Does you garage have a case of “summer fun clutter?”

Garage #2

If your garage is suffering from a case of “summer clutter”, take solace that in a few hours it can be put back in functional order.  Here’s a few practical tips to get your garage back in order after a full summer schedule.Garage#6

#1:  Tackle the garage project in the cool morning or evening hours.

Clients often unnecessarily suffer in the heat of mid-day when trying to tackle the garage.  In fact, I don’t even schedule heavy garage cleaning mid-day because it is so miserable for everyone involved at this time of year.

#2:  Inlist the help of the family members who helped create the clutter.

Garages are often family zones.  Enlisting the help of all members of the family to help clear out the clutter helps in a variety of ways.  Firstly, the manpower can’t be beat for clearing out the bulk of the items.  You will accomplish so much more with more hands on deck.  Secondly, valuable teaching can happen about taking care of one’s belongings.  If all family members feel ownership for the items, gear and boxes that they had previously cast aside, they will be ess likely add to the mess next time if they know they will be responsible for cleaning it up.  Make piles for each family member’s garage items and indicate that they will be responsible for sorting, purging and finding appropriate homes for those items.  Making younger family members part of the storage solution also encourages creativity and a knowledge of where things belong.

#3:  Remove items that do not belong in the space.

This item seems simple enough, but I can’t tell you how many garages I’ve seen that have heirlooms/ photograph albums deteriorating, mangled paper boxes filled with important tax paperwork and items that were long overdue to return to others.  (If you must use your garage for long-term/important item storage, consider storing items properly and in a way that you can access them.)Garage pic #1

#3:  Store items based on use.  Use clear bins whenever possible.Garage #2

As you return items to the garage, consider how frequently you will need to access the item.  Make these garage contents easy to reach and access.  Also, whenever possible, purchase clear bins.  Even without labels, it is easy to scan a shelf of bins and differentiate the contents of each in a see-through bin.  If you must use a heavy-duty bin, label the outside of the bin or use a colored bin to indicate the contents (i.e. orange for Halloween, red for Christmas, etc.).

 

#4:  Put a shoe rack/basket as you enter the house from the garage.

In a 2008 news piece by Good Morning America entitled, “How Dirty Are Your Shoes?”, their studies indicated that bacteria live longer on our shoes than in other place and that 90% of this shoe bacteria was transferred to the floor of the home.  GMA’s test results indicated that shoes were “dirtier than a toilet seat” by measurement of bacteria.  Ewww.  Further, cleaning expert Don Aslett claims that the majority of dirt enters the home through our shoes.  Designate a place for shoes to live-whether in a basket, a shoe rack or just a laundry basket from the dollar store and be consistent about asking family members to take them off before entering the house through the garage.  This has the added benefit of allowing you to find shoes as your are running out the door as well.  Win-win!

Garage #3

Garage #4

#5:  Cover luggage.

I love our garage as much as the next person, but it isn’t always the cleanest place to store items.   The last things I want is to pull down a piece of luggage with dust, cobwebs and debris on it before a trip.  An economical and easy solution is to cover each piece of luggage in good, black trash bags and tie the top.  This slip cover really protects the luggage from dirt/little pests while in storage.  Label the spine of the stored luggage so you won’t have to pull them all out of the black bags to find the piece of luggage your are looking for. (Been there, done that.)

Garage #5

#6:  Make a grab a go center.

Designate a place in your garage to function as storage for the items you frequently grab on the way out of the garage.  If your are a sports family, perhaps packed bags with the gear for practices, water bottles and coolers would be perfect.  For families who visit the pool and beach during the summer, extra towels, goggles and sunscreen.  Other great ideas to include in a grab and go center are:  re-usable grocery bags,  recycling, returns to stores, library book basket, backpacks, dance practice bags and foldable chairs.

Garage #6

#7:  Make is shine.

Take the time to use a blower or broom and really give your garage a good clean-out.  By taking the time to rid yourself of the dust of summer, you will be cutting down on the dirt coming into your home as well.

garage #7

Give yourself the gift this summer of a clean launching pad-your garage-as your head out the door for your next fun activity or adventure.

Happy Organizing!-Lorinda, with Vacaville Organizer

 

 

 

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