4 Steps to Organize Your Garage

Stepping foot inside a garage can be a treacherous activity. Tiptoeing past objects, trying not to slip or fall or slice open a foot. For some garages, escaping without dirt, grass, wood shavings, etc. clinging to you is an impossibility. Why do we treat our garages this way? Why do we continue to place items in there and then promptly block our access to said items? Well, if you came here for answers to those questions, I can’t help you. But if you came here to discover how to transform your garage into a usable garage again, I can help with that goal!

This week, I organized two garages in two days. One took about 5 hours, the second took 9 hours. I started at 8:00 AM, completed the first garage, took an hour lunch break, then mistakenly went to the second garage and worked an addition 4.5 hours. At the end of the 9.5 hour work day, I was dehydrated, had depleted my energy levels and all reserves, and was experiencing dizziness, nausea, and a headache. Also, after taking a cold shower, my body tightened up on me and as I collapsed onto the couch, I felt like I’d done the hardest workout (Houston weather + this organizing business is getting me into shape fast!).

So, my biggest take away from this week is the following: as most garages typically don’t have AC, please follow these guidelines (1) bring a minimum of a half-gallon (aka 64 ounces) of ice cold water and a bottle of Gatorade, (2) set up a fan, (3) start in the early morning, take a break during the day, then finish in the evening, and (4) eat a healthy and hearty breakfast, lunch, and dinner. [What other tips do you follow when organizing in heat?]

Back to garage organizing. Even though these two garages needed completely different help, the steps used were the same.  The first garage was easy. They recently moved into their home, so not a lot of stuff was accumulated; it was more of a design fix. They had a staggered two door garage with less than a foot of space on the sides but had extra space towards the house end. However, the movers had placed the shelving units on the left side, which prevented a second vehicle from parking inside the garage.

Step 1: Clean and Organize

I took every object off the shelves as well as what was put in the extra space and categorized it in the driveway (toys, pool, entertaining items, luggage, tools, carpet, decorations, etc.). Then I swept the garage, made sure all the items were free of cobwebs and grass, and cleaned off the now empty shelves.

Step 2: Purge, Trash, Donate, Return Belongings

Now was time for the client to look over every item. I tagged the donate items red, the return items blue, and placed the trash items in the large trash bin. Then I loaded up the donate items and took them to the nearest donation center. Finally, the only items left were those that had to go back into the garage (the two items returning to friends were placed on the side of the garage).

Step 3: Design the Garage & Order Supplies

I moved the shelves to the back wall and the tool chest to the back, left side, which enabled both vehicles to park inside the garage. Yay! I used two bins to keep together all the kiddie pool supplies and holiday decorations.

Step 4: Implementation

The items were then placed back on the shelves by category, making it easy to find when an item is needed or where to place an item once it was finished being used.

Project complete!Organized

The second garage was a little different in that I only completed Step 1 of the project. They could not walk into their garage and just opening the door was overwhelming because they had no idea where to start. So, I came in and helped clean and organize the area.

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Step 1: Clean and Organize

IMG_9158[1]
Broken Down Boxes
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Items: Donated or Returned to Friends
The first step was to break down all the boxes that were just taking up space. This opened an entire quadrant in the back right side of the garage. Next, I separated the items that were being donated or returned to friends. Then it was time to work in the newly available space. I was able to turn their freezer so it was against the wall (had stuck out from the wall for the last 5+ years!), organize the tool chest and place it against a wall, place all the random tools and nails found throughout the garage into the tool chest, organize the paint cabinets, hang more tools onto the wall, as well as the tyke bikes and all the water items, and place the extra wood that was laying around against the back wall with the other wood. So, their garage is now accessible with space to move around.

Organized Garage

Husband and wife can now complete the following steps:
Step 2: Purge, Trash, Donate, Return Belongings
Step 3: Design the Garage & Order Supplies
Step 4: Implementation

Hopefully, my taking care of Step 1 will motivate them to finally tackle the garage and design it exactly how they’ve been picturing it!

What are your thoughts? Have you organized your garage before or are you wondering how to do it? Hopefully, the above steps will allow you to begin the project. My last advice is this: just start. It doesn’t matter what area or how you go about it, just pick a spot and start categorizing your items (trash, donate, return belongings, stays).

Good luck!

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