Tips to tidy your garage
If you want to get your garage sorted out, it is not a job to take on with a half-hearted attitude. It takes time and energy, but the result is well worth the effort.
IN MANY homes, the garage is the last place considered when it comes to housekeeping. Often it becomes the place to store unwanted stuff, tools, garden implements, and an assortment of items which sometimes even means the car can’t be parked inside.
Start by sorting through everything in your garage.
Before you begin, check the weather. Often this task requires you unpacking everything from your garage and putting it outside, so if storm clouds gather you will be forced to just put everything back inside before you have finished and you will find yourself back to square one.
If you have children, make sure you have a lockable storage cabinet, preferably with a ventilation grill to safely lock away any items which are poisonous or flammable such as paint thinners, garden fertilizer and weed killer, paints and automotive oils or fuel for machines like lawn mowers. In the case of a fire in your garage, knowing all the dangerous items are together in one place can also help firefighters prevent a small fire from becoming a big one. Make sure to put a sign on the door of the cabinet indicating it contains hazardous material.
Keep, sell or donate
Because garages are nice open spaces they tend to become the place to dump things you don’t want in your home but are reluctant to part with. Decisions need to be made about these things. If there is something in your garage that you haven’t used in a very long time, there is a good chance you don’t need it anymore, so put it one side to give away or sell, whether it be a sewing machine, your first pair of roller blades, or a box of novels you keep meaning to drop off at the SPCA.
Have a few sturdy cardboard boxes on hand to pack the things you are giving away and put them in a place where you will have to see them daily, reminding you to drop them off at the charity of your choice, or find a charity that will collect donated items.
Items you plan to sell also need to be kept to one side so you can photograph them for websites or take to a pawnshop or company that gives you cash for your unwanted stuff.
Of course there will also probably be a fair amount of things that need to be thrown out. Make sure items which could be hazardous are correctly disposed of and recyclable items are discarded in the correct manner.
A few big bin bags can take care of the other bits and pieces that need to be thrown out with your rubbish.
Plan your zones
Once you have cleared the unwanted items, deciding the best way to pack everything back into your space is vitally important. Before you begin decide if any part of your garage is going to be used for a specific activity.
Split the space into zones so that the items you need for each type of activity are packed in a way that make them easy to access. For instance, if you store sporting equipment in your garage, make sure the items are stored in a way that makes them accessible to be loaded into the vehicle.
Having a child’s bike stored in your garage in a way that makes it impossible for the child or whoever is going to be accompanying him/her on rides to get to the bike almost ensures it will end up not being used.
In a garage, it is a good idea to use as much vertical and ceiling space as you are able to. This will ensure that you are able to use the garage to park your car but still make the best use of the space above and alongside it. Try to keep as much off the floor as possible to avoid items taking up more space than they need to. This will also ensure you are able to regularly clean the garage. A weekly or monthly sweep out will keep the area clean and prevent the build-up you faced when you embarked on this plan.
Consider wire shelving and heavy-duty hooks for mounting items onto the walls and hanging things from the ceiling, but be sure to assess the strength of your ceiling before hanging anything too heavy from it, and make sure it doesn’t get in the way of your garage door, opening and closing mechanism, many of which roll up along the ceiling.
Speak to the staff at your local builders’ supply shop or hardware store for advice on the best options for heavy duty storage for use in a garage.