For many homeowners, the words "garage" and "storage space" are synonymous, but that assumption wears thin when parking the car inside requires divine intervention. So the next time you're forced to squeeze past a barrier of boxes and various yard items to get in the house, take advantage of the following tips--along with warm summer days--for a better, more organized vehicle-and-storage shelter.
From Cluttered to Contained
While organizing a garage certainly isn't rocket science, knowing the fundamentals will lead to a more successful outcome.
- Get rid of those things you don't need. Sounds simple, but most of us harbor pack rat tendencies that are difficult to break. Whether you hold a garage sale (see "Garage Sale Advice" on the following page for some tips), donate the stuff to charity, or rent a dump truck, your actions will pay off. Those old hedge clippers with both blades broken--chuck them. The 1970s hi-fi stereo that still works, complete with turntable and eight-track player--sell it. Whatever the condition of the items, chances are your garage needs a long-awaited purging. (Note: If you plan to set things out for trash pickup, be sure to verify what your local sanitation department will and will not take.)
- Group similar things together. Again, this is another simple idea, but it is equally important. What good is a toolbox when its contents are scattered from one end of the garage to the other? The same applies to yard equipment. You may own four different rakes, a couple of shovels, and various other tools, but when the time comes to use them, they're nowhere in sight. Solve this problem by designating certain areas for specific items. Locate those things you use on a regular basis up front, near the garage door. Put boxes of holiday ornaments and other out-of-season items where they're not in the way. When everything has a place, it will be much easier to keep the space organized. (Tip: Park your car in the garage, open all doors, and draw boundary lines with a piece of chalk on the floor. Now, back the car out--with doors shut, naturally. What's left inside is a defined guide for storage and parking.)