Ah…. Spring in Muskoka. After the snow is gone we seem to get the urge to bring out our summer toys and perhaps access our lawn mowers. This means we need to get into our garages. That’s where all the tools, toys, bikes, sporting and camping equipment are, right? Too bad all those things you need are spread out all over the garage with no rhyme or reason. Well here are 7 steps to help guide you through the mess to create a garage that’s orderly and easy to access.
1. Analyze and prioritize. One of the biggest problems with garages is that generally there is no plan for the space. Many of us fail to take time to analyze and visualize the space to figure out how we want it to look. What is your priority for your garage? Do you want to park your car or have your own work space? Do you need to store seasonal items and sporting equipment? Maybe you need all of the above. Pick your priorities and plan with that in mind.
2. Clear the space. You’ll need to start with a clean slate. Get a couple of tarps and blankets to place your items on and lay them in an open area like the driveway or lawn. This is a great time of year in Muskoka when the weather is still a bit cooler than it will be in the summer.
3. Start purging! Try to commit to getting rid of half the stuff in your garage. Even if you don’t get rid of that much, making the effort will go a long way. To purge, start by making four piles: keep, donate, discard and recycle. As you purge, place each item into its respective category. Get rid of anything that is broken or things you haven’t used in over a year. Return items that don’t belong to you or belong somewhere else other than the garage. Get rid of duplicates.
4. Sort by putting like items that you are going to keep with like items. As you pull things out of the garage, group together all your sporting equipment in one spot, then your tools, lawn gear, camping gear, decorations and so on. You can even get down to the itty bitty nails and screws…sort these out as well.
5. Now that you’ve cut down, take inventory of what you have. That way you’ll have a better of idea of what organizational items you can work with or what you’ll need to purchase. Don’t purchase organizational products before you’ve purged…it will save you time, money and frustration. Next, map out the space. Draw it out on paper or use masking tape in the garage to outline the different spaces/work zones. You can mark off the spot for your car, heavy duty shelving, paint and hazardous materials cabinet, lawn care supplies, tools or workbench, and sports/recreational equipment.
6. Determine your organizational supplies. Now that you’ve mapped out your zones, gather your supplies. Use large trash cans to store rakes, shovels and brooms upright. You can also use a large trash can to store sporting equipment like, skateboards, balls, bats and gloves. Use pegboards to hang tools. Use large hooks mounted to studs in the wall or ceiling to hang bicycles and extension cords. And get a label maker!
7. Put everything away in its proper zone and label everything you can! This is the fun part because the finish line is in sight! Start putting things away in their designated zone and start labeling. It just makes it easier to find and put things away. Label makers are great for labeling cords, containers, drawers, boxes and shelves. If you don’t have a label maker, use masking tape or duct tape and a permanent marker. Be sure to label the front and sides of storage bins so you’ll be able to read them no matter which way you face them.
By getting the chore done sooner rather than later you will find you can enjoy your summer much more. And if you are planning to sell your Muskoka home, a well organized garage is a great feature and will make packing to move much easier!