The garage is one of those areas in our homes that we often put off when it comes to tackling it as an organization task. It can be quite daunting because for most of us, the garage tends to end up being a catch-all for all the things we don’t want in the house anymore and it quickly adds up and becomes messy. Here are some tips and ideas for how to organize your garage on a budget whether you are getting it back to organized or trying to keep it organized.
How to Organize Your Garage on a Budget
Gather the troops
This is such a huge task; it will take you forever and a day to complete without help. Plus, since many of us use our garage as a dumping ground or rather storage for things we don’t want to deal with (myself included), there can be many items in there that you will want to make sure you get the proper person’s authority on if you intend to get rid of it. While no one likes organizing the garage, this will go much faster if you work as a group to get it done.
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Work on it in phases
Because the garage is so big, the best way to organize your garage to avoid burnout (where you get to the point that you are just shoving things back in places just to get them picked up), try to do it over a period of time and days. Just do a section at a time and work on it little by little.
I like to start with sections. I’ll do one side of the garage one day, perhaps it’s my cabinets. If I get too tired, I go cabinet by cabinet. Then, I’ll work on my shelving units where I store all my kids clothes. Sorting through a lot of clothes can be tiring, so I like to do just my sons clothes the first day or just my daughters clothes.
Breaking it up into bite sized chunks that can be done each day will really help you not feel so overwhelmed. If you do start to get overwhelmed, just try to focus on the one area you are doing and don’t think about the whole garage.
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Time it right
All winter long, I am just basically throwing stuff out in the garage, putting it in the spaces that it needs to go or in my cabinet where I keep the things I don’t know where to put or that I need to go through. My cabinet serves two purposes. It’s out of the way and it’s still semi-organized since I know where things are. This makes it easy for me to maintain organization all year round, but it does get cluttered in there.
Every spring, when it’s not too hot, not too cold (no snow everywhere), I like to go out and start organizing the garage of all the year’s stuff we’ve collected. Even though I purchase very little at this point, it still amazes me how much STUFF we have!
For me, this works out fantastically. Who wants to organize the garage when it’s snowing outside? So, make sure you take time each year and really do a thorough job during the spring. Enjoy the fresh air, getting out of the home we’ve all been shut in all winter from the snow. This helps me make cleaning and organizing the garage more enjoyable.
Know what you shouldn’t store
One of my top tips to organize your garage is to know that some items should never be stored in your garage. Find new homes for the following items of make arrangements to get rid of them properly; paint, propane tanks, paper products, food (unless it is sealed and in cabinets), and pet food. These items attract pests or can be extremely dangerous.
Invest in the right products
I can’t tell you how much cabinets will do for your garage. I just think everyone who has a garage should have them. They help in the organization process so much. They store things out of the way and you can shut the doors, so everything looks neat and tidy. Here’s a link to the littler cabinet on Amazon. I have an entire wall of cabinets. Nice big ones and smaller ones. All the same height and all white, so they look like they belong.
While I am including a link to them on Amazon to show you which ones I’m referring to, you can find them a LOT cheaper on Craigslist and in local Facebook groups. I have found the smaller ones for as cheap as $25 and the larger ones for as cheap as $40. Over the years, I have collected them as I see them to make up all of the ones I have now. It saved me a lot of money and having them helps me stay organized incredibly well. Everything has it’s proper place. They fit right inside the gap of the garage door, and are not deep, so you can still park your car(s) in there and be just fine.
Get the right tools
Purchase some organizational materials such as plastic tubs with lids, shelving, hooks, and bins. Label everything. You can even get creative with items you already have such as baby food jars, plastic food containers with lids, and mason jars. These smaller containers are great for holding odds and ends such as craft supplies, nails, and screws. Try to reuse as many things that you already have.
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Start making piles; keep, sell, donate, and garbage.
The good thing about cleaning out that garage is there is usually a cash incentive to do so. You can take unwanted sports goods to a resale sporting good store and cash out, hold a yard sale, and sell some items on Craigslist. As soon as you have enough items that you want to donate, make arrangements with the store you will be donating them to. Some even offer free pick-up of unwanted items, especially for larger items.
Doing this while you are cleaning means that these items could be gone as soon as the day after, so you are less tempted to just store them longer with a promise to yourself to get them to their new home. Also, for your selling stuff, plan a specific date in the not-to-distant future to hold a yard sale or place them immediately online for sale.
Finally, when you are ready to put everything away, be mindful of how things are placed. Items that you use a lot should be placed in front of items that are seasonal such as Christmas decorations or things that are not used as often.