Steps to organize your garage - Quicken Loans ZIng Blog A garage is an area supposedly used to park cars, work on manly projects and store tools.

Yet, many of us struggle to even find enough space to park our car in its supposed “storage” area after a long day of work.

If you find yourself amongst the many that have everything from science fair projects you completed in junior high 15 years ago to garden tools (despite the fact that you don’t even have a garden), it’s time to commit some time to organizing your garage. Be honest, how annoying is it to have to dig through old tools that you have never even used just to find a hammer? What about having to walk up your driveway through the rain during the summer because a snowmobile that hasn’t worked for three years takes up the majority of your garage?

If you find yourself facing these agonizing situations, don’t worry. Follow these simple steps and you’ll be back to parking in your garage and doing manly stuff in no time.

Step 1 – Stop being lazy

I didn’t say this was going to be a quick process. I’d suggest setting aside a couple days, preferably a weekend. Before you dismiss the entire idea of organizing your garage because of this step, think about it. There’s a good chance at some point during the weekend you’ll find yourself adding on to your collection of garbage.

Step 2 – Clear everything out of the garage

This is the easiest way to get everything placed into designated areas. I would recommend moving everything to the driveway/front yard. This step goes a long way toward Step 3.

Step 3 – Initial keep or toss?

Sometimes you just have to let go of some things. While this may be tough, it’s a crucial step in the success of getting back your garage. There’s a good chance that you’ll be able to pick out things instantly that you can toss.  Examples of these include:

  • Shoes that stopped fitting you five years ago and that went out of style 10 years ago
  • Sets of golf clubs that were used so long ago that the woods are actually made of wood
  • Bags of clothes you’ve been meaning to donate (in this case, don’t toss, just take up to the local Goodwill)

Step 4 – Categorize

After the anguish of trashing the soccer cleats you wore while scoring the game-winning goal during recess in fourth grade resides, it’s time to begin gathering items that can be grouped together. This includes:

  • Footwear
  • Tools
  • Kids’ toys
  • Recreational equipment
  • Important paperwork (nothing of which includes old schoolwork that your parents kept for you of which you should refer to Step 2)
  • Recycling

Step 5 – Keep or toss (Part II)

After completing Step 4, you should find yourself coming across more items that have no business being placed back into the garage. What about that old bicycle that hasn’t been used since your college days or the baby crib that your son who is now 14 last used? Unless you plan on getting on some exercise binge (which we both know won’t last longer than a couple days) or having another baby, it’s time to part with these items.

 Step 6 – Designate areas in the garage for each group of objects

Now we’re getting somewhere. After two rounds of tossing items, you should be well on your way to organizing your garage. Before you begin to move grouped items back into the garage, map out where you want to place each group. This will help you visualize how much open space you have to work with for things that haven’t been able to fit in your garage for years, such as your car.

 Step 7 – Build shelves

Shelves can go a long way in freeing up even more space. Items you routinely tripped over in the past can be cleared from your path. Such items include:

  • Footwear
  • Kids’ toys such as basketballs or skateboards
  • Paint cans
  • Recyclables

 Step 8 – Move objects into designated areas

While doing this task, it’s not a bad idea to also throw in a final round of keep or toss. It might be useful to install cabinets or a work bench to place tools. If you choose not to go this route, tools can be grouped together and put in a plastic bin and placed on a shelf for easy access.

 Step 9 – Don’t fall back into old habits

Now that you can park your car in your garage, don’t revert back to your old self and lose your parking spot. Stay organized. After using items from certain groups, make sure to return the items to each specific group. If you find yourself beginning to casually throw items wherever you please, stop yourself before it gets too late.

 After following these steps, you should have a garage that can be used for its original intent.

Let me know if you think I missed any steps!


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