Organizing the Garage

Our first organizing project of the year was the garage. It seemed especially appropriate after the extra special mess created by the holidays.

We started on the north side, a long piece of real estate sharing a wall with our front porch and hall. First we cleaned up the area around the double bike rack, which we decided to keep. We then cleared everything else off the wall, and hung two brackets ide by side. This allowed us to move an assortment of implements here from a dangerous corner: our snow shovel, assorted brooms, weed whacker, weed removed, and a couple of hoes and shovels. Next to that we re-mounted a hook for shopping bags, and then re-mounted our hook rack for wet coats and such. Finally, we climbed a ladder and went through everything in the ceiling-mounted storage racks, getting rid of the few things that just needed to go.

Simple! Fast! Yay!

Continuing our way around the circle, we tackled the wall that shares with the main part of the house. This is the wall that has power, so it’s where our chest freezer lives, and our tank-less water heater. First we moved the file cabinet I’d just barely managed to empty. Files I can’t convert to electrons went into a special tub, the snorkel gear went into another (longer) tub, and both moved t0 their appropriate homes. The dresser we use for holding miscellaneous stuff got emptied completely and everything sorted. Some things just got tossed (like the doohickey neither one of us recognized), some went elsewhere, and then e started making piles on the extra table. Because we’d decided that our tools were better off stored there, but didn’t know how it would all fit. When the dresser was empty, we started re-arranging things so that the freezer was now right by the door, and the dresser more towards the sink. As a last touch, we moved the dry erase board (theoretically the place we track what’s in the freezer).

After a short break for lunch, we went through the ceiling racks, and did a lot of re-arranging. That was tough but so worth it in the end. Now things were grouped logically, and we knew what was up there. (I’d been making notes all along so we could print labels later on.)

And with that we called it a day.

The next day was more difficult to finish. We started by going through the upper racks and sorting. We then did a bit of overall re-arranging so that everything had its place among the racks on all three sides of the garage. Then we went through the top of the shelves — tossing out unused pieces of a baby gate, wood for a project that will never be done, and items we just needed to get rid of via craigslist or freecycle.

With that we took a quick break, and then got down into the weeds.

First everything came out of the shelves, sorted by type: games, food, household supplies, tools, paint, keepsakes, and other. Most of the ‘other’ ended up leaving our house for good. Paint got sorted and several cans/ jars put aside for proper disposal. Games got sorted, with a bunch going away, or to other people. Food and household supplies got their own shelves, and keepsakes (in their sturdy plastic totes) went back onto the floor.  Pet food went onto a shelf, next to our emergency water supply. Paint and other went onto a shelf, and most of the tools went into to dresser, organized by type.

It took almost all day, and we were exhausted by the end.

But it looked great!

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