Garage Clean Out Part 1 | From Overwhelmed to Organized: Garage Clean Out Part 1

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Garage Clean Out Part 1

For the last few weeks I've been "watching" other people clean out and organize their garages through the pictures they've shared on their blogs.  It inspired me to tackle our garage so I'm joining the Great Garage Clean Out Challenge (a few weeks late but better late than never right?!).  This challenge was designed to be completed over the course of 4 weeks (and 4 blogs) but I'm catching up so I'll do this in 2 blogs.

First of all, let me say that our garage was LONG overdue for a major clean out.  The amount of stuff that gets dumped there or accumulates there makes this an overwhelming area so we keep putting it off.  But no more!  Last weekend my husband and I took on the challenge.  Here's a "before" picture of the whole garage:

From this view you may be thinking, "that doesn't look too bad...look at all that floor space!" BUT we have to park a van in this small garage so that's why the centre is clear.  We also moved 6-7 large Rubbermaid bins from the garage into the house a few weeks before this picture was taken so it was even more cluttered then.  Here are a few close-up shots to show each area better:

Laura from OrgJunkie has applied her PROCESS steps to this challenge so I started with step 1: Plan your project.

Here were my plans & goals for the garage:

1.  Purge as much as possible so we can better use what we want to keep in the garage.
2.  Organize things better so we don't have to move multiple things to get at an item we want (e.g. kids bikes, golf clubs, garden hose, etc.)
3.  Free up as much space on the floor on either side of the garage so that it is easier to get in and out of the van without knocking things over or tripping over them.
4.  Get most of it completed in 1 day so we can park in the garage again that night.
5.  Do not spend any money on the garage right now.

Here are a few more pictures of what we were dealing with (yes those are items stored up in our ceiling!)

The second step is Remove, then sort & purge.  People thought we were having a garage sale because we had so much out on our driveway and our lawn but we emptied everything out of the garage (except the Christmas & Camping bins on the big shelf & the empty boxes on the ceiling since they were pretty well organized and where we wanted them already).  Here are some in-progress pictures:

We grouped like items with like items in bins & boxes in the centre of the garage.  The garage looks so much bigger with everything off the shelves!

Step 3 is to Organize into piles (donate, toss, keep, relocate) and purge excess.  We've never done a good purge of this garage but it was time to be free of the clutter.  Here's a picture of our garbage pile:

It was "big garbage week" so we were able to put all this out a few days later.  About half of it was picked up by people before the garbage truck came so it didn't even end up in a landfill!  This is our donate/giveaway/freecycle pile:

I was able to freecycle almost all of this and the last few items will be dropped off at Goodwill soon.  Here's our relocate pile:

We set up our umbrella table in the backyard and moved the rest of this into the house or the backyard (the umbrella table will have to move back into the garage in the fall but I'm confident that our organizing system will still be in full swing so we'll have room for it then!).  So we were left with the bins of like items and this pile of larger items:

Once we had everything out of the garage we cleaned as best as we can.  Our concrete garage floor is deteriorating so when you try to sweep a huge dust cloud is created (which continually settles on everything).  Believe me we were disgustingly dirty while we were working on this! 

Now that everything was out we could see what we wanted to put back in and figure out the best storage solutions to meet our goals.  This brings us to the remaining steps (Containerize, Evaluate, Solve/Simplify, and Smile) but I'm going to share those in another blog post so you'll have to wait a bit to see how our garage went from overwhelmed to organized!

Click here for part 2 of my organized garage!

Happy organizing!

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