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Spring Cleaning: Garage Essentials

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Picture this: You gather your pool bag, load the kids in the SUV, climb in for a fun afternoon at the pool, and burn your hands on the steaming-hot steering wheel. Or, it’s winter and you’re rushing out the door for work, late again, only to be further delayed by scraping frost off your windows. Does this aggravation feel familiar? If so, you’re not alone.

An amazing 75 percent of all household garages in the U.S. do not hold cars, but junk instead! That’s right, our garages make way for an overflow of stuff, much of which we no longer need or desire and, as a result, our cars sit outside in the driveway. As a professional organizer, I have even seen third and fourth car garages packed full of miscellaneous stuff!

Spring weather offers the perfect opportunity to spend a day organizing your garage space. Transforming your garage is a snap when you follow these steps:

1.  It’s best to start with empty trash/recycling bins; they’ll be full by the end of the day. Have large boxes and trash bags ready to collect items you’ll donate to a new home.

2.  Take everything out of the garage. If your space is exceptionally full you may want to post a sign at the end of your driveway declaring “No, I am not having a garage sale” to avoid interruptions by passersby!

3.  Evaluate the current usefulness to you of every item. Some things will still be in great shape but no longer useful to your family. Everything that is broken goes directly into your trash and recycling bins. Trust me; if you haven’t repaired it yet, you won’t in the future.

4.  Knock down cobwebs and sweep the floor. You’ll be amazed at how much bigger the garage feels just by getting rid of dirt and leaves.

5.  Use every inch of wall space. Your hardware store has all kinds of great organizing products to get garden tools, bicycles, ladders, toys, and other items off the floor.

When you begin to put your keepers back in your now beautifully open garage, think in terms of Zones. Common Zones include: gardening/lawn care, sports/recreation, auto care, grilling/outdoor entertaining and trash/recycling. Notice there is not a Zone for furniture, random or unpacked boxes from your last move, tubs of framed photos or home décor items, bags of clothing or stacks of broken things you are going to fix someday.

Keep in mind the purpose of the garage: a place to park our vehicles and store items that we use outside on a regular basis. Adhere to this guideline and your garage will be tidy and spacious. Your hands will thank you when this summer’s heat really hits!

Written by: Joanie Nicholas


Organizing Coach Joanie Nicholas, owner of All Things Organized, is not an ordinary organizer. She approaches your home from a soulful place. For over 20 years, Joanie has led people across the metro area in creating lasting, positive changes to their space. Joanie brings professional guidance, enthusiasm, empathy and humor to her hands-on work with each client. Connect with Joanie at, or by phone at 913-390-3432. For regular tips and inspiration for your home projects, follow All Things Organized on Facebook and @ATOJoanie on Twitter.