With the weather (hopefully) becoming cooler, Fall is a perfect time to dust off those projects you may have been putting off – like decluttering your garage.
While most of my clients roll their eyes and groan when I talk about their garage, here are some tips that will motivate you (and your spouse if the garage is their realm) to tackle this task more quickly and with less overwhelm.
First things first: Set a date to begin. Forgive me if that sounds too elementary, but committing a date to your calendar makes it real.And if it’s on your spouse’s calendar, it’s really real!
Preparation: Have lots of trash bags and recycle containers on hand. I recommend borrowing or purchasing a label maker. You may think you don’t need it, but you’ll appreciate it later when you’re looking for that little valve attachment thingy that is in one of the dozens of bins you have, and you will be surprised how handy it is to have one around the house.
Survey the contents of your garage to get an idea of which categories your stuff falls under. Most garages are filled with Lawn & Garden equipment, Tools, Sports equipment, Toys and Seasonal items.
Staging Area: if possible, use your driveway as a staging area as you sort through items. Designate one area for each category, and pull everything in the garage out, sorting it into one of your designated areas. As you do, you will come across things that are definitely throw aways, and those can go directly into a garbage bag or trash can.
Sorting: Take one category at a time. Decide on each item if you will Keep, Gift, Donate or Sell.
Have you used it in the past year? Do you have duplicate items? Are you keeping an item because it might be useful “someday”? Or that your kids might want it? (hint: they don’t) Enlist the help of a friend to keep you brutally honest about your answers to these questions.
A Permanent Place for Everything – Each item you keep should have a home. Items you use regularly, like small tools, sporting equipment, lawn equipment, etc., should be easily accessible. Other items such as seasonal decor or off-season gear, can be tucked into attics or bins on the top shelf. Bins with pull-out drawers are ideal for small tools and paintbrushes. Here’s where the label maker will pay off!
Choose the Right Storage – many people try to “make do” with whatever left over storage containers they have – after all, it’s just the garage, right? The result is that several unrelated items get shoved into large containers, which makes it more difficult to access and find. Here’s a link to some clever garage storage ideas.
Finally, hose down or sweep the floor of the garage before putting anything back, and haul off donations right away to prevent Clutter Creep. If you decide to declutter your garage, send us your “Before” and “After” photos, and we’ll feature them in a future post!
Kim Stanley, Momentum Catalyst