Before: Can you believe 2 little boys can make this much of a mess? Of course you can. These boys had too many toys and they were taking over the garage.
After: We needed to create zones to keep the toys and other garage essentials contained. Our zones were: music, bikes and vehicles, working out, lego/trains, and outside toys/sports equipment.
We laid down foam squares to mark the lego/train zone and keep it contained. We created 2 bins with each boys’ name for the toys that they don’t share so they are each responsible for their own toys.
We lined up all of the bicycles and vehicles in the front so they can be easily taken outside. We put all of the workout equipment together.
In the corner, we set up the drum set and other music equipment from both the garage and other areas of the house. Now all of the music making happens in the garage, and not in the house.
We also corralled all of the balls, bats, etc into a floating basket on wheels which could be wheeled outside to the basketball hoop or yard for sports.
Toys are now contained in bins. Nerf guns and their ammo are housed together in a cabinet. The many small parts that we came across were separated out, and we asked the boys what they went to and which were worth keeping.
Anything that did not fit into the zones was put away in another part of the house. Once the rest of the house is organized, there shouldn’t be any temptation to stash things in the garage that don’t belong.
Many folks feel that getting their garage in order is an overwhelming project. In fact it can often be too hard to handle in the course of a weekend if left to their own devices and skill set. Quite honestly, this is why Board Certified Professional Organizers keep so very busy!
I would like to inspire you to create room for yours cars in the garage if they are not already living inside. The garage after all, was designed for your cars which are typically worth tens of thousands of dollars. Automobiles and vehicles are one of the largest investments we make, falling right behind the investment in our homes. In the past 12 years as a pro organizer, I have found that the value of my clients cars always outweigh the value of whatever is currently in their garage and blocking safe passage for the cars.
Here is what my client had to say about getting her garage organized and orderly!
To help you get inspired to get going, here is the real life case study from this client project:
Situation: The garage had become a holding zone for household items and memories. These items were not properly contained or stored and took up way too much space.
The garage had a built in work table that had turned in to a dump zone – does that sound familiar to anyone out there?
Also – all of my client’s signs, which were vital to his business, were scattered around the garage, getting bent and beat up but most importantly were not easily accessed on the fly.
Three bicycles were absorbing a large amount of the usable floor space.
The only vehicle that could fit into the garage was the BMW motorcycle. Two brand new cars had never been inside the garage and the cars they replaced had not seen the inside of the garage for over 3 years!
Solution: We purged the unnecessary and then organized the remaining objects into plastic containers. I then created zones for holiday, sports, business, gardening, auto detailing and big box overflow of household items.
We scheduled a hazardous waste pick up for the old cans of paint, and chemicals. By the way, the City of Carlsbad will pick up hazardous chemicals for only $10. Most cities offer this service – check with your waste disposal company.
I advised my clients to get rid of the free-standing old-fashioned workbench that had been inherited and move the saw onto the remaining built-in workbench. This allowed us to move the tool chest from the back wall next to the workbench – makes sense right?
We hung the bicycles from the ceiling which enabled us to move the motorcycle safely into the back corner.
Once the back wall was cleared, we were able to set up a zone for the realtor signs and hang them off the ground for safe-keeping.
Results: My client just texted me that he sold the old workbench for $150 – Yay!
The workbench is set up for sawing, drilling and general handyman projects.
A friend was thrilled to pick up the no longer used automobile restoration materials.
The zones are set up and easily maintainable for holiday decor, sporting equipment and more.
The work bench is ready and open for household projects!
Two cars, one motorcycle and three bicycles are now safely living in their garage!
If you are a ‘do it yourself’ type and want detailed instructions to get your entire home organized from the front door to the back, check out my online training course – Home Organizing Made Simple.
I have to add this side note: If you or anyone you know is getting ready to buy or sell a house in the San Diego area – reach out to Eliot Rachman at 760 828 4474. He is amazing! He has helped several of my clients sell and buy their perfect homes and has been in the top 1/2 percent of all Century 21 Real Estate Advisors worldwide for the past 5 years. He is a true professional and always does the right thing for his clients!
Why do people park $30,000-50,000 cars in their driveway – exposed to all the elements 24/7?
What I have discovered over the years is it is because their garages are often filled with junk they can’t bear to part with. And while this may sound a bit silly it’s sadly the truth for the majority of us.
Okay, so maybe your car isn’t worth $50,000. But then all the accumulated junk in your garage isn’t worth nearly half of what your car is. So just where is the logic of keeping all of the junk in there?
You can see what’s coming next, can’t you? Here’s a yardstick to measure the ‘toss or not toss’ question. If it’s been sitting in your garage, attic, basement for three years without being used, please don’t even think about it one more time and let it go. Donate it to charity, sell it at a yard sale or simply put it out with the garbage, depending on what “it” is and what “it’s” condition is.
I work one on one with clients full time and the question that I hear most often is ‘where did that come from?’ If you hear yourself saying that to yourself throughout this project, this is a good indicator that you don’t need it and NOW is the perfect time to let it go.
If you feel intimidated, really want to get your car back into the garage and need a jump start to get going, call Kathi @ 760.436.4266. Your garage can be free and clear in one day and your car will have a new tidy home!
This weekend I found myself unmucking a garage so that yet another poor car could have a home. This type of project is always exciting to me. I find myself up to my ears in muck half way through the day and by the end, the car sails inside to it’s new home free and clear! It is very rewarding work and saves me a trip to the gym!
