Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Organize Your Garage

Source: Flickr: Matt Howry
Drive down any street in America and keep an eye out for homes with the garage doors open. You might find one or two per block, on a warm summer evening, in a good part of town.

Now, without being creepy, peak into the garage, and tell me what you see.  Furniture, holiday decorations, boxes of old clothes, aging sports equipment, enough canned food to feed a small country.

Count how many cars are sitting on the street because the garage was taken up with stuff. Garages were built to house our cars but somehow they became America's favorite storage facility. As if packing out a 2400 square foot house wan't enough space, the garage is seen as n extra 200 feet of prime real estate.

Why Do People Pack Out Their Garages? 

It's starts with a small compromise and a pile in the corner of something you think you will need later on in life.  Then a few extra boxes later, dumping stuff in the garage doesn't feel so bad. There is nothing more dangerous than the "I'll do it later" pile.

Apathy may be one cause, but fear seems to be the primal issue.  We love to keep things we don't need out of fear that we will need them again.  We are fearful of regret or that we won't be able to afford a replacement if we end up needing it.

Help! My Stuff is Taking Over My Garage 

Maybe you're reading this and you're thinking that your garage is starting to look like this.  Well, I'm here to help!

First, read How to Emotionally Detach From Items.  Once you've identified that your clutter is an emotional attachment, you can begin to fix the ways you think about your stuff.

Here are some questions to ask yourself: 

Can my stuff be used by someone else?

Would having money in the bank be more beneficial than owning this stuff?

If I haven't used an item in 5 years, realistically will I ever use it again?

Would I feel less mentally cluttered if cleaning the garage wasn't on my perpetual to do list?

Is the mental stress of these items worth their replacement value?

Start Small 

Going through a whole garage is a lot of work, probably too much work for one weekend.  Pace yourself.  Go one box at a time.

Make it a goal to get everything off of the floor and up onto a shelf. Shelving kits are cheap and can help you organize things like tools, paint cans, cleaning supplies, and sporting goods.

Sell your unneeded items on ebay, have a garage sale, or donate them to charity.

It's a lot of work, but wouldn't it all be worth it to come home to this everyday?

Clean Garage
A clean garage
Source: Flickr: Dave Nakayama 

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