Garage or Storage Unit?
Tell the truth: is your garage where you park your cars, or is it a storage unit?
We’ve all seen this when driving through our neighborhoods: cars parked in the driveway because of a jam-packed garage that leaves no room for the very thing it was built to hold. Sometimes, the garage has walkable areas where someone can squeeze around the clutter to get into the house; sometimes, it is so cluttered that even getting inside the space is a battle. It might even be your garage.
Depending on where you live, winter is coming, and being able to park your car in the garage is going to be a priority if you don’t want to scrape ice off the windshield every morning before work.
It doesn’t have to be this way…start here with our Maniac tips for organizing your garage.
Maniac Tips for Garage Organizing
While National Clean Out Your Garage Day was the Sunday after Labor Day, it’s not too late to clear some space to get your garage ready for holding a car. If you haven’t done so yet, as you’re organizing, you can pull out the holiday ornaments and decor you’ll shortly be needing.
Don’t Go for Perfection
It’s easy to get overwhelmed, especially if your garage has become a storage unit attached to your house – and especially with cold weather looming. Don’t think about how much stuff there is or look at the garage like you have to get it in perfect order. Simply decide where the car will fit best and focus on working to clear that space.
Start with one thing – one box, one shelf, one space in the garage. Sort through one pile (keep, store, donate, sell, trash).
Sort items in your garage by function. We suggest sorting by:
- Paint and home project supplies
- Lawn maintenance and gardening supplies
- Car care items
- Hobby/craft supplies
- Holiday storage
- Bikes and sport equipment
Assess Storage Needs
Once you’ve sorted through everything, assess your needs. You may need to make trips to the dump as well as to Goodwill to clear the space of items you donate or throw out. Determine if what you have left will fit on existing shelf space and in existing storage bins. Buy a few stackable storage bins for the items you need to get out of your way (even if you’ll need to sort through them again later when you’re ready to deal with it).
Don’t Forget to Go High
When it comes to garages, no space is off limits. Take advantage of ceiling hooks for bikes, tall shelves, peg boards on the walls, and overhead storage options. The more vertical space you can use, the more room there will be for the car.
Remember Your Goal
Remember, your goal with this project is not to perfect your garage but to make space for your car before the bad weather comes. Don’t be distracted by what might be a larger project – save it for another time, and simply clear the space you must have now.
Ask for Help
If it feels to overwhelming, ask for help. Enlist your family members or call the Maniacs. We love turning garage storage units into car protectors!
4 Simple Ways to Use Your Garage More Effectively
The garage has become, in modern America, an alternative to the storage unit. But just think of what you could do with the space if you cleared it out. Even if you never park your car there, it could become a den, a man cave, a playroom for the kids, a place to put a ping pong table…so much more than just a place where mice have lots of nesting space!
Make your to-do list as short as possible
It’s easier to complete a to-do list with three things than it is to complete one with 12 things on it. The longer the to-do list, the easier it is to procrastinate. So, in that spirit, here are three ways to use your garage more effectively. It’s easy enough to make another short to-do list when this one is complete.
Buy a Shed
Many houses have back yards where a shed could be placed without detracting from the appearance in any way. In fact, a well-placed shed can often enhance the visual quality and practical value of many properties. Use the shed to store your lawn mower and other yard tools, your hoses and sprinklers, your fertilizer, etc. Just clearing out those items and giving them a dedicated home may give you some breathing room.
Sort Your Stuff
What have you kept boxed or stored for over ten years without touching or using? Five years? Two years? What are you saving simply for sentimental reasons? What about because you think you might need it at some undefined point in the future? Recognize that you are less likely to use something in the future the longer it has been since you last used it.
What do you have that you are saving for someone else? Do you have items that belong to your son or daughter? What items have sentimental value specifically because they remind you of someone else? Many of these items can be given to those individuals. This alone can clear up lots of space.
Ask for help
Asking for help is the best advice possible, but it often is the hardest advice to take. You are the person who is closest to your belongings. You are the one whose emotions makes it hard to let go of things you will never use again. Having someone else who will listen kindly and make productive suggestions is a wonderful blessing – and that person can be a good friend or a professional organizer. In reality, having both can make all the difference.
As with many organizing projects, the most difficult step is the first one – and, in this case, the first step is realizing that there is a way out. It takes planning and a sometimes a little creativity, but reclaiming your garage is possible!