If your second car is buried under a pile of boxes; it might be time to whip your garage into shape. “Armed with determination and a good plan, you can park your car in the garage, safely store extra supplies in labelled boxes, and use your tools and work bench again,” says Marcia Ramsland in her book Simplify your Space. So open the door, let the spring breeze in, and get ready to create a functional and tidy space.
The garage serves many purposes. It’s a place to tinker with broken electronics, store seasonal items, and park your car. Determine which functions your garage serves and designate “zones” to each function. This will help you organize your tools, equipment and storage items.
Ditch the Duplicates
There’s no point in keeping five of the same wrench when you only need one. Tools, just like accessories, tend to accumulate over time so sort out the ones you need. If you own old antique tools you can sell them to an antique dealer or donate them to a heritage site. You can also recycle your metal and power tools at numerous scrap metal or electronic recycling depots.
Check your Tool Box
If your nuts and bolts are lost somewhere with your crank wrench you might want to invest in some closed-cell-foam for the inside of your toolbox. This sturdy foam can be cut to make space for each tool, or you can buy pre-cut foam from places like toolfoam.com.
Garage Sale Cast-offs
You’ve been saying it for years; “we’re going to have a garage sale to get rid of this junk.” That was three years ago and the pile of junk is just getting bigger. Either organize a garage sale (or tell your kids they can keep whatever profit from the garage sale if they organize it), or give your cast-offs to charity.
Pack and Put Away
Since cardboard boxes tend to wilt over time; Ramsland suggests upgrading your cardboard boxes to plastic containers. “Simplify the look of your garage by choosing the same kind of containers, either solid or see through, and neatly label the contents,” says Ramsland. Create large labels for your storage containers so you can see them from a distance. A simple sharpie marker and an index card works well.
Hockey, Soccer, Rugby, oh my!
As your kids have tried different sports they’ve left a smattering of outgrown equipment in the garage. Look for local places that buy, trade, or swap used children’s sports equipment and earn some extra cash to buy equipment your children will actually use.
Get the Stuff Off the Floor
Use wall and ceiling brackets and storage reciprocals to get your stuff off the floor. Make more room for your car or workbench by storing skis above the car, hang bikes from the ceiling and place snow shovels, rakes and garden hoses on wall hooks.
Storing Hazardous Materials
Identify poisonous or toxic materials, such as paint, motor oil, and gasoline. Store these materials out of the reach of children and according to the manufactures recommendations. Take note of any dangerous chemical interactions and plan accordingly (for instance if household bleach mixes with ammonia it creates chlorine gas, so both of these items should be stored separately.)
Check your local recycling program to find out how to properly dispose of hazardous materials.