Seven Ways to Tackle the Garage

By
Real Estate Agent with Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado

Messy Garage

What excuse do you use when friends and neighbors accidentally see the open garage with boxes and stuff stacked from floor to ceiling? If the neighbors roll their eyes every time you make another excuse, it may be time to finally tackle the garage. After all, wouldn't it be nice to use it for what it was intended for?

Caution: Most "how to" articles call cleaning the garage a "moderately easy" task. We all know it may be fairly easy to do after you actually get started. What the experts don't take into consideration is that it is "difficult" to begin. There are other activities screaming for our attention: Barbecues, Ball games, Hiking, Biking, Napping, Concerts, Movies, Napping, Taking the Kids to Games, Water world, Elitches, Napping. If you've decided that now is the time, here are a few steps you can use to make tackling the garage "moderately easy".

1.  Create three piles: The throw out pile is for things that are broken or that nobody, including strangers, will ever use. The keep pile is self explanatory, but remember that everything doesn't go in this pile or you've defeated your purpose. The donate or garage sale pile is for those things that you no longer use, but someone else might.

2. Put like things together: Tools go in one area and bicycles and sports gear in another.

3. Make a plan: How much can be stored up on the wall and how much can fit into stackable boxes or on shelves? Now that you know how much you have to store, head to the nearest home improvement center and purchase the needed racks, bins and shelves. Remember to purchase storage items that can handle the load. Some things are very heavy and you don't want to risk having a shelf collapse. If you still have more things than the garage can handle, you may want to consider purchasing a storage shed for the lawn mower and weed eater.

4. Hang all of the storage units: Before you hang it, remember that heavier items should be stored in lower areas and items you use the most should be stored within easy reach.

5. Put everything in its place: Hang the tools on the wall, including shovels and rakes. Hang bicycles from the ceiling with strong hooks. The more items that are stored off the floor, the easier it will be to move around. Don't forget to pull your cars in every now and then while you are organizing to ensure that you have room to get in and out of the car and can actually close the garage door.

6. Label your areas: It's easier for the kids and the rest of the family if they can easily recognize where everything belongs.

7. Monthly check: Things will always get a little out of order. A monthly check will help put things back in place when they have migrated to unusual locations.

Now it's time to celebrate. Invite the neighbors over for a beverage. They will be green with envy and rush back to their garages to make them as beautiful as yours. Isn't it time for a nap?

More resources:

How to Organize the Garage

The Family Garage Cleanup

The Queen of Clean on How to Organize Your Garage

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Show All Comments
Rainer
52,384
Jennifer Steck
Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate

Bob and Carolin- It's an epidemic! Although I do know a few people who have garages where you can eat off the floor. I think they have an illness.

Sybil- I love the roll off dumpster idea. After you've spent that money, it would be a shame to not fill it.

Tom- I watch those commercials where they are painting the garage floor and sprinkling the white and brown bits all over it and wonder...where on earth is that garage? I'm not sure it really exists. It must be a movie set of some sort.

Jul 09, 2007 08:21 AM #27
Rainer
25,115
Beth Skinner
Skinner Properties and Investments, Inc. - Broomfield, CO
Broomfield Real Estate
I am SO with you on the blogging and napping! I can get out of both doors but only verrrrrry carefully. I admit, if I have to put something big in the backseat I have to pull out of the garage to do so.
Jul 09, 2007 08:56 AM #28
Rainer
14,969
Terri Habecker
AIG, Allied, Fireman's Fund, CNA, Travelers,The Hartford, Pr - Dana Point, CA
Life Matters & So Does Your Insurance Co

argh the garage. I like to be organized and the day my husband set up the stair master and workout aree in the garage, I came up with a great Idea. Our storage shelves in the back of the garage are loaded with files from years and years of business and face-it. Boxes are UGLY. I went to Ikea and bought thick floor to ceiling drapes and covered the entire area, making the work-out area look more like a cool gym. The drapes have rings, so when we need to get to tools, Christmas decorations or files, we just slide the drapes over.

Another nice thing is that it cuts down on dust and to keep it from getting crowded with more stuff, my husband is forbidden to bring anything else in the garage or it gets put out to the curb. (Not hubby, just the stuff, lol)

Jul 09, 2007 11:05 AM #29
Ambassador
893,425
Margaret Woda
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc., Crofton, MD 21114 - Crofton, MD
Maryland Real Estate & Military Relocation
Thanks, Jennifer - 'Think I'm going to forward this blog to my husband.  LOL.
Jul 09, 2007 03:30 PM #30
Rainer
52,384
Jennifer Steck
Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate

Beth- There is something about a good nap that inspires me to blog. I have to move my car to get those large items out too. I can't wait until I have room to stretch out. 

Terri- What a great idea. It adds additional living space and if you are in there everyday, I'm sure it makes you put stuff away. I've heard of the rule one in, one out. I think I need to try that. I'm glad your husband doesn't get set out on the curb. The guys are handy to have around.

Margaret- Let me know if it works!

