You can be outdoors but remain shaded at the same time!
The garage and storage areas are typically dumping grounds for the whole family. While it might seem like this no man’s land usually gets to a point of no return, there is hope for returning it to its original state of glory.
Here are some tips on how to transform your garage into an organized and – most importantly – functional space. Perhaps a space in which you could even fit your car? Imagine that…
Join Forces. Blast the music and ask your partner, kids or consider a work exchange with a neighbour or friend.
Collect Supplies. Gather trash bags, gloves, tape, containers, cleaners, paper towels, rags, labeller, vacuum, broom and dustpan. Lay them out and have them at the ready before you start, so that you don’t lose momentum.
Collate Items. Tackle one section at a time and organize like with like.
Purge. Decide and divide items into further categories: what needs to be kept, donated, sold, trashed, returned, repaired or recycled. If you need a dumpster, get one or share one with a neighbour.
Create Zones. Form general areas: sports, garden, tools, seasonal, travel, home, electronics, etc. Create a flow in your garage, keeping the most commonly used items easily accessible.
Make a Path. Always ensure there is a safe and clear path to get what you need. This rule applies to any organizing project. Consider marking out ‘clear’ zones with painter’s tape on the floor.
Get Vertical. Your walls are a great way to store your items so that they’re easy to see and take up less space. Use pegboards, good quality shelving and aim to keep things off the floor to make sweeping a breeze.
Look up. Use the ceiling to store ladders, skis or bikes.
Label Like Crazy. The secret to staying organized is to label—especially if you expect others to put things back.
Make It Easy. For those who seem to ignore labels, clear containers are your friend. They help folks find what they need quickly and put it away easily. Spend a little extra on quality, stackable containers. Add adequate lighting or sensor lighting.
Move It out. Complete the job and get rid of everything that needs to be removed.
Make a Profit. If you’ve got a lot of useable items left over, set up a yard sale so you can make some cash fromyour old goods! Consider Craigslist, Kijiji, eBay or Etsy to reap a little reward for your efforts from saleable items. Set a deadline for selling, after which you’ll donate any unsold items.
Avoid Hijacking. Set up an area for donations, so you can practice the one in, one out rule to prevent a garage hijack from occurring again. Post and communicate house rules to keep it organized.
I love sharing guest posts from the Professional Organizers of Canada! Great content from my colleagues across the country. Here’s an article full of timely tips on organizing your garage.
‘Trouble finding the gardening tools?
The snow is gone, the air is mild, the buds are starting to appear – all signs of spring being here! Aren’t you excited? Or maybe you will have a tough time getting into your garage to find your gardening tools and patio furniture?
During the cold Canadian winters, who wants to work in an unheated garage? As a result, the garage becomes a dumping zone which has to be dealt with in the warmer months.
Think twice about what’s being stored there
A garage may not be an ideal location for certain types of storage. They often have solid concrete floors and despite the age of the garage, concrete can absorb and hold moisture and create a damp environment. Moisture eventually finds its way into your possessions and can create mould and rust.
When storing, items should be containerized so there’s no chance of anything falling on to you, your possessions or your car. (if a car is indeed occupying the garage). It is also important to protect your belongings from pests and moisture as these can be severely damaging. Be mindful of important keepsakes or antiques and wrap them securely.
Store them within easy reach and systematically according to seasons for easy and safe retrieval. Get as much as possible off the floor. Utilize the wall hanging panels and hooks. (pictured below)
Be realistic about the time involved to get it organized
Depending on the volume of clutter, you may need more than one day to get organized. Many garages require a minimum of 6 hours and can sometimes exceed 24 hours depending on the size of the garage and the sheer volume of items. Remember, it’s not just tidying up; it’s creating a system of organization so that you will never have to do it again.
Don’t forget to label the bins and locations.
Once everything is up and out of your way, leave your garage in a clean, tidy and labelled manner. Consider labelling the locations of things as well, so that all family members know where to put things back.
Once you’ve invested in a system of organization for your garage, it’ll be easy to maintain for the seasons that follow.
Too Many Photos?
Most people have their photography in either one of 2 formats; the paper kind randomly stored in shoeboxes and plastic bins and/or the digital ones that we take with reckless abandon. As a result, too many photos are scattered across hard drives, duplicated, mismatched, poorly named and utterly disorganized. It may be time to put some of those memories in order.
Some purposeful planning and a few hours of getting your current photos into the right files will be a rewarding activity on a rainy day.
Digital Photo Organization:
- Frequency – Download at least once a month from your camera and/or phone to your computer into a photo management program or into the cloud. (in case of loss or theft)
- Delete – Discard the duplicates and poor-quality shots. Be scrupulous and diligent. Not every photo is precious. Good photos amongst bad ones won’t stand out.
- Quick Fixes – Try your photo program’s one-click editing tool, such as Picasa’s “I Feel Lucky” button or iPhoto’s “Enhance” feature.
- Make Folders – According to chronological order or a theme or a combination of the two. Create themed subfolders such as vacation, parties, friends; key words that work for you.
- Back it up – Immediately save shots to an external drive, an online or storage service.
- Storage – If you go with an online service, look for one that focuses on storage. Those that offer printing often charge for downloading a photo and reduce its resolution.
- Albums – One of the best backup methods is a photo album or book that can be ordered on line.
- Get Organized – Delete the photos on the camera or phone once they are organized and secure. You’ll avoid downloading duplicates the next time.
Printed Photo Organization
- Supplies – Invest in a large set of matching photo albums and photo boxes. This will make it easy to organize your photos over the years.
- Write it down – Record an identifying description, such as the date or who’s in the photo, on the back of each photo. Use an acid-free, photo-safe pencil or pen.
- Toss Them – Don’t keep bad exposures, blurry shots, or bloopers. Throw away any photos you’d rather not remember.
- Identify – Label each envelope with dates and any other identifying description. Transfer prints less to less bulky acid-free envelopes.
- Create categories – Use broad categories that are easy to remember; i.e. Family events, Travel holidays, Birthday/Parties. Use keywords to jog your memory and a ratings system to highlight your best shots.
- Boxes – Use photo boxes to create a filing system, and don’t forget to LABEL them with an identifying word or date.
- Temperature Control – Avoid storing photos in basements or attics, where temperatures and humidity fluctuate.
- Damage Control – Avoid paper clips, rubber bands and glue unless specifically designed as safe for photos. Use acid-free plastic pages, bags and boxes to avoid long-term damage.