What excuse do you use when friends and neighbors accidentally see the open garage with boxes and stuff stacked from floor to ceiling? If the neighbors roll their eyes every time you make another excuse, it may be time to finally tackle the garage. After all, wouldn't it be nice to use it for what it was intended for?
Caution: Most "how to" articles call cleaning the garage a "moderately easy" task. We all know it may be fairly easy to do after you actually get started. What the experts don't take into consideration is that it is "difficult" to begin. There are other activities screaming for our attention: Barbecues, Ball games, Hiking, Biking, Napping, Concerts, Movies, Napping, Taking the Kids to Games, Water world, Elitches, Napping. If you've decided that now is the time, here are a few steps you can use to make tackling the garage "moderately easy".
1. Create three piles: The throw out pile is for things that are broken or that nobody, including strangers, will ever use. The keep pile is self explanatory, but remember that everything doesn't go in this pile or you've defeated your purpose. The donate or garage sale pile is for those things that you no longer use, but someone else might.
2. Put like things together: Tools go in one area and bicycles and sports gear in another.
3. Make a plan: How much can be stored up on the wall and how much can fit into stackable boxes or on shelves? Now that you know how much you have to store, head to the nearest home improvement center and purchase the needed racks, bins and shelves. Remember to purchase storage items that can handle the load. Some things are very heavy and you don't want to risk having a shelf collapse. If you still have more things than the garage can handle, you may want to consider purchasing a storage shed for the lawn mower and weed eater.
4. Hang all of the storage units: Before you hang it, remember that heavier items should be stored in lower areas and items you use the most should be stored within easy reach.
5. Put everything in its place: Hang the tools on the wall, including shovels and rakes. Hang bicycles from the ceiling with strong hooks. The more items that are stored off the floor, the easier it will be to move around. Don't forget to pull your cars in every now and then while you are organizing to ensure that you have room to get in and out of the car and can actually close the garage door.
6. Label your areas: It's easier for the kids and the rest of the family if they can easily recognize where everything belongs.
7. Monthly check: Things will always get a little out of order. A monthly check will help put things back in place when they have migrated to unusual locations.
Now it's time to celebrate. Invite the neighbors over for a beverage. They will be green with envy and rush back to their garages to make them as beautiful as yours. Isn't it time for a nap?