Organizing professionals estimate that only 30 percent of garages are actually used to store vehicles. This is often because our garages have too much clutter. With a bit of cleaning and organization, garages can offer protection for your vehicles while simultaneously offering effective storage space.

Here are a few tips on organizing your garage and deciding what to keep in the space:

Decluttering the Garage

  • When undertaking any larger cleaning project, set aside a full day or better yet, a full weekend to accomplish the task. If possible, get the whole family involved or invite a friend or two to help get the job done faster.
  • Set out a space for three separate piles. A pile for things to keep, one for donations or selling and another for garbage.
  • Make sure to check all boxes thoroughly, sometimes things are moved over time or boxes are mislabeled and you do not want to accidentally throw out something of importance or value. A rule of thumb is to donate/throw away anything you have not used in two years or more. Odds are that if you could live without it for two years, you could probably live without it. Period.
  • If you find yourself feeling sentimental towards certain unneeded items, consider taking a photo as a keepsake instead of keeping the actual item.
  • After sorting, donate/throw out your unwanted items as soon as possible. The quicker you get rid of the clutter, the easier it will be to organize your space.
  • Once you have the items that will continue to live in your garage, sort the items into broad categories. For example: sports equipment, tools, car maintenance items etc. Store items in clear, stack-able marked containers for easy access and visibility. Inexpensive containers can be found at stores like Walmart and Canadian Tire for as little as $7 each.

Organizing the Garage

  • When considering the lay out of your garage, store items that are used together in the same area. Bulky items such as lawn mowers should be in corners where they will not get bumped or knocked over by your car.
  • Items that you use on a regular basis like bicycles or other sports equipment should be stored near the garage door for easy retrieval.
  • Keep seasonal/rarely used items in the harder to reach spots.
  • Keep items off the floor as much as possible. This will free up room for your vehicle(s) and avoid sloppy piles. Many different garage shelving options are available at stores like Canadian Tire.
  • Consider having shelving units instead of closed cabinets. Shelving is less expensive, easier to access and everything is visible. Cabinets with doors require additional space to swing the doors open and also give you an excuse to stay disorganized (since you can not see what is inside).

What not to keep in the Garage

Although the things we keep in our garage will vary from one person to the next, there are a few items that should never be stored in the garage:

  • Paint – extreme cold or heat can ruin paint.
  • Propane – should always be stored outdoors as a spark could ignite the fumes.
  • Paper Goods – keep any paper cups, plates etc. out of the garage as it could attract cockroaches and other bugs.
  • Refrigerator – could be a huge energy drain in a non-air conditioned space.
  • Pet food – keep any pet foods inside the house in a closed container because it could attract animals and bugs.

Garages are often one of the biggest “rooms” in the house. Having a clean, organized garage is a great way to free up storage space and make extra room in your home.  If you have any questions on how to organize any part of your home to prepare for sale, contact me any time at mail@ellidavis.com or call me at 416-921-1112.