This weekend my goal is the garage, any tips?

bluesbarbyMay 25, 2006

My DH has 4 days off and I have 3 so we've picked this weekend to organize the garage. You can't even get in there right now. We moved into this house 3 years ago - a true fixer upper. Am almost finished with the inside - it's clutter free but all the overflow has ended up in the garage. We also seem to be storing our kids stuff. One has moved back home and will be here with us for another year before she goes off to pharmacy school and her room in the house is small so she keeps her stuff in the garage. My older daughter's stuff is fair game though and I think most of my son's stuff is gone now. I plan to do a Clean Sweep. A pile for sale, toss and keep. We have tons of cabinets and drawers in the garage, it's just a matter of cleaning everything out and then organizing. Any other tips? I am really not looking forward to this.

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Post a sign at the end of the driveway that says "NOT a garage sale, go away!".

Start early.

Make sure you have a lot of big trash bags, banker's boxes or other stackable boxes with lids, labels, and a black marker.

Move EVERYTHING out onto the driveway. I mean EVERYTHING. As you move things out, sort into at least two areas, one on either side of the driveway. One is trash, the rest is not trash. You might want to sort into several areas: trash, needed tools, one area for each kid, house decor clutter, your stuff, etc. but try to keep the number down.

Clean the shelves and drawers and sweep out the garage.

As you put things back, evaluate their use. If you uncover trash, leave it in the trash area. Only put back what HAS to go back. Often-used items need to be in easy to get to areas. Kid treasures for long-term storage can be on upper shelves. If you discover boxes of unidentified "stuff", leave them somewhere you can sort through them. I recovered three whole shelves in the garage because the boxes had random junk in them, not prioceless toys.

Make sure everything you return to the garage is BOXED so you can stack it neatly, and label the boxes. Soft bags and loose items take more time to handle and don't stack.

When everything that needs to go back is in the garage, what's left is either trash or thrift shop material. The clutter you removed from the house can have a "take it, PLEASE!" sign on it and leave it on the driveway. It should disappear.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2006 at 3:04PM
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If your garage is like most, you'll end up with a bunch of stuff you may not be able to throw away in the household trash. Paints, antifreeze, etc.

If that's true, make a call to see what you need to do with toxic wastes and the hours of drop-off. Make concrete plans for getting it gone, or you'll end up like the rest of us with that stuff still sitting there in five years.

Set up a collection with a non-profit to haul your stuff away if you can do that ahead of time. You can always cover the pile with a tarp.

How will you get items thrown away? Do you need to empty a vehicle to take to the dumping station or do you have room to wait for trash day?

You may want to reconsider if you want to take the time to sell stuff. We use It's Deductible and took over $5,000 last year in non-cash donations. Much easier for me than trying to hold a garage sale and ending up still using my garage as a holding spot.

I'm going to try not to put items in boxes again. I have a few more to go, but I've found things like painting supplies just drop to the bottom of a box and I end up either having to empty the entire box to find what I need (and leaving a mess again) or I go buy something I already have. I'm putting all of my garage items in pans which are only a few inches tall (like kitty litter pans) so that I can really see what's there, but it doesn't go all over the place.

We downsized from a three car garage to a two car and still get both vehicles inside, as well as the bikes, snowblower, mower, etc. I don't miss a single thing that we got rid of and know I can get more gone (like that box of paints and antifreeze!)


    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 3:20AM
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I have a row in my garage of cans of paint,stains, everything we've had left over since we moved here in 1981. I will look into discarding this stuff. Just last week I opened one can of stain because I noticed some scratches on the kitchen cabinets, it's thick and ugly looking. I will have to chuck all this stuff.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 11:01AM
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Well, good luck. That's all I can say. I need a barn. These people that live in associations and can't leave their cars out in their driveways--and no basements. Don't they have any stuff? Maybe the inside of their house is just a big garage full of 'stuff', or maybe they're super-duper organizers. I don't know.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 10:23PM
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What we've done, brass tacks, is decided we deserve to actually live in our homes, park in our garages and not be ruled by stuff.

I'll chant it again. I need a place to live my life, not store it.

We don't even try to organize stuff we don't need. We get rid of it so that we have the time and energy to organize what we do need. And what we do need usually fits quite nicely.

If I can get everything for a family of six, except the oldest DS's car in the garage, then it is do-able.

Get busy bluesbarby. I think I'll tackle a couple of those old boxes out in my garage.


    Bookmark   May 26, 2006 at 11:52PM
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When you box things, box by general type.

I have one box of "electrical" that holds outlet plates, replacement outlets, wire, etc. One box of "household plumbing" that has a spare toilet float, washers, etc. Several boxes hold painting supplies.

If I find a stray bit, it goes into the appropriate box. If I need a part, I look in the box first.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 7:32AM
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Quiltglo, we are doing the same thing. We're in the process of moving now, which is a great opportunity to do a "Clean Sweep". We'll be moving to an apt. first, then into our home once it's built. We'll be in a development with an association. I don't know if we have to pull both cars into the garage every night, but we WANT to. We've been married 11 1/2 years & haven't had a home with a garage. Needless to say, we're looking forward to it. I feel better now that I've been purging a lot of things. As DH said, it was like a weight dragging me down.

Bluesbarby, good luck! Let us know how it goes.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2006 at 10:28PM
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I read everyone's tips -and by the way they were great tips- and we did it. Everything was pulled out of the garage and put in sections on the driveway. Then we cleaned. Then we started going thru what we wanted and needed to keep. I was able to store all my kids stuff in the cabinets. Paint supplies are in one section, plumbing, mortar tools etc. I still need to make labels. The long counter is completely clean and I have my section and my DH has his with our tools within easy reach. At the end of the day we packed up all the stuff we were donating into large boxes. Luckily our Church had a St. Vincent DePauls truck scheduled for the next day. We took 2 truck loads. We still have a desk, dresser and bookcase that we're storing for my DD and a large cabinet that will go into the office when we redo that room. We moved the cabinet to the front of the garage for easy access. There's room for one car but we probably won't use it. We have one of those garages that's on the L so if you park in the gargage you have to leave the driveway clear to pull out. That would mean musical cars in the morning.
Sunday I spent shredding all the old files that we had been storing but basically we were able to complete the garage in one day. I just have to get rid of all the garbage. Next weekend we tackle the small storeroom and with a little luck we should be able to move my DD's furniture in there. Thanks again everyone!

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 12:29PM
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Well, I for one am totally impressed. I don't think DH and I could have done a joint job like that. Joint efforts tend to get us into fight mode pretty quick.

Good job.


    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 1:20PM
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