Has your garage gotten to the point where you don’t have room for your car anymore? Do you dread your next small project because you have to dig through the clutter on the workbench to find the tools you need? Are you forced to maneuver around old pieces of furniture and boxes to find your electric drill? Maybe it’s time to organize.
Think about it this way: If things are where you can find them, and if you have what you need when you need it, you might be more motivated to do those little things you have put off for so long. Jump in, and let’s get started.
Survey the Field
Make a list of the things that need your attention: the paint cabinet, automotive supplies, the garden tools, the tool cabinet, camping equipment, holiday decorations, bicycle tools, shelves, workbench, floor, ceiling, walls. Then tackle one piece at a time.
If you tend to procrastinate, consider diving into the task you dread the most, instead of letting it linger on the horizon. Get it out of the way, while your energy is high. When you finish it, the other tasks won’t seem as formidable.
Sort It Out
Make 3 piles: Toss, Donate, and Keep. Go through each shelf, box, and drawer, and toss things that are broken, dried out, or worn out. Put things you haven’t used and won’t ever use in the Donate pile. Then group the things in the remaining Keep pile into categories so that you can see how much stuff you have. If you find something that doesn’t belong in the garage, put it aside so you can return it to its proper place.
Sort the small screws, washers, and nails in multiple drawer hardware storage cabinets or in small, plastic compartment cases. They are inexpensive and great for keeping tiny things visible in one place.
Keep instructions and warranties together. Separate them into gallon-sized resealable plastic bags, and label the bags with a permanent black marker. Include the date you purchased the item and the name of the store where you bought it.
Handy Storage Hints
Invest in at least 10 clear, plastic storage totes with lids. After sorting, put the groups of things you are going to keep into containers: your new plastic bins, boxes, drawers, jars, or shelves. Label them clearly. Don’t put so much together in one container that you can’t see what’s in it, or that you can’t quickly grab what you need.
Keep a separate tool box handy with the tools you need most for indoor work: screwdrivers, hand drill, small hammer, pliers, wire clippers, small level, along with an assortment of nails, screws, and picture hangers. That way, when you need to do a simple project, such as installing curtain rods or hanging a picture, you can grab everything you need in one small tool box.
You probably have your favorite ways of storing things and keeping them handy. Here are some more to consider:
- Take advantage of overhead storage shelves and hooks.
- Install wall storage cabinets—the investment can be well worth the peace of mind and time they save.
- Consider purchasing special clasps for hanging garden tools on the walls, and hangers for storing bicycles on the wall or ceiling.
- Keep frequently used things where you can quickly get to them.
- Take a trip to your hardware store to investigate the types of storage systems they have.
- Investigate online and storefront sources for products that help you organize.
Clean It Up
Clean the dust from cabinets and shelves. Wipe away cobwebs. Vacuum the floor, and remove oil and paint stains. Place floor mats by the doors to the outside and to the house. Replace burned out light bulbs so you can see, and to illuminate your work areas.
Sort any tools that you need to clean into groups such as garden, carpentry, and painting. Wipe them off with a clean moist rag, and lubricate moving parts. Check electrical cords and plugs. Examine sets of tools including drill bits, sockets, and cutting wheels for wear and tear. Discard worn items, and make a list of things you need to replace with new.
Sharpen cutting edges of drill bits, screwdrivers, pruners, and shovels. Apply a thin layer of silicone spray to prevent rust.
In your haste to finish, don’t forget to put aside batteries, used motor oil, and car parts for the appropriate neighborhood recycling center—don’t put them in the garbage.
Undoubtedly while sorting through your things, you noticed that you lack something that could help you stay organized or that might make that next project easier. Reward yourself with something new.
Then, get your car washed and waxed, and keep it clean by parking it in your neat, organized garage.
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