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If you are like me, you find that your garage becomes more of a trash zone for storing items out of the house than being a place for storing your vehicle. Only 30% of homeowners have space to place their cars in the garage. The reason for this is simply because we have too much stuff. You may find boxes left unpacked from when you moved in years ago, or things tossed about from looking for the screwdriver for hanging a picture in your home that you never put back. This spring, take the time to clear out the clutter in your garage and help to prolong the life of your home investment and vehicle.

Getting Started

Before you get started make a place and designate three piles for sorting your stuff. These will be used for items to keep, donate or sell, and toss. A great way for handling the sorting of your things is to place tarps out in the yard or driveway to place items. Anything that has not been used in two years or more should be rid of. Consider the categories for items that will be restored in the garage. Examples of these would be tools, sports equipment, and outdoor toys.

Containers and Storage

Once you are done sorting and have established the proper items that should be organized and stored in the garage, determine the type of containers and storage items you will need. Items such as ladders should not be left leaning against the wall as they could become a safety hazard. Purchase hooks for storing items such as bikes, ladders, kayaks, and more. If you have balls and sporting equipment, get containers or racks that will allow these to be stored somewhere other than the floor floating around.

When it comes to chemicals, these can become a danger to you and your family. Pesticides, paints, fluids, and propane can create fire hazards, respiratory issues, and more. Store these in an area that is temperature controlled and unreachable to children. Propane tanks should be place at least 10 feet from the home outside. For storing gardening supplies, use hooks that attach to the walls.

Dealing with Safety

Many homeowners do not look at their garage space in the same level of importance in securing as the inside of their home. Doors and windows tend to receive less attention than those inside the home. To ensure you secure your space properly, install deadbolts on all windows and doors. Install a smoke detector in case of a fire. Protect your garage floors by using matting or rubber tiles. Extension cords that are used and stored in the garage should not be used in the home. Moisture build up can create potential hazards.

Garage Organization Tips

As you near the final stages of cleaning out your garage, keep these simple organizing tips in mind.

1. Maximize the use of vertical and ceiling space when possible.
2. Install a mix of cabinet and shelf storage.
3. Add a fresh coat of paint.
4. Keep like items grouped together.
5. Label everything.
6. Keep your work maintained.

Crystal Ayres, MBA
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