Updated: Oct 25
Imagine using your garage for what it is actually intended for - storing your car. Better yet, pulling your car into a clean and organized garage before you see that dreaded white stuff...the cooler temperatures are already here! Or a life where you are not instantly annoyed or stressed over your clutter each time you enter or exit your home.
You might think I'm being dramatic, but a survey conducted by the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) found that more than 50% of homeowners name the garage as the most disorganized area in the house. That's a lot! But no worries, you've picked the perfect time to check this home organization task off of your to-do list. In fact, Fall is the most popular season to declutter the garage and convert it into a space that will function the best for you.
Our Proven Method - The 4 Ds
With these four simple steps we believe you can achieve an organized garage in just as little as one weekend! Apply our proven method of the 4 Ds - Delegate/DIY, Discard, Declutter, and Design. Don't believe us? Give it a try. We know that no one space is the same, so if your project is a bit more laborious than you originally thought, simply set aside two weekends to achieve your garage transformation.
Delegate or DIY. Here at the Modern Steward, we always encourage delegating. Get others involved - your family, your partner. anyone else who resides in the home, or who previously resided in the home (let's be real, half of this stuff is probably theirs.) It's not truly an empty nest until their stuff is gone! LOL! Having assistance is key in reducing pressure to make all the decisions on your own. You can also hire out if needed.
Discard. You might be surprised to hear this, but discarding is our favorite method of organization. Over here we are all about quick wins, we are talking about making space and getting the momentum to keep going. Unlike other areas in the home, in the garage there tends to be several categories of things you can move through quickly. For example, that air fryer box (mhmm... trust me you will never need that again.) Getting rid of these unnecessary items will give you room for the stuff you actually need.
Declutter. As you're decluttering and working through the remaining items, consider the last time you actually used each of them, creating three categories - keep, donate, or sell. A word of caution when it comes to the sell category, divide your belongings as being either high value or low value. Once you assign a value, consider that its depreciated, then you can decide if it's actually worth it to sell it. Now, I know that Facebook Marketplace has a hold on the neighborhood mama's. LOL! In this economy, who doesn't want to recoup a few bucks? Here at The Modern Steward we are all about mindsets, so think about this, if you sell an item for $25 but you had to invest time in listing the item, shipping it, or scheduling a pickup, did you really make money? We encourage you to value your time more than material possessions.
Design. Okay, now that everything is out that needs to be, it is time to put the remaining items in their proper place. How will you use this space? Is the goal to be able to park your car? maybe, and additional work space is needed. Make sure that you have the organizational products ahead of time and think of the best way to implement them as you declutter. For example, envision where the best place to store certain items would be and which of your containers you would want to use to store them. The best order to follow is measure, space plan, purchase, and install.
Let's Get Started
Pro Tip: When planning for your garage organizing weekend, be sure to notify anyone who has items in your garage in advance, so that they can participate and have a say in what happens to their belongings. If not, you may end up holding onto items that really shouldn't be stored in your garage, even after spending hours on your decluttering session you may succumb to feelings of obligation.
Friday is the day of preparation.
Create a checklist to ensure that you have all of the necessary materials you'll need to organize your garage. Next, visit your local home improvement store to purchase everything ahead of time; garbage bags, work gloves, painter's tape, a broom, and a sharpie. HOLD OFF on the storage bins for now, I promise we will get there. This will avoid any unnecessary time wasters like sending Johnny on a 1 hour store run... you get the picture. Next, confirm your appointment for pickup of large items that will either be donated or discarded.
Midday send out a reminder text message expressing your gratitude to all of those who have agreed to help you. This is also a great time to share a brief overview of what you you hope to accomplish on Saturday. I know you may be thinking that's a bit formal but imagine this... You've done the prep work, your family and friends arrive the begin pulling out all of the things, only to end up distracted and socializing. Not quite how you may have envisioned it, right? This is why we encourage our clients that opt to DIY a portion of their decluttering to stagger their help, dividing the the day into the morning and afternoon. This approach can also help you avoid becoming overwhelmed. Do what works best for you, for example one of our clients allotted 2hr per adult child in secession.
This is the day to jump into doing the actual discarding, decluttering, and donating.
Discard first. What do we mean when we say discard? It's more than simply throwing away household trash, in this instance we are focusing on items that previously had a use, sentimental meaning, or value. As mentioned it's best to make arrangements for large/bulky items and chemical/hazardous materials removal. Does your local municipality have a recycle center that's open to the public? Is there a fee or limit for discarding specific items, for example tires? Assign one person to drop these items off or place them in a designated area until they can be place at the curb for pick up. One budget friendly way to discard bulk trash is to schedule an additional pick with your refuse service, it's normally much cheaper than a hauler.
Decluttering and donating. Here's where you'll have the opportunity to practice being intentional. Consider, your lifestyle goals at the moment. If moving your body more is at the top of your list, would having your bike more visible motivate you? Or, have you discovered a new form of exercise that fills you up? Making these types of decisions can be difficult but when you push yourself to do so, you will have a clearer picture of what really matters to you now. As you categorized your items take it a step further and evaluate the condition of each item, how often you've used it, and if your keeping it out of guilt. Once you've finalized your decisions, you can start thinking of the best way to store your items in their designated, labeled bins.
Check out the links to our favorite budget-friendly garage organization resources below.
You're more than halfway there! You're almost at the finish line! It is time to set up your design and put everything back. Remember to keep functionality and safety in mind as you finalize your design.
Our favorite organization products for the garage are tiered shelves and labeled bins. If your looking to invest in a systems we love the Container Store's Elfa line as well. As you assemble the shelves be sure to measure the height and depth of the bins. if possible place heavier items on the lower shelves. You can also use hooks and racks for bikes, workout/gardening gear, and other miscellaneous items. we absolutely love the Rubber Maid Track system.
Pro Tip: Need some recommendations for organization products? We got you! Here are our go-tos for simple organization: For Shelving - Trinity 5-tier shelving; For Containers - Sterilite bins; and For Labeling - PTouch
Maintaining Your Organized Garage
As mentioned previously, there are many benefits to having an organized space, in particular, an organized garage. First off, you'll be able to use the space for what it's actually designed for and more. Fun fact, most people think of organizing & cleaning the garage as a spring-cleaning project but in reality, an organized garage will be the most beneficial during the Winter. It's one of our most popular service in the Fall. Why? Because as winter nears, the thought of your car covered in snow because it doesn't fit into your garage, is unpleasant. You'll wonder why you didn't clean it out when you had the chance. Not to mention, it'll make it easier to find your seasonal décor and with fall and winter festivities being the time of year when most people will have guests over, you won't have to worry about clutter.
While it can take a lot of effort to transform your garage, with some hard work and these helpful tips, you will be able to revamp your garage into an organized, functional space that you will be happy to come home to everyday.