It may sound crazy but the best way to organize a garage fast . . . is to be lazy the slacker way.
Ok, I get that promoting laziness to the clutter club may seem nuts.
But picture this scenario.
You decide to organize your garage. You lay out a tarp on the driveway and then proceed to lug out everything from your garage in one go. Then you’re expected to turn around and put most of it back again only this time organized. Exhausting, right? I would have given up and gone back inside to watch Frankie and Grace on Netflix.
But! What if a new slacker-type person comes along. They tell you they know how to make this whole shemozzle manageable, doable, and a teeny bit fun. Would you give it a shot?
I’m betting you would.
It's simple. The secret is Don't try to do everything at once!
Break down this great big job into 3 sections.
Do each section at separate time periods depending on your schedule and readiness.
Divide your garage into 3 sections: right wall, back wall, and left wall.
Breaking it into sections will speed up everything. It’ll be more manageable, understandable, and doable.
HERE'S THE BIG PICTURE OF HOW ORGANIZING YOUR GARAGE WORKS.
We’ll be looking at:
HOW TO PLAN AND PREPARE
What is your vision for the garage?
Consider what you want to use the garage for? Try to involve everyone who uses the garage to help you plan.)
How do you want to feel when you go into the garage?
What function do you want it to have?
What contents should be in the garage?
Do the things in the garage support your vision?
With this information to guide you, make a priority list of what you want in your garage.
Besides the car, you may want to store other things such as tools, paints, gardening equipment.
Do you want to use the garage space for things such as a billiard and games room? Would you like an exercise room, craft room, dance studio, or space for DIY!
Are these things practical now or is this in the someday category?
Try to focus on what you need right now! Write it down.
Map out a tentative floor plan of what will go where.
Create tentative zones based on use and keep only the things that fit in each. The placement of zones may change depending on how much you end up keeping.
Typical zones might include gardening, tools, sports, camping, Christmas, and car paraphernalia.
Decide when you'll carve out some time to work on your garage.
Can you take a block of time to work on the garage or over a series of Saturdays
Consider your schedule, family commitments, energy level.
Put times to organize the garage into your schedule.
Enlist Help. (No fun doing it on your own.)
What about a work exchange? Ask a friend to help you with your garage one weekend. You'll help them with their garage or some other project the next.
Of course, there are always family members to ask.
Figure out what you're going to do with the things you don’t want?
Trash. Rent a disposal bin; buy garbage tags.
Donations. Type in Google: who will pick up furniture, or scrap metal, appliances etc. in your city.
Plan your rewards:
Make a list of simple pleasures to reward yourself after each session such as:
a take-out meal;
a chat with a friend;
a cup of tea, and a crossword puzzle;
a kid-size blizzard from Dairy Queen; a kombucha;
30 min. of uninterrupted video gaming.
Set yourself up for success!
Prepare Organizing Supplies, Snacks, and Music:
Heavy-duty contractor garbage bags, recycling and donation bags or boxes for breakables.
Large plastic stackable boxes with lids (use for sorting, then storage)
Green painter’s tape and markers
Broom and dustpan
Snacks and water
Download a playlist of favourite upbeat songs from YouTube, Apple Music, Spotify . . .
DECLUTTERING AND ORGANIZING YOUR GARAGE
You will be decluttering then organizing one of 3 sections of the garage. Either the right wall, the back wall or the left wall. Each section may take you anywhere from one day to 30 days depending on your schedule.
YOU WILL FOLLOW THESE SIMPLE ACTION STEPS
FOR EACH SECTION.
Simple Action Steps to Organize Each Section!
1. Think about What Items belong Here?
2. Set your phone for 60 mins. (Or whatever you’ve scheduled) of uninterrupted decluttering. Put on your motivating music. (By dedicating a consistent amount of time to this project, you are more likely to keep at it and stay focused. )
3. Start with the floor. Keep your garbage and recycling bag handy and clear the floor.
4. Lay tarps on the driveway or backyard. Remove everything from the garage wall and place on tarp.
i) Sort like items together.
ii) Purge (donate, sell, trash) broken, unwanted, misplaced or redundant items.
iii) Assign a zone-home for items that belong in the garage.
iv) Containerize like items. Label containers. Place in appropriate zone.
FINISH SECTION ONE TO COMPLETION. REPEAT THE SAME SIMPLE ACTION STEPS FOR THE OTHER TWO SECTIONS.
Congratulations! You've decluttered and organized your entire garage.
But you're not finished yet! Think about how you can make your space more efficient, more streamlined. For instance, you may decide that you need to move something or you'd prefer to switch one zone with another. You may decide you need to add some shelves or put up some racks.
HERE'S HOW YOU CAN STREAMLINE YOUR GARAGE STORAGE SYSTEM
Some tips for Smart Storage:
i) Keep nothing on the garage floor.
ii) Create vertical storage.
iii) Organize by one simple rule: The less often you use a category of things, the higher up it goes.
iv) Create a wooden mezzanine built into the rafters to store items that will go into deep storage.
v) Transfer anything stored in cardboard boxes to plastic bins.
vi) Make sure you have labelled each bin.
vii) Organize bins on the mezzanine level with their labels visible.
viii) Convert the walls of various zones into vertical storage.
ix) Hammer in nails to hold saws and shears.
x) Hang a large pegboard and use hooks for tools.
xi) Hang a rack for rakes and brooms.
xii) Erect heavy-duty plastic shelving to store smaller items.
I hope you've been rewarding yourself throughout this journey. You deserve it!
Cheers to you and your decluttered and organized garage.
Now you'll never have to worry about what your neighbours see when you open your garage door!
If clutter is getting in the way of your peace of mind or you just need some extra hands, give us a call.
Brad and Cathy Borg
Siblings and Professional Home Organizers serving the Greater Toronto Area.