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Calm Your Garage Chaos

Christmas is long gone, Easter is in the bag but Father’s Day is just around the corner and most of us will undoubtedly be giving presents that dad may not really want, right? And what happens to all these things is that they find their way into the storeroom a.k.a ‘the garage’, adding to the piles of things that haven’t been organised.

Why a dumping ground?
You may wonder why so many people resort to dumping their items in this large ‘room’ where our cars are meant to park? It is a bit odd when you consider that a car is most people’s second largest asset and it doesn’t get locked up each night because there is so much stuff in the way? Well, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure this one out – it seems to me that the number one reason the garage remains the most under-utilised spot in the home is because… you guessed it, “WE ARE LAZY”.

The truth is, we know we should use this space better because it would save us money (no more going to the hardware to buy nails you actually already have but just can’t find), and we know camping could be a whole lot more fun if we could find everything easily when it’s time to pack. But we just can’t seem to get our act together and we when we finally do, we don’t know where to start.

Stor-Age Self Storage storage unit at Stor-Age Claremont in Cape Town

Planning ahead
So now that you have had your epiphany and you know that enough is enough, where do you begin? Like all projects, there is a bit of preparation required. You will need to consider the following:
  • What is this space going to need to store?
  • Do I need a work area and if so, how do I want this to be organised and where in the garage should it be?
  • What do I already have that I can use to organise this space? This could include old kitchen cabinets that you could mount on the wall for additional storage or plastic jars for storing nails and screws.
  • Do I need containers to organise this space and if I do, what dimensions should those containers be?
  • What else might I need – rubbish bags, cloths for cleaning and dusting?
  • Where can I dump the items I don’t want?
  • How much time will I need to complete this task? (This is important. You will need at least a day or two and if you don’t block out time to do this de-clutter, you will give up half way and not continue.)
  • If I can’t manage a whole day, which part of the garage can I start with? (By being realistic about what you can/cannot do, you are more able to succeed.)

Getting started
Step One. If your car has been lucky enough to be parked in the garage, remove it and have a good look at what is in the garage. If you can reach items easily, then start putting them into piles of “keep”, “donate”, “throw away”. The piles should be outside the garage so you don’t start tripping over everything and become over-whelmed. Remember to be ruthless!

Step Two. By now there should be very little left in the garage but if not, pull everything out. Sort what you’ve decided to keep into logical piles (power tools don’t go with camping equipment).

Step Three. If you have done your homework, this step shouldn’t be too difficult because now you have to start zoning things. (E.g. gardening goes on the left wall and power tools and the workbench go on the right).

Step Four. Clean your garage from top to bottom. I guess this is symbolic of the ‘clean slate’ and if you’ve worked so hard to get it clean and tidy, you may be less likely to mess it up again.

Step Five. If you didn’t have storage solutions that you could use in the space, now is the time to purchase and install these into their newly designated areas.

A few quick tips:
  1. Keep the ground clear - use hooks, racks, cabinets and shelves to hold all sorts. As garages generally have four long walls, they are the perfect place to have shelves installed. Make sure these shelves are strong enough to hold heavy items.
  2. Stack it up – use stackable containers to hold things and label them.
  3. Keep things you use everyday accessible, placing little used items higher and out the way.
  4. Keep dangerous things out of reach, including sharp objects and poisonous liquids.
  5. Group like with like – power tools go together, as do gardening tools and camping equipment.

So, easy peezy, right? Get going and don’t give up because getting your garage organised will save you loads of time and money in the future (but best you start saying no to anymore gifts you don’t want lest they undo all your hard work).

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Guest blogger Isabelle de Grandpre is CEO of The Neat Freak Group based in Durban, KZN. She is President of the Professional Organisers Association Africa (POAA) and owns the only online shop in South Africa that specializes in products that help you get organized in any space. Visit for more information.

Posted by Stor-Age Self Storage - 17 April 2015 | Tips And Hints