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Do you know why most don’t keep their car in the garage? Simply because it doesn’t fit! Sometimes we forget that the main objective of having a garage is to protect the car from inclement weather, and by the way, we have an extra space to store. Although I know from experience that organizing the garage takes time and energy, I assure you that the best time to do it is at the end of the summer. Follow these three tips so that once and for all you have the garage of your dreams.
1. Empty and clean
This is the hardest part, but necessary. Empty the garage, get rid of everything you no longer need, and take an inventory of what you want to keep in order to organize everything efficiently. Also decide at this first stage what your needs and priorities are: you want to reserve space for the car, you want to create a work area with a tool bench, or you simply want to create clean, dry, and accessible storage spaces.
Take advantage of two or three days when the weather is good and completely clear the driveway. Before removing all the contents of the garage, delimit an area where to put the things classified into three groups: what goes directly to the trash (check with the United States Environmental Protection Agency if you want to get rid of chemicals and other pollutants); whatever you want to donate (try Salvation Army or Big Brother Big Sister Foundation); and what you want to sell (it can be through websites such as Craigslist or eBay). Don’t forget that what you haven’t used in the last three years, you don’t need it!
Once you have the garage empty, take the opportunity to clean the floor well. Sprinkle any powdered detergent mixed with baking soda on the stains and let it work for 30 minutes. Then add a splash of white vinegar and scrub with a stiff brush. If your garage has car oil stains, I advise you to put the litter they sell for the cat box on the stain, which will not only help absorb the grease but also prevent one from accidentally slipping.
2. Classify and organize
With the garage empty, study well the space you have and designate four or five areas where you can group objects related to the same topic, for example, work tools, gardening (including the lawnmower), garden furniture, scraps of paint, and other materials for renovations and repairs, bicycles, toys and sports equipment, Christmas decorations, and others.
Now pay special attention to the containers you have in the garage. My first recommendation is that you remove all cardboard boxes (cockroaches and mice love them!) And replace them with hard plastic boxes of different sizes and with a lid that closes hermetically. To quickly identify what you are looking for, I advise that, in addition to labeling its content, you use plastic boxes of different colors. For example, I put all my seasonal and Christmas decorations in red boxes.
Since garages are naturally humid, I advise you to put the boxes or anything else on shelves and pegboards (or pegboards).
3. Take advantage of walls and ceilings
Study the walls carefully to make the most of the vertical space. I advise you to use shelves specially designed for garages (made of more resistant and stainless materials). Put as many as you can on the walls and organize as follows:
Put on the higher shelves what you use less frequently and on the ones that are at eye level what you need to have more close at hand.
Intersperse the shelves with pegboards hanging on the wall.
Put hooks of different sizes in each hole of the board and hang from them the tools that you use most frequently or even small buckets (or buckets) where you can put miscellaneous objects such as brushes, screws, rulers, and others.
Use glass jars to organize nuts, nails, and bolts. (Made of glass because they allow you to easily see what’s inside; recycle them from the ones you have in the kitchen).
Also take advantage of the vertical spaces that are sometimes left between shelves to store long objects there (baseball bats, shovels to clean the snow, wooden planks). To keep them collected and vertical, put an elastic cord between the two shelves, the kind that has a hook at each end (bungee cords).
To get the most out of your ceiling, space we often ignore, follow these steps:
Hang a storage module (or box) directly from the ceiling (ask your favorite hardware store for ceiling storage units). They are easy to install.
Store in this module the most voluminous objects that you use less frequently, such as the red box with the Christmas decorations.
Then put a few hooks on the racks (these modules are usually meshing) to hang bicycles, tools, rackets, and others.
Remember that now that your garage is clean and organized, the trick is to keep it that way. Resist the temptation to turn it into a “mixed bag”, in which everything fits. The reward will come in the form of relief and satisfaction, which you will enjoy every time you park your car in the garage and quickly find what you were looking for.