Fall is a perfect time to get your garage in order. Vicki Norris, owner of Restoring Order®, suggests the following 10 steps and practical tips when beginning a garage organizing project:
Tip: Try to plan for a dry weekend, since you'll have to pull many items out of the shelter of the garage.
2. Hire an expert, or get a team of people to work on the project, or it may turn into an overwhelming task that will be abandoned part way through.
Tip: While friends and family may be willing to help, be sure you have a plan and guidance to direct the process from start to finish.
3. Consider what categories of items you want to store in your garage. Does luggage really have to live there, or can it live in the attic or an indoor closet? Should chemicals live in the garage, or can you relegate them to the garden shed? Some typical items that are housed in the garage are recycling, sports and recreational equipment, camping gear, automotive, seasonal décor, garden and tools.
Tip: It is much easier to tackle a garage after you have organized the rest of the house. The garage tends to be a dumping ground for all the unknowns throughout the house. Once you determine the purpose of your interior storage and items have a home inside, when you organize your garage many items can be relocated inside.
4. Once you know what categories of items will live in your garage, begin pulling everything out of your garage and grouping into categories in the driveway or center of your garage. Use lots of boxes for this process.
Tip 1: Obtain boxes of all sizes, since items of all descriptions — from huge paint cans to nuts and bolts — will need to be contained.
Tip 2: Don't forget to label boxes with contents as you are grouping them.
5. Reconsider, trash or donate items that do not fit the categories.
Tip 1: Visit the Resources page on www.RestoringOrder.com for donation resources.
Tip 2: Sometimes, random parts or singular items are discovered in the garage. In this case, if you want to keep them, just store with the most similar category or in a visible place so you remember you have them.
6. Once items have been consolidated by like type, purge any excess, broken or unnecessary items.
Tip: This process takes time, so allow reasonable time to accomplish this task.
7. Determine where you want each type of item to live by frequency of use and available space. Recycling should live near the entrance to the home for ease of use. Tools should live near the workbench, and so on.
Tip: Think about valuable real estate when you are considering available space. Parking space and those shelves at eye level or within reach are valuable real estate. Less valuable real estate would be very high or low shelves, and should be reserved for less frequently accessed items.
8. Install additional built-in cabinets or obtain modular storage if needed.
Tip: Find a local service provider.
9. Re-locate remaining items into their new sensible home within the garage.
Tip: Don't buy containers, bins, baskets and boxes to organize your items until this far into the process. A big mistake people make is purchasing the fun plastic bins too early in the process, and then discovering that they don't have the correct sizes, sturdiness, etc.
10. Commit to a regular schedule of maintenance for your newly organized garage. Promptly put things away after using them, and order will truly be restored!
Tip: Get your quarterly or bi-annual garage maintenance on your calendar. If it doesn't make it onto your calendar, it is far less likely to happen.