You’ve decluttered, you’ve created stations for different categories, and you’ve brought all food and delicate items inside. Now you just need stuff to put your stuff in! Be strategic about what you purchase, though. When I’m organizing with a client, I try to bring as few new items into the home, including the garage, as possible. Using what you already have before buying new organizing gadgets saves you money and reduces your consumption (=love for the planet!). That being said, here are my top 3 tips for garage organizing!
1. Use Vertical Space
When you can’t go outward, go upward. Hooks, racks, and shelves are all great ways to get items off the floor. Vertical storage saves space, and saves you from picking everything up off the floor. Better for your garage, and better for your back. If you need help installing organizing solutions in your garage, contact a local garage organizing installer. If you are in Los Angeles, Gus at OrganizIt! and Jay from Organized Garage Solutions both know their stuff and have been working with Professional Organizers for years. Both these garage organizing companies can help you with sports-specific hooks and bins and other tricky bulky item storage.
A neat garage that’s crawling with pests is not a neat garage at all! And if you store your stuff neatly but improperly, you could face a disaster. Avoid garage organizing mistakes and keep these items safely indoors.
Things that are affected by extreme heat, cold, or humidity belong inside your home, or in a climate-controlled storage unit. These include:
Important documents. Don’t lose your marriage certificate (or your rare vintage Pokémon cards) to water damage. High humidity or floods can render valuable items useless.
Photos. Heat and damp can cause them to fade prematurely.
Vinyl records, which can warp at high temperatures.
Wine, which needs a consistent temperature.
Delicate clothing that can mold and rot.
Paintings, which don’t do well in fluctuating temperatures.
…there’s stuff in your garage that you don’t need.
But don’t panic! Here’s how I work with my clients to decide what stays, what goes, and what to do with unwanted items. Often deciding what you will do with any items you don’t want or need before you decide if you actually want them can speed up the deciding process.
TRACKS stands for Trash, Recycle, Action, Charity, Keep, and Sell. When I’m decluttering with someone, we go through each item and ask which of these categories it belongs in. Sorting everything into these categories is a big step towards a neat, peaceful home.
Pro tip: Start in a small area to get the hang of TRACKS. Try decluttering one box, one drawer, or one shelf using this method. It’s okay to go slow.
Pop quiz! What do these garage organizing statements have in common?
“This chair doesn’t fit in our dining room, so I’ll put it in the garage. We’ll bring it in if we have a party.”
“Just put empty moving boxes in the garage, we’ll figure out what to do with them later.”
“Tools go in the garage, just put them wherever, it’s fine.”
What these sentences all have in common is that they are all lies. That chair is not coming back inside—the garage is where things to go get dusty and be forgotten. Those towers of moving boxes will hang around until your next move, unless you unload them on someone else who moves first. It’s not fine to put tools wherever, unless you like playing find-the-screw-in-the-nail-stack.
If you think of your garage as a dumping ground for things you don’t know what to do with, or as a temporary storage space until you think of something better, you set yourself up for frustration. I don’t want that for you! I want your garage to be a useful, stress-free zone. Here’s how.
Why organize your desktop? Having a neat computer desktop is the “clean your bed” of digital organizing. It’s the first thing you see when your computer wakes up, and it sets the tone for the day. If your desktop is cluttered with shortcuts and covered in files, the tone it sets is “stress,” which we at Organize to Excel are not fans of.
Here are my top 3 tips for keeping your desktop clutter free AND stress free.
Tip #1. Remove Unnecessary Shortcuts
When downloading new software, there’s usually a check box in the installation process that says, “Create Desktop Shortcut.” It’s often checked by default, and it’s easy to miss.
Now, creating a desktop shortcut is fine—IF you’re going to use a program frequently. In most cases, though, it’s better to go without. There are so many ways to open an app that don’t take up real estate on your desktop! You can do a Spotlight search on Mac, or for Windows just type the name of the program in the search bar on the bottom left of the screen.
You can even choose to automatically open applications you know you’ll need when the computer starts up.
Note that this is good to check out on a routine basis. Some programs will open on startup by default, even though you might not need them. Check your computer’s list of startup apps and de-select any that aren’t necessary. Your computer will be faster to wake up!
Check the description below for the links to show you how to access the programs that run on your computer’s start up.