While it appears that Mother Nature may be throwing another tantrum this week, it’s undeniable that Spring is here!
And that means Summer is soon to follow which means more time outside! Yay!
What’s not so great is when you have a garage that doesn’t support a life of ease during the Summer months. If your garage stresses you out and you’re embarrassed to push the button on the automatic door because your neighbors might see what’s really going on in there, now’s the perfect time to get your garage organized once and for all!
In our experience, garages often end up as dumping grounds for all of the items that couldn’t find a place in your home. So along with all of the things that do belong in your garage; lawn mowers, gardening supplies, tools, outdoor toys, sports equipment, etc, the space is cluttered with things that have found their way to this area for lack of a better solution.
Typically, this is a big space and can therefore feel overwhelming. Don’t let that feeling get the best of you! We have a few simple steps that can get your garage up and running in time for outdoor fun in the coming months!
1.) Take Everything Out
Ok, ok. We know this is asking a lot. You may have a ton of stuff in there and pulling it all out may not actually be feasible given the time you have to devote to this project. But if you can, we highly recommend doing this if possible. When you pull everything out, you’ll be able to see all of the random things that have accumulated in your garage over the years. If you try to sort things where they are, it’s too easy to tell yourself that you’ll deal with “x” later, so the stacks of boxes and things you didn’t want to deal with in the first place won’t be dealt with now.
Literally bringing your stuff out into the light of day will force you to make decisions.
If you don’t have a whole day or weekend to focus on this project, choose an area (all the stuff near the door) or a category (outdoor Christmas lights and decorations) and deal with those things first.
2. Make Categories
As you begin to pull items out of your garage, create categories. For example, put your children’s sports equipment in one pile, lawn tools into another, and outdoor furniture into a third. Every home has different items based on the activities and interests of family members, but you get the idea.
You may also have recycling that you don’t know how to get rid of like computer monitors and cords, items that your kids have outgrown or boxes of inherited things that you haven’t made decisions about yet. These things are harder because they may no longer have a purpose to you, but you either don’t know how to responsibly get rid of them or they are sentimental but you don’t want them in your actual home. For now, just place these items into piles and don’t get sidetracked by how you’re going to deal with them.
3.) Sort, Edit and Decide
Now that you have piles of categories, you can start making decisions. Working with one category at a time, sort your items into Keep, Trash/Donate, Undecided. Don’t take all day deciding about one item. If you can’t make a quick decision, put it into the Undecided pile. You can come back to that at the end.
You’ll end up with things you definitely want to keep and things that you for sure don’t want. That was easy! Now that you know what you’re keeping, go back to your undecided pile. Do you have something similar in your keep pile? Do you really need another? Do you have room to keep this thing? Be honest, don’t take the easy road here. If you don’t have room and you haven’t used it in the last year, let it go.
Continue on with this process with each category. At the end of your sorting time, you should have clear categories about what’s staying and what’s going. Go you! Great job! Put the items for donation into your car. Even if you’re not going to the donation center immediately, you need to get them out of your garage and out of your home.
Now it’s time to start putting things back!
4.) Decide On Organizing Products
Organizing products are entirely optional but we do recommend them if it will help you keep systems in place. There are a ton of great products out there that can help you corral unruly items like soccer balls or pool floats. Additionally, taking advantage of the vertical space in your garage is incredibly helpful. Once you have bikes on racks and bins on shelves, you may actually be able to pull your car into the garage and be done with scraping the ice off your windshield next winter! (GASP)
5.) Enjoy Your Functional Space!
Spending time outside is a great way to create lasting memories with the people you love. If you can easily get to the things that make the outdoors fun, and then easily put them away – you’ll have more time to enjoy the fresh air and sunlight.
Your garage can serve as a place that supports a life of adventure and activity, rather than a storage place for stuff you don’t want to deal with.
We hope this was helpful and it will make enjoying this summer easy and enjoyable for you and your entire family!