or pegs in the board. Get racks that you can use to store bikes, scooters, etc out of the way so that you don’t squash your bike while you’re parking your car.1
If you keep smaller petrol-powered devices such as chain saws or mowers in the garage then you should be aware that they may still have gas in the tank, and that this presents a risk of fire. Keep such equipment out of the way of your car, making sure that the stuff you use most often is the most easily accessible. You may want to have a seasonal storage system that you can rotate easily, so you can get the mower out during the warmer months, for example.
Stackable plastic storage bins and small, clear glass jars are very handy for storing loose items in a way that means they’ll remain easy to find. If you have power tools or chemicals and you’re worried about pets or children gaining access to them, keep them in sealed containers that are themselves in a lockable cabinet. It’s important that you always put safety first.
For the most part, however, open shelving is better than cabinets in a garage, because cabinets have doors that need to swing open, eating up valuable floor space. Open storage allows you to access each item without having to mess around too much.
Clean and Simple
Even the most organized garage is unlikely to look all that appealing, but there are some changes that you can make to improve the ‘room appeal’. Paint the walls white and use lots of overhead lighting to make the space feel as big as possible. Keep the floor clean and well swept, and use activated charcoal to absorb any moistness or damp smells. While it’s true that the average garage is not going to have the delicious aroma of the MONQ Love blend, with cacao and siam wood, it can have a scent that is a little more appealing than spilled motor oil and petrol.
Activated charcoal and odor eaters will absorb most of the damp that you’re likely to get in an environment that is not air-conditioned and has variable temperatures. Keeping the place free from standing water, and also free from dust, will help a lot. You could aim for the ‘Forest‘ blend with spruce and sandalwood from hanging air conditioners, and that’s a good choice if you work in the garage a lot since it will make it a little more enjoyable. Try keeping the door cracked open while you work for ventilation and to stop mold from building up.
Stop Using Your Garage as a Dumping Ground
Once you have your garage organization project completed and you are happy with the way everything looks, the challenge is keeping it that way. Stop using your garage to store boxes of unwanted stuff and get into the habit of getting rid of things that you no longer use.2 If you really cannot bring yourself to dispose of something, pay to put it in storage. If you loathe doing that, then take that as a sign that the item is, perhaps, not that valuable to you after all.
Minimalism is about letting go of things that you no longer need or use, and things that do not bring you joy. Your garage is probably full of such things! If your car is your pride and joy, then make some space for it! Little things like getting home at night and parking with ease, not having to avoid tripping over a bike when you get out of your car, will make your evenings that little bit nicer.
Photo credits: MonkeyBusinessImages/shutterstock.com, BartSadowski/shutterstock.com, trekandshoot/shutterstock.com, AfricaStudio/shutterstock.com