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 on the lawn and separate into:
Q) How Long Will It Take?
Without a good support system, it could be overwhelming task abandoned part way through
With a Pro Organizer, one full day
With Friends or family, possibly a weekend
Hire an expert or get a team of people to work on this project.
While friends and family may be willing to help, be sure you have a plan in place so the process has specific direction from start to finish.
Q) What Things Should I Store in My Garage?
Follow this rule: keep only what you’ve used in the past year or plan on using in the near future, i.e. within six months!
Q) What Do you Mean by Garage Zones?
Consider what categories of items you wish to store in your garage.
Does luggage really have to live there, or can it live in the attic or an indoor closet?
Once you have determined what categories of items will “live” in your garage, begin pulling everything out of your garage, and grouping into these categories in the driveway.
Q) Any Secret Pro Tips?
Sentimental value, consider whether it’s the item that holds the good memories or simply the memory itself that is good. Remember that memories take up a lot less space than the items associated with them.
Do you have a shed? Maybe your paints and chemicals could live there instead of the garage.
Use a lot of boxes during this process. Relegate loose objects to small boxes within each grouping.
Purge any excess, broken, or unnecessary items. Reconsider, donate or trash items that do not fit your categories.
If you discover random parts or singular items that you need to keep, group and store them with the closest similar category. If this is too much of a memory stretch, store them in a visible place so you will remember you have them.
Once items have been consolidated like with like, you are ready to begin planning where each category should live within your garage.
Determine where you want each type of item to live by frequency of use and available space. Parking is probably your most frequent garage activity. Make certain that the area around your car is open and easy to get in and out of the car and the garage.
The recycling bin can live near the inside door to your home for quick access. Tools should live near the workbench, shovels by the fertilizers and so on. Shelves at eye level should hold the most frequently used items. A large shelf near the inside door is a great location for the extra rolls of toilet paper from the last warehouse purchase.
Plan for an entire weekend if you are not working with a Professional Organizer. Set aside enough time to work on your project. Back-to-back days are recommended so items that are being sorted do not have to sit outside in piles for long. Plan for an entire weekend unless you are working with a Professional Organizer. A seasoned professional will usually reduce your time by half because they have been through this drill many times.
After your garage is put back into order, commit to a regular schedule of maintenance. Promptly put things away after using them and schedule a couple of hours of maintenance every season. Follow this strategy and your next summer party will be a breeze!
You can read more specific advice about garage “zones” in this article
Get inspired and take a look at a real life ‘before and after’ garage job