Are you thinking of getting your GARAGE in order? Here are some common frequently asked questions, answered by veteran organizer Tonia Tomlin.
Q: HOW DO YOU EVEN START TO ORGANIZE YOUR GARAGE?
A: First, donít look at the garage as a whole ENTITY, you can get overwhelmed easily. Pick a specific AREA you would like to start at then work clockwise to help keep yourself on track. Creating a plan of action in the garage is a necessity because of the size of the project.
Q: SHOULD YOU REMODEL BEFORE YOU START ORGANIZING?
A: Maybe you're thinking of painting, putting in new outlets, or building cabinets. Before you start to paint and build cabinets itís a good idea to SORT through all of your items in the garage. Donate items you havenít used for at least a year. Throw away cracked, chipped, or broken items just taking up space. After the sorting and purging process is complete then you can move on to building cabinets and painting. Then, arrange by CATEGORY. For example, put all the sport equipment together, camping equipment, holiday stuff together etc. By putting things into categories it will make it easier to decide what organizing systems youíll need.
Q: ANY TIPS FOR SPORTING EQUIPMENT?
A: Take the time to EXAMINE each item. Ask youíre self how long itís been since youíve used that basketball or ping pong table. Donate the items you havenít used in the past year. If items are broken, worn out or cannot be repaired donate or trash the items. For the items you decide to keep, make sure to clean or repair it before storing it. Storing sporting equipment can be done in two different ways -- current season storage or year-round storage. Depending on what type of SYSTEM you decide on, locating the appropriate storage solution should be easy. Always label your stored sports equipment so putting back the equipment will be easy for everyone in the family.
Q: WHAT ABOUT TOYS?
A: Sort toys by the appropriate AGE category or by the toy COLLECTION. Example, if you have a train set, store all the accessories with the train track. Or, if you have 2-3 year old toys and 4-5 year old toys in another bin this makes clean up easy and maintenance free. If the child shows not interest in the toy donate it. Contain the toys in a fun bright colored bin with his/her name on it will make clean up fun. Teaching children with simple organization techniques at an early age is always a great idea.
Q: GARDENING SUPPLIES?
A: If you hire someone to cut your lawn or maintain your landscape consider getting RID of your garden equipment. Keep the tools if you enjoy gardening, but if you prefer to have someone else do it for you, think about donating those items. If you do your own lawn and gardening work definitely assess what tools you use on a REGULAR basis.
Q: WHERE DO YOU STORE MISCELLANEOUS TOOLS?
A: Storing miscellaneous tools by different HOBBIES is a great start. If you are a woodworker store all hammers, screwdrivers, drills together. Finding the appropriate CONTAINERS will just fall into place when you have the miscellaneous tools sorted out. Pegboards a great for miscellaneous tools and hobby related items with a shelf just underneath it. Clear labeled containers are helpful so you can properly locate each item.
Q: WHAT ABOUT SEASONAL ITEMS?
A: Seasonal items should be stored together. For example if you have holiday decorations in the attic and in the garage, assess what location would be best for all of it. Itís easier to store like items TOGETHER so when you need it you can find it. After all, the goal is to have a place for everything!
Q: WHAT TYPES OF ORGANIZATIONAL SYSTEMS ARE AVAILABLE?
A: There are many OPTIONS -- shelves, hooks, boxes, tool racks, peg boards, extra sheds, etc. Research and study at least three different types of organizational systems. How MUCH garage equipment you have will play a big factor on what system you will buy. There are many different systems available out there, be sure to pick the one that best fits your needs and that is functional.
Q: WHAT DO YOU DO FOR BIKES?
A: WALL-MOUNTED systems for bikes are a great alternative so they are not stored on the garage floor. Studying different garage systems to find out what best will fit your needs is a great idea. Take inventory of all biking equipment before shopping will save you a huge headache.
Q: WHAT DO YOU DO WITH DANGEROUS CHEMICALS?
A: Store all gasoline, flammable fluid, and combustibles -- gasoline, charcoal lighter fluid, paint thinner, etc. -- in a dry, cool place. Never just throw away gasoline, paint, or other toxic waste substances. Contact your local toxic waste professionals in the local area to find out locations for proper DISPOSAL. If you donít want the hassle of calling to dispose of these items donate to someone who needs those items.
Tonia Tomlin is the Founder and President of Sorted Outô and Sorted Out Publishing. Tonia is an author, publisher, speaker and mother of twin girls. She has been featured on HGTVís, Mission: Organization, and is the author of the book Chaos 2 Calm: The Moms-of-Multiplesí Guide to an Organized Family. For more information, please email: [email protected] or visit www.sortedout.biz
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