When people try to clear out their garage and make room for their car without professional help it frequently turns into a 2 -3 month project. And sometimes it simply never gets finished. The stuff comes out, no decisions get made, it turns dark and the muck goes right back in again. I have heard of this happening several weekends n a row. Profesional Organizers keep huge projects like this one focused and moving so that at the end of the day, the project is done!
As project ring leaders, Professional Organizers mediate the blame game and end the finger pointing to get everyone working towards the end goal. We also help you make tough decisions quickly to help expedite the process.
I am still surprised that it is often just me and the Mrs. tackling a garage project like this one. Girl power! In this case study, I was blessed to work with mom, 2 daughters and 1 son in law with muscles!
If you need a home for your car and the garage is too packed to accomodate, give us a call. This is what I do!
Here are a few answers to my most frequently asked questions:
Q) What Tools Do I Need To Organize a Garage?
Gather boxes, in all shapes and sizes along with a box of large trash bags.
Q) When Should I Begin?
The day after trash is emptied if possible.
Q) How Should I Begin?
To begin, remove everything from your garage. I know this sounds intimidating, but this is the only way you will clearly see what you are holding onto.
Start 3 piles outside (more…)
Situation: This client has a 3 car garage with no room left for her car. She has lived in this home for 6 years and her car has never once seen the inside of the garage.
Challenge: This client grew up in a family without much money, and was taught to buy at sales, stock up and to save everything. She has a hard time letting go of things that may be useful some day, or things that she spent money on. “If the item has value, one can’t just throw it away,” she said.
Solution: We eliminated the stuff she wasn’t using. While going through what she could get rid of, she realized that these things were not serving her at all, so she was ready to let go of them and pass the on to someone who can use them. Her holiday decor and supplies are organized and easy to find, and her long term storage is safely stored away in plastic bins, with empty ones left over for future storage. We donated all of her unwanted items to her favorite charity.
The garage now has the car inside with storage against the walls. Her significant other said that the garage is “like night and day”, and this client can’t wait for her friends to see her organized garage.
As the holidays draw near there, is nothing better than a having a dedicated place to wrap gifts and find your gift wrap.
This client had just moved into a new house, and when we unpacked her gifts and gift wrap, I wanted to put it in one area for her so she could easily access it throughout the year.
We found a place in the garage that had open cabinets and a shelf below. We consolidated all of her gift wrap, bows, ribbon, greeting cards and gifts and placed them into tubs and containers in the cabinets above, making sure to include tape and scissors.
We had a separate container for gifts bought for specific people, a container for gifts for kids, and another container for hostess gifts. We placed a large board on the shelf below to create a surface for wrapping gifts.
She now has a one stop shop in her garage for gifts. Any time she needs a gift she can just open the cabinet, find the right gift and wrap them right there. She knows right where everything is and it’s very easy. A benefit to having the gift station in the garage is that she can grab a gift on her way out the door and get it in the car before she’s had a chance to put it down and forget it.
There’s no better thing to do for yourself than to set up a gift closet or gift cabinet, especially this time of year. Have fun and create one for yourself. It’s a really great way to stay organized and avoid stress during the holidays.
Situation: This client has had a storage unit since 2007. She has downgraded from a large unit to a medium unit, and then down to a small unit. She decided to get rid of the storage unit altogether and store everything in her home, saving herself the monthly fee.
Challenge: The client needed to make space in her garage for the items from her storage unit. She is also moving and needed to downsize and pack, making sure there will be room for everything in her new home.
Solution: We organized, downsized, packed and labeled everything in the client’s garage. Once we had space in the garage for the items from storage, we went to the storage unit and organized and downsized everything there. The items she decided to keep were loaded into a van and moved to her garage. Furniture, paintings, pottery, and a couple boxes were organized, packed, and labeled, ready to be moved to her new home with the rest of her belongings.
This garage was used for watching tv, working on crafts, and an extra playroom. At the same time, it had to be used to store the usual garage items including holiday décor, extra entertaining supplies, etc.
In the beginning there was no storage in this garage, only some assorted furniture, TV and a desk. As with many garage conversions, this space had to accommodate many different types of activities and serve as a comfortable retreat /playroom for the two boys and a space for mom and sons to create craft projects and read.
My client had wall-to-wall cabinets installed along the longest side of the garage without windows. The cabinets made it possible to create order with the deep freeze storage items like holiday décor and also made a place for sporting equipment and extra entertaining items to live while not in use.
I shifted furniture around to create zones for each type of activity. The desk was moved to the back wall so that all craft supplies were in the same zone with small table and chairs positioned for action.
The lateral file cabinet was moved next to the door into the house as this contained the permanent family records.
The large cube shelf was moved behind the couch to create division between storage and TV zone. All extra toys were grouped together ‘like with like’ and stored in baskets behind the couch. As the boys decided to play with different activities, they brought out one basket at a time and learned to put the first one away between activities to keep chaos at bay.
Situation: This garage had plenty of built-in storage but a mess was created when we decided to get rid of the off-site storage unit and consolidate everything into the garage. As with most organizing projects, there is usually temporary chaos before there is order.
Challenge: The back wall of this garage had built-in floor to ceiling, wall-to-wall shelves but they were completely full of childhood memories consisting of one large plastic bin per child per year.With three kids all of them at least in middle school, that meant a lot of bins!
Solution: We went through all of the kid’s memory boxes. At first it was very hard for my client to get rid of childhood papers. She eventually became a champ at making decisions and letting go of enough memories so that each child’s memory items could fit into only one to two bins each. This reduced the storage bins from about 6-8 per child to 2 which gave us a lot more space to store items brought from the off-site storage unit. My client did an amazing job learning how to let go. Her kids still have plenty of great memorabilia to discover and uncover later!