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June 2009, Redplumb.com

Garage Organizing Tips

If your garage serves as a catchall for anything that doesn’t fit within the four walls of your home then you’re not alone. Many suffer from “functional garage envy.” You know you have it if you get a little misty eyed when your friends or neighbors open their garage door to reveal its perfectly organized, clean and relatively barren interior. Luckily their little slice of heaven isn’t out of reach.

With help from Matt Baier, a professional organizer from Stamford, Connecticut, we’re spilling trade secrets that will help get even the messiest of garages organized so you can make sense of what you have, put the contents to good use, and maybe even get your car in there.

Here are 4 simple steps to garage organization success:

Step 1: What’s in there anyway? In order to get your garage into tip-top shape we’re going to have to take a peak under the covers. That means emptying the contents. Yes, all of it. Trust us, it won’t be as painful as you think. Remove and sort items, designating an area in your driveway for each category they fall into (for example: gardening; tools; toys; holiday decorations, etc). Include an area for items that you plan to donate and be sure to have trash cans on hand for anything that’s past its prime.

Step 2: Keep it simple and don’t over-spend on organizing systems. While we would never dispute their charming good looks, organizing systems are a surefire way to run a big tab at the home improvement store. Instead, make use of items you already have on hand. Take sports equipment for example. Yes, there are beautiful expensive racks for sports equipment, but they’re not always user friendly or adequate in size. Instead, use a large box for balls. A tall plastic paint bucket works great as a holder for baseball bats and lacrosse sticks. And a simple bike rack is more likely to be used than one of those cool bike suspensions systems. Everything else can usually be contained in simple bins on inexpensive shelves.

Step 3: Frequency Merits Facility. Devote prime real estate to the activities you do most. For example, you may not consider recycling a valuable activity, but you have to deal with it on a very regular basis. For that reason make it as easy on yourself as possible. Keep bins front and center within easy reach. Keep an open surface for bundling newspapers and cardboard. Camping equipment, on the other hand, can go up on the top shelf.

Step 4: Exit Zones. Are you making it easy to get rid of stuff? If not, that may explain why things are piling up. Devote a bottom shelf to collecting donation items. That way, if you plan on swinging by Goodwill, you only have one place to look.

Matt shares inexpensive garage organizing tips at redplum.com

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