Tuesday, January 23, 2018

How Well Does your Garage Serve it’s Purpose?

July 19, 2010 by  
Filed under Blog

Garage Clutter can Drive you Nuts!

When was the last time your garage housed a car? Or, if you do have roo m for a car, how difficult is it to walk around it, and function, with the car in there too? How much stuff do you have to climb over or push aside to find your lawn mower, a yard tool or maybe your washer and dryer?

Wikipedia, online, defines a garage this way: “A residential garage is part of a home, or an associated building, designed or used for storing a vehicle or vehicles.” Are you chu ckling about this yet? Or rolling your eyes in exasperation? Who made up that definition anyway?

This week, we are going to take a good look at a hot problem area in our lives. The reality is that for most of us, our garages are multi-purpose areas, whatever the “proper” definition is! We keep workshops, laundry facilities, storage and clutter in the garage to keep it out of our houses … yet, the fine line between sensible use and overwhelming clutter often sneaks up on us!

So, what in the world are you going to do about that? Here is what you need to do – plan, organize, plan some more and then voila – a usable, functional space that meets the specific needs of your household.

First step – Define what you need. Do you have sports equipment that needs storage? Do you buy items in bulk that need to be put away until you want them? Is someone in your family a handy-person, so a workbench becomes a necessity?  Do you need room for pet paraphernalia? Does your garage also serve as a place for your washer and dryer? An extra freezer? Once you have defined your own personal needs, you can then focus on techniques for organizing.

The second step to take is photos or notes. Most of us have access to digital cameras or phone cameras. Take pictures of the problem areas, along with notes for solutions. Print or download the pictures, add the notes, and you will see the beginning of a great organization system.

Next, focus on what to keep and what to toss. Do you have a broom with hardly any bristles? Yes, I know, you are very fond of this broom, but come on, it is time for you to let it go! Do you have tennis rackets and balls stashed all over, and you don’t play tennis anymore? List them on Freecycle™, some one else would love to have them!

Now you have the bones of what needs to be done – so let’s “flesh out” the workability of your garage spaces. Here are the three key areas for which to plan ~ Walls, Ceilings and Floor Space. Each has it’s own importance in the organizing scheme.

Walls , whether just studs, or finished with sheet rock, can have shelves attached to store items out of the way, and off the floor. Pegboard and handle holders are great sources to hold tools, garden items and mops.

Ceilings can have added use with drop down stor age or permanent storage that provides a place to put seldom used or awkwardly sized or shaped items, such as skis, lumber, or Christmas decorations!

Floor space can, and should, be devoted to things you need access to regularly; garbage cans, your washer and dryer (with shelves overhead!) and your extra freezer or refrigerator. (Do you really need that extra freezer? Most are NOT energy efficient … BUT, more on that next week!)

Now make the plans become reality. Put up the shelving, the pegboard, the storage items that will make it possible to have neat organization for the items you have decided to keep. Plan to use plastic bins, which come in all sizes, to store perishables (including things like fabric, or crafts) or dangerous chemicals out of reach. Label everything clearly, using a sharpie or label-maker. DATE your labels, as well as making a notation (on the container, or in a notebook) each time you access the bins. Once a year, go through the bins, and if you haven’t accessed them for a year, it is time to discard!

Define each area, so that like things are stored with like! Keep tools together, p et supplies, sports equipment etc. in one accessible place. THEN KEEP THEM THERE! Get in the habit of returning items to the same place each and every time, for easy retrieval next time they are needed. Some folks use colored bins or labels to complete their method of organization – orange bins for Halloween, Red for Christmas, Green for gardening etc. Peg boards can be similarly defined by using colored duct or cloth tape on the handles of tools, designating their use. (Plumbing tools, garden tools, car tools and so forth)

Now, take a moment to stand back and admire your work. How does your garage look now? If someone asked for a specific item, could you find it? Will a car fit in the garage now, should you want it to? Enjoy your feeling of accomplishment, and be sure you maintain the system you have so painstakingly put into place.

Let us help you with your garage. Need a shelf built or hung? Let us build & hang it. Need more lighting or outlets for your new garage setup? We can add it. We are licensed and insured electricians!  Need pegboard installed? Let us install it for you! Need muscle to clear out or rearrange your garage? Let us move it for you!


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