5 Steps to an Organized Garage

For those of us who don’t have a storage shed, the garage is typically used to store lawn and garden equipment, holiday decorations, snow shovels…you name it!  I think of it like a closet, where items are rotated in and out based on their usage for the season.

Spring is a good time to purge, scrub, reorganize, and properly store things that have gotten out of order during the Winter months. Although it may seem like a big job, you’ll find that once your garage is clean and well organized, your Spring activities will be much easier to enjoy. And don’t be afraid to recruit a little help!

Step 1: Purge, purge, purge! Your first task is to sort your garage items into “things to keep” and “things to remove.” If you’re like most people, your garage space is at a premium, and there’s no use in keeping items that are broken, worn out, too small, or unused. While some items may need to find their way to the trash can, you can donate other items to charities or second-hand sports stores.

Step 2: Clean. Take time to give your garage a good cleaning before putting items away. While your garage won’t be dust free, you can maintain a relatively clean area. Sweep and hose down the floor, wipe down big surfaces with a wet cloth, clean the cobwebs out of the corners, and shine the windows with a glass cleaner. If you have outdoor patio furniture that you’re ready to use, rinse those items ad consider washing the cushions to eliminate mold or mildew.

Step 3: Categorize. Since you know which items you are keeping, try grouping them together according to use or season. The totes full of Christmas decorations can certainly be stored towards the back or up high, since you won’t need to access them for a few months. But you’ll want to you’re your gardening tools, hand tools, and sporting equipment readily available. Designate an area of your garage for each category so every member of the family will know where to find items and put things away after use.

Step 4: Invest in organizing system and organizing tools. Take stock of the items you need to store and decide the best way to store them.  A pegboard is great for smaller gardening items or hand tools, and there are various shelving systems available to keep items off the floor and within easy reach. You can also find convenient equipment and bike racks that are specially designed to hold bikes, bats, balls, helmets, golf bags, and more. Don’t forget about plastic bins and totes. They provide an easy, inexpensive way to store all kinds of things.

An important note – when you’re considering storage systems, think about how you will store potentially dangerous chemicals and other hazards. Especially if you have kids or grand kids, you’ll want to store these items high up out of reach or in a locked cabinet.

Step 5: Perform maintenance now. When it’s time to mow your lawn or till your garden, you want your equipment to be ready. Take a few minutes to check for flat tires, broken pieces, and worn parts. Does your lawn mower or trimmer need gas or oil? Do your shears need sharpening? Are your gardening tools still in good shape? Does your grill need new parts? Don’t forget to check your propane bottle so you’re ready for your first BBQ at a moment’s notice!

And last but not least, get ready to enjoy the season! After a long, cold winter, you want to be ready to play when the sun shines and the weather warms up. Now is a good time to put air in any soccer balls that have gone flat over the winter or add some oil to those baseball gloves. Have your kids outgrown their bike helmets? Any broken bicycle chains?  Double check your tennis rackets, mend your sand volleyball net, and  replace tennis balls, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles for your kids.

Now, all that’s left is to reward yourself for a job well done! Take time to enjoy the season by tossing the ball around with your kids or going on a bike ride, knowing that when it’s time to go inside for the evening, you have the perfect spot to put everything away and still be able to find it tomorrow!

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