I love easy-to-follow systems that let you organize anywhere. No two homes or businesses are the same, and over the years I’ve relied on the I CARE system to help clients get and stay organized. You can use it anywhere–homes, businesses–wherever there is stuff!(more…)
important documents – water damage, mice, other insect pests could make these documents useless
photos – water damage, mice, other insect pests could make these memories fade faster than your own memories
vinyl records – these will warp with the temperature changes
wine – needs cool even temperatures
food – mice and rats are excellent at finding small holes to enter your garage and will chew through packaging in a heart beat
delicate clothing – easily water damaged and don’t like uneven heat or humidity
paintings – easily water damaged and don’t like uneven heat or humidity
old paint – it will quickly become unusable with the heat
wooden furniture – it can be easily damaged if there is a leak
hazardous waste – be sure to drop off at a hazardous waste drop-off point
propane tanks – these need a lot of ventilation
and don’t store things in cardboard boxes – things inside can get water damaged if there is a leak.
Declutter your garage
Best way to store things in your garage
If you’re doing it yourself and need extra shelving, cabinets, or overhead storage, consider the size, shape and weight of the items you want to store. All of these things will affect the storage solutions you ultimately end up using. Pay attention to whether your storage solutions are fixed or adjustable. The best solutions will be adjustable so you can change them as your needs change over time.
Life was simple. Hard, but simple. There were no greeting cards, pictures, extra clothes nor shoes. No accumulated memories of a life time. No households of stuff when relatives passed away. There weren’t any books nor piles of paper, no projects – completed or not. There were no electronics nor thousands of accompanying accessories. There was no myriad of sporting paraphernalia. Nothing to declutter.
There was what you needed to survive. That’s it. Maybe you carried a small carving as a token or good luck charm. But mostly what you loved were your family and the experiences you shared. You carried virtually nothing to your grave.
I’m not suggesting that we go back to cave man days. Life is much more comfortable now, and more complicated. We spend a lot more time organizing our stuff – and getting overwhelmed by it.
So what do you do if you’re overwhelmed by your stuff but you really want to declutter? The number one priority is to reduce the amount of stuff you have. So how do we let go?
Once you have decided what you want to use your garage for, you may find there are items that need to be removed from the garage. If you are keeping them, find a new home for them that makes sense. If you are not keeping them, remember to reuse and recycle.
If you are not going to reuse the items, allow other people to reuse by selling items or giving them away. Options for selling items include:
- eBay – advice from a local eBay seller, Amy Weintraub of Shop It LA , suggests only selling something on eBay if it is worth over $100 – otherwise you spend a lot of time posting on line, packaging and posting the items for not much return.
- Wertz Brothers– buy high end furniture (located in Santa Monica)
Consider donating directly to charities in your area, but give them a call first to find out if they need them. Some great places to donate to in the Los Angeles area are:
- Baby2Baby, collects and redistributes gently used baby and young children’s items
- Beyond Shelter, accepts all manner of in kind donations to assit the homeless in transitioning to homes.
- LA Shares, redistributes working electronic goods to schools and other non-profit agencies in the area.
- PATH, People Assisting The Homeless
- Soles4Souls, reusing your shoes that you don’t wear any more.
The first thing to do when organizing your garage, or any space for that matter, is to decide what you want to use the space for. This might depend on how large the space is. If you have room for 3 cars, but only have 2 cars, of course you will want to use that extra space for something.
The garage used to be the place to park your car, but more and more frequently, the car is being parked in the driveway and the garage has just essentially become another room of the house. They are turned into playrooms, entertainment rooms, exercise rooms, or just a place for storage. Some people use their garage for a hybrid of uses – parking their car, storage and a kids craft area for instance.
However you use your garage, you do want it to be functional and not just a catch-all area for stuff you can’t decide what to do with or will never actually use. All too often, it becomes a mess of old furniture, boxes of who know’s what, children’s toys, and extra supplies. The trouble with that is, if it is such a mess, or has so much stuff in it, the useful things get overshadowed and forgotten.
Parking your car
Storing seasonal decorations
Storing gardening supplies
Storing household repair items and tools
Items to avoid storing outside:
- Vinyl records
- Video cassette tapes
- Other electronic media
Anything that will be affected by damp or large temperature changes really should be stored in the house.
- Keep all the things you use for one activity together
- It’s much faster to get out the door when all your gear for an activity is together. Let’s take going camping. It used to take us a couple of hours to get everything together from various places around the house and garage. Now we can have our car packed with all our camping gear for a weekend in about 20 minutes. We all have “camping clothes” that we can quickly throw in a bag. We have a separate box that we keep all our camping cutlery, dishes and kitchen supplies in that stays in the garage ready to go. All our camping gear is in one section of shelving within the garage, so we literally just have to back up our car and load everything straight in.
- Use cabinets, shelving and overhead racks if you have the vertical space.
- If your garage has been a dumping ground for some time, you may need to approach the garage in stages. Perhaps tackle one wall first, perhaps one corner, or perhaps the gear for one activity that you do. Organize the items that you use most often first. That way, you’ll be able to spend more time doing your favorite activities, rather than organizing (which I know is one of OUR favorite activities, but probably not yours!)