It is easy to see how so many families across the globe have garages that are literally bursting at the seams. If this is your current situation, let me assure you - you are not alone!
Garages are an easy dumping ground for just about anything.
That suitcase that won't fit in the wardrobe, the set of rusted golf clubs that you never use though don’t want to throw away, the box of clothes that no longer fit, and pretty much anything else that doesn't have a set place in your home.
I believe the hardest part of tackling the garage is getting started. It is often an area we tend to neglect for months, if not years.
Here there was an overwhelming amount of items that had accumulated over a period of time resulting in this small space not being able to house the family car. This client was determined to declutter their space and re-organise what was left, ensuring that there was ample room to park the car - for the first time in 8 months.
Following this step-by-step guide you can learn how to plan for a project of such scale:
ONE: Set aside the time
- This task may take a number of hours, a full weekend or in some cases a number of weekends. Consider setting aside 3-4 hour working blocks at a time so you do not loose motivation.
- Be sure to set yourself a realistic timeline to work towards.
- Get your family involved, particularly if there are items of theirs being stored in the space. You should never dispose of something that is not your own.
- It is important to have a vision for any project that you undertake – ask yourself “how do I want the end product to look and feel?” Be realistic, there is little point fantasising about vertical storage solutions filled with colour coded storage bins if you’re on a tight budget.
- Zones – break down the area, think about how much space is required for each zone i.e. car park, work shop or storage unit.
- If you know that you are going to be throwing away a lot of junk, consider hiring a skip bin or pre booking a hard rubbish collection through the council.
- Find yourself 4 washing baskets, boxes or any oversized bags that you may have around the house.
- Mark each container as categories:
- I suggest removing each item from the area, one by one, taking the time to consider which pile you will place it in - as above.
- Don’t second guess yourself, be confident in your decision and listen to your gut instinct.
- Depending on your emotional attachment to your items and your ability to make decisions quickly this part of sorting and decluttering may be the most time consuming. It is easy to underestimate the time required to make a decision.
- This is the best time for you to thoroughly clean your space. I mean getting down on your hands and knees and scrub each and every surface.
- Here is where the fun really starts! Hopefully you have had the courage to purge a large portion of your belongings and you can now start putting it all back together.
- Categorise the items that you have decided to keep - putting like items together. It makes sense to store all your tools or camping gear together.
- Start packing these items away into smaller boxes, clear plastic bins or whatever you have decided will work best for your space.
- Label each of your containers to make life easier when you are looking for something specific.
- You really don’t need to spend a bomb to get organised – don't be tempted with matching all of your storage containers, your garage does not need to look like it belongs in a double page spread of a storage catalogue! Try to be thrifty and utilise what you already have.
- If you have however decided to invest in some storage tubs or shelving always be sure to measure up your area prior to hitting the shops.
SIX: Complete the task
- I cannot stress this enough! Be sure to make the time to finish the entire process. This means putting everything back in its place and storing it as you imagined. Drop off all the bags that are to be donated to your local Op shop and take a trip to the tip.
- I believe it is important to reward yourself once you have reached your goal. Shout the family on a special outing to thank them for helping out.
- Like every area that we declutter and organise there will be maintenance. Be sure to put your belongings away where they belong once you have finished with them and try not to collect "junk".
Good luck and happy organising!
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