No wonder the thought of trying to bring order to this world can be so daunting. Indeed, even professional organizers agree that decluttering a garage is a project to be reckoned with.
“I don’t think you can just wake up one morning and say, ‘I’m going to organize the garage,’” professional home organizer Regina Lark told the Associated Press (AP). “You need planning. You need muscle power. You need people around you for support. And you will need some basic information and possibly supplies before you begin.”
We can’t supply the muscle or people—but we can propose a plan. Here is a step-by-step garage organizing guide suggested by AP:
1. Make a day of it: Lark suggests setting aside a full day to organize the garage. “Choose a starting and ending time, and make sure someone will be there to support you.” Plan 3-4 hours to remove everything and sort it out and another 3-4 hours to put it back in a reorganized manner, as well as make a trip to the donation center to discard items you no longer need.
2. Be equipped: You will need trash bags, boxes in which to place items you want to donate, perhaps even a small Dumpster. Also, consider if you will need shelving, storage bins or peg boards. “It’s better to have too many supplies and return a few things later than to have progress halted because you don’t have what you need,” says Lark.
3. Study the situation: Take a minute to look over all the items in the garage. What do you really need? If you’re keeping items for nostalgia reasons, “ask yourself how many artifacts you need to remember a single event,” says Lark. “And if you can’t name a specific date and scenario when you’ll make use of something, you really should consider discarding it.”
4. Make piles: Take everything out of the garage and put them in piles of similar items. This will allow you to see if you have ten tennis rackets, five sets of old ski poles and so on. Duplicates can be donated. This method will also allow you to envision how to put the items back in the garage in an organized fashion.
5. Replace newly organized items: When you’re ready to put things back into the garage, experts suggest you use clear bins, each containing just one type of item, and each clearly labeled. They also recommend using peg boards to store frequently used items, such as bike helmets. Installing shelving can also ensure better organization.
6. Celebrate!: When everything is off the floor and in a new, carefully designated spot, it’s Miller time! Treat your helpers and yourself to pizza, beer and some well-deserved relaxation time.
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