This is the year I get organized.

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 2013.  A brand new year.  And it’s right around the corner.  If this is the year that you are going to get serious about organizing your garage, here are some tips that will help.

Give yourself enough time to get the job done.  If you’ve just moved into a house and only have a few boxes to deal with, then a couple of hours will do the trick.  But if you’ve been parking your car outside for several years ’cause it won’t fit in the garage, then it’s probably going to take at least a full day. The actual organizing process consists of 3 parts: Separating, Categorizing and Storing.  Lets get started.

Separating

This is going to be hard for some folks. Really hard. Start by making small signs that read Keep, Donate and Trash. Next, physically go and touch every item that is in your garage and ask yourself this question. “Have I used this in the past year?” If the answer is yes, then it goes in the pile marked keep.  If the answer is no, then decide if its good enough to donate to a charitable organization or if its junk that you’ve been storing for years. Place the item in the appropriate pile. Now do this for everything in the garage.

When you are done, there should be three piles. The good news is that you are only going to have to focus on the keepers. The trash pile is self-explanatory.  The donate pile is really easy.  If there are just a few items, load ‘em in your car or truck and drop them off at a collection point. If you have a lot of items or large items, call your charity and they will come and get them. Lets move on with the keepers.

Categorizing

Regardless of which type of storage system you’re using (shelving, cabinets, ceiling-hung or a combination of several), you want to make your organizing system “user-friendly”. If not, things won’t stay organized for very long. We advocate the separation of long-term storage items (things you use infrequently like seasonal decorations, the Christmas tree, luggage, etc.) from the things that you use on a regular basis ( bikes, sporting goods, yard tools and strollers). The long-term storage items need to be placed up high, since you only need them once in a while. The short-term items need to be placed low enough so they are convenient to get to.

Once you’ve separated long-term storage items from short-term storage items, let’s get into the weeds a bit with the short-term storage items and start to group them logically. Yard tools together, sports equipment, bikes, toys, automotive, hobby stuff, strollers and car seats, ladders, etc.  Whatever grouping makes sense to you is fine. We’re finally ready to start putting stuff away.

Storing

Regardless of your storage system, start with the long-term items and get them up as high as you possibly can. Once this is done, you’re ready to tackle the short-term items. The items that you use the most should be stored closest to the door for convenience. Other items can be stored by groups as necessary. Another reason for grouping your items is that by default, it’s a basic form of organization unto itself.

Getting Help

Organizing a garage can be an overwhelming task.  It may be prudent to consult a professional organizer for guidance and assistance.  The National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) has chapters throughout the country.  Or, you can contact a garage storage professional such as your local Monkey Bars Storage dealer.  They will provide you with a free consultation regarding your particular garage storage needs and make cost-effective recommendations to transform your garage organization resolution into reality.

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