As the weather is cooling and you’re moving your outdoor furniture and decorations indoors in preparation for the winter months, there’s one more fairly large belonging that you might want to consider keeping protected from the elements: your vehicle.
For many people, the garage serves as a large closet to stash all the belongings that they don’t want to get rid of but don’t necessarily want in their home. As a result, as many as one in four people with two-car garages have no room for their vehicle, and a third can only park one vehicle inside.
The good news, though, is that there is hope for even the messiest garage. Here are a few tips to reclaim your space – and maybe even avoid having to get out the ice scraper every morning before work.
Make a Plan
There are some things that are going to have to be in your garage, like your yard equipment, tools, bikes or anything else that isn’t suitable to come indoors. Maybe your laundry hookups or your furnace and water heater are out there. However, especially if you have a two-car garage, these items probably aren’t the source of your problems; the blame goes to all of the little odds and ends packed in around them.
Sit down and figure out what has to go in the garage and what items are simply clutter – the board games that haven’t been touched in years, the old kids’ clothes and toys that are difficult to part with and outdated home décor items that you might want to display again someday—that can be organized, donated or thrown away.
Clean Your Garage
If it’s feasible, consider taking everything out of your garage to give it a good cleaning. Sweep the cobwebs, clean the floors, paint the walls and replace any burned-out lightbulbs. Giving your garage the same attention that you give to every other room in your house helps you shift the way you look at your garage: not as a pit stop between your house and the landfill but as an actual room in your home that deserves some care. As a bonus, as you start putting everything back in the garage, you can decide what you want to keep and what you’re ready to say goodbye to.
Use Vertical Space
Some items in your garage have to stay on ground, but many items like bikes and scooters, kayaks, tools and boxes can be hung on modular hooks or stored on shelves, thus freeing up valuable floor space. Group similar items together to avoid having to rummage through boxes later to find a needed item.
Taking It a Task at a Time
If it’s been years since you’ve last given your garage a good purge and the idea of tackling it now seems overwhelming, or even if you can’t dedicate a weekend to your project, you can still make a big difference by taking it one task at a time. Each day, organize just one drawer, one cabinet or one box. Fill a bag of items to toss or donate, and wipe down a single shelf. Set your timer for 10 minutes and get as much done during that window as possible. It might take a few weeks, but by the time winter rolls around, there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to move your vehicle indoors.