Garage Organizing, Behind the Scenes

Written by Martha on May 19th, 2009

Recently, I was on hand for a garage make-over.  I use the term “on hand” loosely because the majority of the work was done in my absence!

My clients had used their garage for jumbled storage since they moved in 10 years ago.  When I went to meet the wife for the initial assessment, she pointed out things she would get rid of and said that she wanted to paint the walls while we were at it.  We talked about the strategy to make that happen, and about “zones” for certain activities and storage.

On the date set for our first session, one half of the garage was nearly cleared out!   Usually I work with the homeowner, but she had to be at work that day to train a replacement.  I finished clearing, sorting supplies by category, and swept the walls of cobwebs.   My client came home briefly,  joining her son and I in painting that half of the garage.  We were done in 30 minutes!

I returned three shelving units and filled them with containers labeled:  painting supplies, home maintenance, auto, gardening, sports, etc. One half down and one to go…

The following Saturday, I arrived to find that the other half of the garage had been painted!  Both husband and wife were on hand to sort tools and hardware.   The husband had cleared his tool bench (miscellaneous stuff  piled a foot high) and purchased a sturdy shelving unit in my absence.  Working together, we stored like items in drawers and on shelves.  The women were glad The Guy was there to install several sturdy hooks for lawn chairs, ladders and lawn trimmer.  I took my leave when the remaining items were either discards or to be moved to the barn.

In case you think I did not earn my keep in the garage re-do, I want to share with you  the principles that I guided my clients to apply.

  1. Evaluate what is working and what is not.
  2. Think about your ideal use and how to position furnishings/storage to achieve that.
  3. Clear the space totally, otherwise you are just rearranging stuff.
  4. Put like things together.
  5. Use containers and wall hangers to keep things off the floor.
  6. Keep supplies close to where used (i.e. lawn care tools close to the garage opening.)
  7. Store seasonal and infrequently used items in the hardest to reach areas.

You can use these tips to make your organizing projects go more smoothly.

All told, I supplied six hours of direction and strategy.  I’m sure part of my client’s success was due to my being the impetus to just get started.  I could only imagine what was said leading up to my appearance those two days, “Oh NO!  Martha will be here soon, we’d better get busy!”  It worked, the garage looks great!

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