Carol is a Declutter Coach and Professional Organiser at ‘Get Organised With Carol’ in Albury NSW, and a member of the IOPO – The Institute of Professional Organisers.
In all its multipurpose glory, the garage is a space that is often underutilised, but it is full of potential. Here, we talk about how to organise your garage so it’s more functional, gets more use and simplifies day-to-day routines like arriving home from work or putting out the recycling.
In these nine easy steps, you can tackle this project in one go, or focus on one step at a time.
1. Set aside time
The first step in tackling your garage organisation project is to set aside some time to get it done. At this point, it’s best to overestimate how long it will take – you’ll be reaping the rewards later! Set aside a full day or even a weekend and gather your trusty helpers. Consider if you’ll be using the driveway to sort items as you empty the garage. If so, you’ll want to get the first few steps completed in the first day, so you can get your belongings back under the roof before sunset!
2. Gather your supplies
Having your supplies ready to go will help you get through this project quickly and efficiently. When you have all your supplies ready to go, you’re less likely to lose momentum, and you’ll get the job done quicker. It can be very frustrating to be deeply engrossed in a project, only to stop to get something you need. You’ll need garbage bags, a put away tub (for those things you’re keeping that belong in your house), a notepad, pen and chalk.
3. Clear the clutter
Before you begin to think about how best to utilise this space, it’s time to cull. In this step, your aim is to let go of what you no longer want or use, what is broken and what belongs elsewhere.
The garage is a magnet for things without a home, so now is the time to think about where it should belong. If you don’t really want to keep an item in the garage, and you don’t want it back in the house, then this is the time to decide if it deserves a spot of your property or if someone else can utilise it better.
A good rule of thumb in deciding what to keep, is to ask yourself if it’s been used in the last 6-12 months. If that doesn’t get you an answer your happy with, look at it from another angle: if you were shopping right now, would you buy it? If the answer is no, it’s likely time to let it go.
Remember, your aim in this step isn’t to move clutter about, it’s to reduce it!
Quickly sort items that won’t stay in this space: to throw, to donate/sell and to put away elsewhere. Move the bags out of the garage space so you can keep working. Use the chalk to section off areas on the driveway for items to sell, donate, or throw. This is a great trick for when there are many hands in the project!
4. Group items
Now that you’re left with what’s staying, start grouping ‘like’ items together. This will help you see what you have so you can plan your space, and also help you further cull as you decide if you need that many of one category.
5. Choose your zones
Get out that notepad and brainstorm how you want to use this space, keeping in mind what you have left. What areas will you create? Zones might include camping equipment, tools, sporting equipment, car care, or shoe/bag storage. Are there other zones that you want to include in the garage, perhaps that you haven’t had the space to include before?
6. Make a floor plan
With your zones chosen, you can start sketching out a floor plan. Think about how you already use the garage and how you intend to use it. We want a space that is easy to move around, makes sense to us and is simple to use. If you park your car in the garage, would a shoe area near the door work for you? Is your recycling station easy to access from the roller door? Have you the space to use the tool collection within the garage?
7. Choose your storage
You’ve sorted your belongings, so now you can decide how to store them. Use the wall space to get things off the floor – not only will it look neater, it will be easy to move around the space and you’ll be able to easily maintain your newly organised garage. Wall systems like the elfa 6 tier solution gets those tubs off the floor, allowing you to put seasonal items up high, and frequently used items within reach. Hang tools so they are easy to see, and store items such as yet-to-grow-into clothing in lidded storage containers.
Make it easy to see what you’re looking for by taking the time to label your storage, particularly if it isn’t see-through! You’ll be able to quickly access those Christmas decoration or next seasons’ sporting equipment with just a glance.
9. Maintain your space
Create a simple schedule so you can keep the space in great shape. Schedule time to clean, straighten and revisit zones for further decluttering. A well organised garage will be easy to maintain with just a few upkeep tasks such as sweeping and putting away loose items.
When we break down big projects into steps it’s easier for us to begin. You can tackle all these steps in a weekend, or focus on one step at a time.
Once your garage is organised, you’ll spend less time looking for stuff and more time making use of it!
Business name: Get Organised With Carol
Carol is a Declutter Coach and Professional Organiser at ‘Get Organised With Carol’ in Albury NSW, and a member of the IOPO – The Institute of Professional Organisers. She holds monthly workshops helping the local community conquer their clutter so they can simplify their days and follow their dreams. When she’s not working with clients to simplify and organise their homes, she’s writing eBooks about decluttering, simple living and creating routines that work.