Kicking the Clutter: A garage or a dumping ground?

For many people, the garage is the most disorganized space in the house. It tends to be the place to store, stash and dump everything we don’t need every day or want anymore.

Sure, we might justify this by calling the garage our temporary storage area, but years later all of those things (many of which have long since been forgotten) are still there taking up space.

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It doesn’t make much sense to park our expensive cars in the driveway or on the street, exposed to all kinds of weather and vandalism, while we use our garage to store all the other stuff we don’t use or need.

There has to be a better way, but there’s only one way to start, and that’s by cleaning up the clutter.

The big project
To avoid being overwhelmed with the amount you have to trudge through, divide your tasks into smaller projects. For example: Organize your paint and accessories on day one; organize your tools and gardening supplies on the second day; and, on the third day, organize your holiday decorations.

Schedule the date
Prepare yourself for the big cleaning day(s). Write the dates and times on the calendar to validate your commitment. Ask your family (including children) to help out by delegating chores to each member. You can also consider hiring a professional organizer to gain some valuable organization skills.

Be prepared
Ensure you have lots of big sturdy garbage bags on hand, as well as some extra cardboard boxes and containers. Plastic milk crates are ideal for storing camping and sports gear, allowing you to easily see what you need.

Tried and true tools
You’ll want to buy some hooks, pegboards and wire shelving, and add a couple of permanent markers to your list to label any storage box or container. Also, ask family and friends to donate their old kitchen cabinets, or check classified pages, as often people just give them away.

Installing the system
Once you remove the unwanted items and make yourself some space, start installing pegboard, hooks and shelves to place and organize the things you’re keeping. Use large bins to store bigger items and toys, while using shelves and smaller containers for smaller toys and tools.

Adding work zones
To help you stay organized from now on, categorize and store your items into working zones. You can have five or more zones in your garage: paint and home repair; tools and woodworking; toys; outdoor gear; plus a garden and a car accessory zone. To save space, go vertical and hook your bikes and ladders onto the wall.

Maintaining your organized garage
You must be diligent when it comes to maintaining your garage. Avoid storing items temporarily; either find a place that works because it will be used or pass the item on. Then, evaluate every month to check if the system is working or if it needs adjusting.

Ranka Burzan owns a professional organizing company based in Powell River and has written several books on reducing clutter and becoming more organized. For information, go to

Copyright © Powell River Peak


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