Get Your Garage in Gear!
Imagine the perfect space where tools, bikes, gardening supplies and sports equipment all have their assigned spaces, with room left over to park your car! Summertime is the perfect time to clear out and organize that overflowing, catch-all, clutter-filled space we call the garage. Following a few straightforward steps will help you transform that glorified storage shed into a practical, functional space.
- Pull everything (yes, everything) out of the garage and sort it into categories out on the driveway. Categories may include: tools, gardening supplies, sports equipment, automotive equipment & supplies, household repair, etc. As you sort, get rid of anything that is broken or expired. How long have you been promising to fix that broken appliance? If you really can't let it go, put a firm date on your calendar by which time it must be repaired. If that date goes by and you still haven't gotten to it, out it goes. Outgrown toys and sports equipment will make another child happy - pay it forward and donate it. Remember that your goal is to create a functional, useable space. Dispose of used motor oil and other toxic chemicals at your local DPW if possible, or go to www.rirrc.org to find dates and sites for collection days (see below).
- Assign each category of stuff a place in the garage - a space for gardening, for tools, for sports equipment, etc.
- Go vertical! Use wall space to hang everything that can be hung up off the ground. There are many terrific garage organizing systems out there. Some are do-it-yourself, and others require professional installation. Take some time to browse the aisles of your home improvement store and check out your options.
A few to consider:
Gladiator Garage Works
- Peg boards are great for holding tools and other small things, and are easily adjustable as your needs change.
- If your garage has rafters, lay some large sheets of plywood across them to create shelf space for off-season items, like sleds and beach chairs.
- Use sturdy utility shelving to corral smaller stuff. Inexpensive, clear (so you can see what's inside) plastic bins work well to contain things like automotive supplies, gardening tools, household repair supplies, etc. Label everything to make finding and returning items to their proper place easy.
- A large trashcan can hold tall sporting equipment like hockey sticks, baseball bats and lacrosse sticks.
Once you've put everything in its assigned spot, maintain your wonderfully organized space by taking the extra few seconds each and every time to put things away in their proper place. Before you just dump that broken scooter in the back, really think about whether it's something you need to keep. Take a Saturday once every summer to pull out anything that's outgrown or never used. Just think how happy you'll be and how much time you'll save next winter when it snows, and your car is clean and dry INSIDE your spacious and organized garage!
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