One of our readers has this organizing problem – a ridiculously disorganized garage.
It’s seriously so bad we can barely walk in there. Aside from storage for old furniture, books, toys (and sadly my kids are grown), not to mention papers, it became a dumping zone for whatever we didn’t want in the house. I just don’t know where to start!
Thousands of homes face this kind of dilemma. All of the country there are people with cars in the driveway because it won’t fit in the garage! Here are some steps to help you get started and take control of that space.
6 Steps To An Uncluttered Garage
1. Clear The Space
Reality: Clearing the space completely allows you to start the decluttering process with a clean slate.
Clutter muddles your mind if you’re constantly shifting and stacking things to get to other items.
Action: Choose a day where you can completely empty out your garage and clean the space.
Where to start: At this point your goal is just to get everything out of the garage. If you can start sorting into piles then do so, but the main aim is to get a clean, clear space,
Sweep, wash or vacuum the floor. Prepare it for the items you wish to keep because hopefully (fingers-crossed) you’ll be seeing more floor space from now on!
Barriers: The weather – make sure you check the forecast so that any items out of the garage are not in jeopardy of being damaged. Your motivation – getting started is hard. Focus on how good you’re going to feel once you’ve completed the declutter.
Bonus step – if it helps consider painting the garage to freshen up the look. Painting it in brighter colours will give an illusion of bigger space and minimise the crowded look.
Reality: You don’t actually remember what’s hiding in those boxes/storage containers.
Action: It’s time to start identifying what you actually have.
Where to start: Set some decluttering guidelines or boundaries for yourself. As you start identifying and taking action around those goals, you’ll start to prioritise actions required in the task ahead. A goal might be for example, I will remove 50-75% of this clutter from the garage.
An example of a guideline is: If I find something that reminds me of the past but has not use in my future, it will be thrown out. This includes things like; high school football attire, winter jackets (when I now live in a hot climate), and paint tins from houses I no longer own.
Barriers: Feelings of overwhelm will probably come over you as you start working. Your mind will race. You will want to quit. Don’t!
Reality: Grouping items will help you stay focused and you’ll find it easy to work through the clutter.
Action: Start grouping items contained in the storage boxes. Lay down your sports equipments, toys, old decors, old furniture and books near each other. If you have lots of items in your garage, you may need lots of help from family members. G
Where to start: Rather than begin randomly, choose a priority area to start with. One that will motivate you to continue. It might be the easiest box. For example, toys that have been outgrown.
Barriers: Not being able to categorize an item. Try to avoid the random ‘miscellanous’ pile as much as possible. This will help you in further steps.
Reality: Once you have reconnected with all the items you have grouped, you might start to feel possessive of them. Refer back to the goals you made in Step 2 and stay strong with your declutter project.
Action: Focus in one of the groups you made and start purging. If you are feeling overwhelmed, purge items according to two categories. Keep and Throw. If you are not too overwhelmed, introduce a Donate box of items that can be given to charity or friends. If it’s all too much, be prepared to throw the whole lot out.
Where to start: Start with the group of items that really don’t mean much to you. This will help motivate you because you will feel successful in the purging activity.
Barriers: The feeling that if you purge now you will regret it later. Consider this, if you haven’t used it or missed it during its storage isolation time, then chances are you can live without it.
Reality: Ok, what’s left? Look around and see if your goals have been met. Chances are, in the things you have left, there are still things that you won’t be using. But don’t fret, decluttering can’t be perfected in one go.
Action: Do another round of decluttering! Chances are by now that you feel a little braver, more motivated, or love the feeling of freedom that only a good purge can give.
Where to start: Start visualizing where all the remaining items will be stored in the garage. For example the once a year Christmas box can be stored high. Create zones for the groups of items that you have left.
Barriers: The feeling you are throwing out stuff you may need one day. Find peace with the fact that if you do indeed need something that has been discarded, you can always buy another. If it is something that is truly irreplaceable, then perhaps don’t throw it out just yet.
6. Build/Buy Storage Options
Reality: Having the right storage containers can make a lot of difference. For example stackable boxes, or shelving help keep things tidy & organized in the garage.
Action: This step may require buying some cabinets, boxes or organizers. You might need to hang hooks or peg boards. Whatever storage containers you choose, don’t forget to label them so you always know where everything is at glance.
Where to start: Take a look at the space you have to work with and decide what kinds of storage would work best. You can flick through home and house magazines to get styling and storage ideas.
Barriers: There may be a few things that need to be considered in this step. Money. Physical strength. Lack of tools. You may need to enlist a friend to help with some of these.
Don’t forget that decluttering is not a once-off event. Frequent decluttering is a skill that is developed over time.
Check Out Our Decluttering Blogs
We have written many blogs about decluttering over the ears. Here are some that might help you with your declutter project.
Join Our 21-Day Simplify Your Life Challenge
If you’re looking for more than just a chance to declutter your garage, join us for our next online program, the 21-Day Simplify Your Life Challenge. We begin on Monday 2 May (US time).
Perfect for people ready to declutter and invest in a more simpler, calmer, happier life!
Here’s What Other’s Say About The Program
I never imagined I could get so much out of a 21-day program. It has made me more aware of my personal roadblocks and given me strategies for managing them. I’ve started to develop new habits that are helping me feel better organized and less overwhelmed. – Ellen
Thank you for this awesome challenge! … Going through this has lifted soo much weight off my shoulders! I feel much more focused and organized. You have helped set me on the right track to finally reach some of the goals I have set for myself year after year. Thank you so very much!
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