I can always tell when my organizational systems are breaking down when I start to see piles anywhere in the house. The garage is no exception. It’s an easy place to store items when someone is coming over, or I don’t know exactly what to do with with that pile yet, or even as a reminder to take it with me the next time I’m out. For that reason alone, our garage can very easily become cluttered if I don’t create organizational zones to fit the growing and changing seasonal and daily needs of our household.
I live in an area with extreme winter and summer conditions, so we use the garage primarily to park our cars and keep them safe from the elements. When we were house hunting, being able to park our cars in a garage was very high on our priority list. We are fortunate enough to also have space for seasonal outdoor decorations, paint, irrigation, and gardening supplies. I’ll share those areas in a future post.
In my professional organizing days, I learned that about 60% of Americans cannot park their cars in their own garages due to clutter. So, if you don’t currently have room in your garage to park one or more of your vehicles, you certainly aren’t alone. Fortunately, the majority of situations I encountered, households suffered from a lack of a good organizational system, and not due to having “too much stuff”.
The piles that were threatening to take over were as follows: a pile of water bottles (empty and full), water softener pellet bags, a mix of recycling that our city no longer accepts, tool kits, and sporting goods. I took stock of the available wall space that wasn’t being utilized and got to work creating new zones for everything.
This is not a sponsored post, all items were purchased with my own money.
I found a Water Jug Rack to store the half dozen water bottles we have at any given time, and then stored the water softener bags upright and next to the jugs. While it probably makes sense to store the water softener pellet bags in the utility room, the bags get removed from my car by me, and placed in the garage until my husband moves them downstairs to fill the water softener. Sometimes, even when an organizational plan makes more sense, it’s good to have a plan for the reality of the way you live your life as well.
Then I created a sports zone. I ordered this Golf Organizer to store the golfing bag and softball equipment bag. They used to rest on a hook, but it was high off the ground and difficult to put up, so both bags spent more time on the floor, and more often than not, in the horizontal position attempting to trip someone. The organizer has space for shoes and I also commandeered a shelf for the bike pump and lock. We kept the elfa sport bag to keep various sports balls. There’s a velcro seam up the side making it really easy to access items inside.
Over the last year, our city changed our recycling programs, and it was becoming necessary to have a recycling zone. To start, our city began offering glass recycling but on a monthly basis, and on a Tuesday (not our normal trash/recycling day). Because of this, we keep the glass recycling bin with the rest of the recycling misfits instead of with the other bins that go in and out weekly. The other change was limiting what the recycling center would accept, so I purchased recycling bins for plastic containers and bags that I can take to Target so they will still be recycled. I also purchased a larger recycling bin for electronic recycling (Best Buys accept those) and a smaller bin inside of that for battery recycling (most Pep Boys or Auto Zones will take batteries).
I got XL Multipurpose Bins for all the reusable grocery bags that we have. I used to keep them in the kitchen, because that seemed to make the most sense (and was what we did at the condo). However, I was much less likely to remember the bags when I would go shopping with them being out of sight out of mind. I tried keeping them in my car for a while, but then if I took the other car, they would get left behind. Keeping the bags by the cars makes the most sense so that the bags get used.
I also created a shelf for the frequently used tool kits. I have a space in another part of the garage for ALL of the tools. However, that is the furthest point from the door into the house. Many times, once we were done with the tool kit, we would just leave it right outside the door of the garage instead of trekking all the way across the garage to put the tool kit back. I know that sounds really lazy and silly, but 99% of organizing is finding systems that will work and you’ll stick to – as a whole family.
Everything else that was already being stored still has space – which were heavy duty cleaning supplies, the handcart, shop vac, push broom, and the multi-use extension pole. And I have a little room left over for any changes in the future. So until the next nomadic clutter piles start to form, this is the organized garage wall.