If you’re like many homeowners, your garage may be more of a dumping ground for seasonal items, outdoor equipment and gardening tools and less of a haven for your vehicles. Whether you’re looking for a do-it-yourself option or a quick fix to tide you over until you can get a permanent garage organization solution, you can make space for your car this winter in three easy steps.
Step One: Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow
We form an attachment to our things. Even things we haven’t used in years. This makes it difficult for us to face the ugly truth. Most overstuffed garages are harboring…junk. It’s a word we don’t like to use in reference to our own things. However, when stuff we aren’t using takes up valuable space in our garage, that’s exactly what it’s become.
Go through your garage and pull out anything you haven’t used in the past year. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I need this item?
- What is the likelihood I’ll use it again?
- Why am I holding onto this item?
- Would it be of more benefit to someone else?
- Is it broken? If so, is it worth fixing? How likely is it that I’ll fix it (or get it fixed)?
- Does it fit my current lifestyle?
- Is holding onto this item more important than parking my car in the garage?
If your answers reveal that the item is sucking up valuable garage space, let it go. That includes those just-in-case items like old paint. After a year in your garage, especially through the winter, the paint is no longer good. Make note of the color, then chuck the can. Be sure to properly dispose of paint and any other household chemicals.
Of course, just because you can’t use your old items, doesn’t mean someone else can’t. If you have bicycles or other sports equipment that your children have outgrown, consider donating them to a local charity. Sometimes knowing that your things will be loved and appreciated by someone else makes it easier to let go of them.
Step Two: Group Similar Items
Once you’ve eliminated any items you don’t use, it’s time to do a little organizing. Start by going through your remaining things and grouping like items. Put all of the gardening tools and equipment in one part of the garage. Carve out another section for outdoor gear like camping or skiing equipment. Put the children’s sleds and other winter toys where they can easily access them.
Grouping similar items will give you further opportunity to purge. You’ll likely discover unnecessary duplicates and outdated items. These, too, can be tossed, gifted or donated.
Step Three: Arrange Items Along Perimeter
Once you’ve eliminated anything you don’t need, it’s time to carve out enough space in the garage for your vehicle. Arrange your remaining items along the perimeter of your garage. This includes bicycles and other bulky items like your lawn mower or snow blower.
While you’re organizing items along the perimeter of your garage, consider which items you’ll need to keep accessible during the winter. Make sure you’ll be able to quickly retrieve your snow blower, shovel, salt, window washer fluid and winter sports equipment like skis, ice skates and snowboards.
Create additional space by stacking or nesting similar items along the perimeter of your garage. For instance, nesting a set of flowerpots or stacking storage crates will reduce the amount of floor space they consume. With just a few hours of work, a space for your vehicle will begin to emerge.
If the thought of spending hours cleaning your garage is unappealing, take a moment to consider what you’ll gain by parking your vehicle in the garage. You won’t have to clean a mountain of snow off your windshield before work. It won’t take as long to warm your car in the morning. By saving time each morning, you won’t be rushed during your commute, making travel safer. Not a bad trade-off for a few hours of work on a Saturday.