A garage is for the car, not clutter

Organize your garage the day before trash pick-up. Take items to the curb as you find them. Also, take paint and hazardous chemicals you will not be using to your city’s solid waste department.

Next, look for items that could be stored inside your home. Most people are in and out of their garage every day and only in their basement once in a while. So move items to the basement and stop tripping over items in the garage.

Next, select items you want to donate. Put them directly into the trunk of your car.

Once those items are out of the garage, arrange the items you will keep. The most common categories I find while helping someone organize their garage are: tools, lawn/garden, car supplies, kids toys and bikes, sports equipment, paint/painting supplies, pet items, recreational items and materials used for projects. Sorting into categories will help you see how many items you have, making it easier to eliminate any duplicates.

The front of the garage should be used for those items you don’t use very often while the back of the garage is used for items you take in and out of the garage regularly. It makes sense to store the snow blower at the front of the garage during the summer months while keeping the lawn mower at the back of the garage for easy access. As the seasons change so does the location of this equipment.

Kid’s toys and bikes are another good thing to keep toward the back of the garage. This cuts down on the possibility of your car getting scratched as they leave the garage while making it easier for kids to get their belongings.

Extra bottled water, packages of paper towels and pet food should be kept near the service door for easy retrieval. Keeping a cubby for outdoor shoes in this area is also helpful. I also recommend a small trash can and recycle bin be kept toward the front, making it easy to dispose of trash from the car.

Label shelves and bins with the category names. This makes items easy to retrieve and put away. This helps you and others in the household.

When you’re finished organizing the garage take a step back and look at the trash/donate piles and then look at your car.

Remember which one is most important to you so you stay motivated to keep your garage clutter-free.

Lori Firsdon is the owner of Forte Organizers, in Centerville. She does on-site organizing sessions and speaking engagements. Contact her at Lori@ForteOrganizers.com

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