Get a Gorgeous Garage!

Be honest: is getting through your garage a little bit like completing a difficult obstacle course?

Somehow garages just seem to attract a disproportionate share of sports equipment, furniture, gardening gear, firewood, and other random, stray items. If you’re constantly tripping over things on your way to the car each morning (that is, if you can even fit your car in the garage), you might be wondering how on earth you can tame the chaos. It is possible to get it organized enough so you’re not mortified every time the garage door is open. It simply takes a little dose of imperfection and a lot of teamwork.

Alicia on ‘Imperfect Organization’

‘So, where do you start, what is most important, and what do you need to throw out? When you look at the whole garage, those questions can be intimidating enough that they keep you from taking action. Instead, focus on the ’80/20 rule.’ Zero in on the 20% of things that are creating 80% of the clutter and chaos. Those elements are usually very easy to spot — and diving in and tackling something right away gets momentum working in your favor. For me that means I focus on getting all of our family’s sports equipment into baskets and onto racks. Sure there are still some things that aren’t perfectly put away, but the bulk of the mess is gone.’

Sarah on ‘Bringing in Backup’

‘Going to town on the mess in the garage all alone is a thankless task. You’re not the only one who contributed to the mess, so why should you be the one responsible for cleaning it all up? Working by yourself takes longer and actually hurts your chances of keeping the space clean for long. Why? Because nobody else has a vested interest in keeping it tidy since they didn’t help clean up the mess! In order to make real progress, you’ll need to bring in backup support. Dad and the kids can turn a ten hour extravaganza into a two hour one. So don’t be shy in enlisting help — the more hands on deck, the sooner you will all be outside enjoying the weather and the more help you’ll have keeping it clean over the long run.’

Here are three easy tips that can help you get that gorgeous garage in no time!

#1: Pitch It
Realistically, every garage has old roller skates that are too small, flat tennis balls, and newspapers tucked away collecting dust. Figuring out what items need to be tossed or donated to charity should be your first order of business. Make 3 piles: keep, toss, and give away. Follow the rule of thumb that if you haven’t used it in 18 months, it should be tossed or given away. Before you know it, you’ll have room for the things you actually want to keep.

#2: Up in the Air

In order to optimize space and give your garage an organized look, install a few hooks and shelves. They are an effective way to organize a wide variety of items — and they have the added bonus of keeping things off the floor. Hang a row of hooks along the side of the garage to neatly store bikes, rakes, shovels, sleds, and all other items that easily get in the way. If you place these hooks close to the front of the garage, it makes them easier to use and you’re probably less likely to scrape the car.

#3: The ‘Kid’s Corner’

Designate an area of your garage as the ‘kids’ corner’ to store all of your children’s bikes, sports equipment, pool toys, and arts and crafts. This will make it easy for them to get what they need without calling for your help to find their favorite blue soccer ball or other ‘lost’ item.