Just like spring is a great time to break out the broom and mop to clean out your home, fall is a great time to take advantage of nice weather and get organized for the coming cold seasons. We have discussed here how to prepare our homes for fall and winter, but now it is time to focus our attention on our garages.
Remove, Assess, Sort
The first step in any organizing job is to assess the items you have to store. Park your car on the street and empty the garage of its contents. While hauling out all of your boxes, bikes, tools, and other stored items take time to sort them into categories. For instance, place all summer gear, sports equipment, tools, holiday decorations, camping gear, yard work tools, each in their own pile or section of your yard. Of course, your categories may look different depending on what you store in your garage.
Now that everything is sorted, it is time to turn your critical eye on every item. Throw out or donate anything that is too worn out, out grown, or not used. Remember that space in your garage is precious, so any item that didn’t get utilized in the last few years probably doesn’t need a spot in the garage.
Now is time to take advantage of the fact that your garage is empty, and clean it out. People don’t generally clean the garage as much as the home, so there can be quite a lot of dust and cobwebs to be eliminated. If you are going to be doing a lot of sweeping, make sure you wear gloves because it is common to get blisters when sweeping out large spaces.
If you have one or can borrow one, a power washer makes easy work of getting the garage floor clean.
Even if you decide not to clean the garage out completely this fall, it is a good time to organize for the coming seasons. Here are a few tips to help you.
- If you have not already done so, invest in bins of the same size and type. This makes stacking and sorting easier.
- In this case, larger does not mean better; medium sized bins are large enough for most items, but are not to big and unwieldy to cause problems when moving them around.
- Use clear bins so that your items are easy to identify when you are searching for a particular bin. Or, if you prefer opaque bins, make sure you label each bin clearly on each side.
- There are many great shelving units created for the garage that makes finding and retrieving bins easier, if you have the means and the space this is the best way to organize your gear.
- If you don’t have enough space for shelves, consider installing racks that hang from the ceiling or creating a sliding storage solution like the one outlined on The Family Handyman.
- While you are arranging bins. Take a moment to locate the bins full of winter gear and holiday decorations and place them in an easily accessible location to save you time later.
- Remember that if your garage feels too cluttered and cramped with bins, another great solution is to store off-season items in a storage unit.
- Free up as much floor space as possible to make it easy to move around and locate items.
- Store larger summer gear and sports equipment high up on shelves or ceiling storage, while leaving winter gear close at hand on lower shelves or closer to the garage door.
- Use bike hooks to hang your bikes and get them out of the way so it is easier to move around without knocking them over or tripping over them.
Tools and Gardening Supplies
- Everything should have a dedicated space in the garage; especially your tools, which, like socks, seem to disappear mysteriously.
- Use a large pegboard to hang items used frequently. Consider marking the outline in paint of each tool on the pegboard. This makes it easy to find the spot for each tool and to easy see which tools are missing.
While cleaning out the garage is no one’s idea of a good time, the results are certainly worth it. It gives a fresh start to the new season and make finding items for sledding or holiday decorating much easier in the coming months.