 

Jul 09, 2007 04:32 PM #31
Rainer
5,557
Krissy Jones
Real Living Northwest Realtors - Renton, WA

Oh My Gosh! You should see my parent's garage!!!
It's absolutely insane. The picture on your post looks organized compared to my parent's 2 car sized mess. There is no way they could fit one more lawn mower in there let alone a car! To give it some perspective, they don't have garbage service out where they live and my dad only goes to the dump twice a year!!! Eeeewwwww!!! They don't throw away food, that goes into a compost (at least). But cans, and boxes, and paper are everywhere. I think there are 4 lawn mowers (but they only need one). There is no organization whatsoever!
Thanks for the tips, I think I'll pass them along to my dad... except he might ask me to come help him clean it up!

Jul 09, 2007 04:50 PM #32
Rainmaker
570,044
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Jennifer,

 

Did you peak in my garage ?  Seriously, having relocated to Fort Myers Beach from Michigan I find that all my stuff isn't where I thought it would be.  I know I have a certain something but I usually end up buying another rather than spend an hour looking for it !

Jul 09, 2007 05:01 PM #33
Rainer
52,384
Jennifer Steck
Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate

Krissy- Beware! The garage and its contents might be part of your inheritance.

Bill- I have more than one set of tools myself. If I found all my phillips screwdrivers and added up all I've spent over the years, I might actually be on a beach drinking an umbrella drink or locked away somewhere. I'm sure you also have lots of things that aren't required in Fort Myers Beach. Did you pack the snow shovel?

Jul 09, 2007 06:33 PM #34
Rainmaker
1,055,550
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services
I love these tips -- I try to do this every so often -- I have added another tip for myself and that is if I haven't used the item in the past 2 years it is gone -- either the trash, good will or otherwise.  I now just need to find the time to get this done.
Jul 09, 2007 06:34 PM #35
Rainer
52,384
Jennifer Steck
Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate
Joan- The next thing I need to tackle is all the fabric in my quilting room. I've been so busy blogging and working, that I haven't sewn a stitch in over a year. I keep the door shut because I'm afraid fabric monsters have been growing inside. So, after the garage comes the quilting room. I can't bear to throw fabric away, even if I haven't used it for two years. But, anything else is fair game.
Jul 09, 2007 08:13 PM #36
Rainer
12,536
Sybil Holcomb
Ayres Realty - Douglasville, GA
Jennifer, donate that fabric to the senior citizens group in your town.  They are always making things like quilts.  they would love to have it.
Jul 10, 2007 05:10 AM #37
Rainer
52,384
Jennifer Steck
Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate
Sybil, You are absolutely right. They would make good use of it and probably donate the quilt to a good cause. That is a definite win-win. Thanks for the great suggestion!
Jul 10, 2007 05:44 AM #38
Rainer
8,239
Rick Spackman
Rick Spackman REMAX of Wildwoods - Wildwood, NJ
Yours looks more organized then mine.
Jul 10, 2007 10:19 AM #39
Rainer
14,969
Terri Habecker
AIG, Allied, Fireman's Fund, CNA, Travelers,The Hartford, Pr - Dana Point, CA
Life Matters & So Does Your Insurance Co

I have a couple of neighbors who have transformed their garage into usable living space and park their cars on the street. I'm wondering now,  where do they put their "Garage stuff"?

Jul 10, 2007 10:55 AM #40
Rainer
52,384
Jennifer Steck
Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate

Rick- You should see what is behind the boxes!

Terri- I wonder what their basement looks like. It has to be somewhere.

Jul 10, 2007 05:31 PM #41
Rainer
14,969
Terri Habecker
AIG, Allied, Fireman's Fund, CNA, Travelers,The Hartford, Pr - Dana Point, CA
Life Matters & So Does Your Insurance Co
Ah! Jennifer, I was wondering if anyone was going to mention "Basement" We do not have basements in our part of the country- that's why I really wonder "Where do they put their stuff"? They don't have any stuff? Maybe I can give them some of my stuff! lol
Jul 10, 2007 08:33 PM #42
Rainer
52,384
Jennifer Steck
Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate
Terri- The basement is where you put the stuff that doesn't fit in the garage. I keep hearing about people who are decluttering so they can live a more simple life. I don't know any. Must be one of those urban legends. I would definitely miss my basement but your area of the country has plenty of other wonderful things to make up for it.
Jul 10, 2007 09:18 PM #43
Rainer
14,969
Terri Habecker
AIG, Allied, Fireman's Fund, CNA, Travelers,The Hartford, Pr - Dana Point, CA
Life Matters & So Does Your Insurance Co
Jennifer, lol at the urban legend.
Jul 11, 2007 05:52 AM #44
Anonymous
Anonymous
Anonymous
Great post Jennifer.  I would like to pass this list onto my clients. 
Jul 26, 2007 08:25 AM #45
Rainer
52,384
Jennifer Steck
Rocky Mountain Homescapes, Keller Williams, Denver Colorado - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate
Julie, Feel free to pass the information on. It is a great place to start with clients who need to declutter.
Jul 26, 2007 06:48 PM #46
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Rainer
52,384

Jennifer Steck

Denver Real Estate
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