5 Steps to sorting out your garage
Sorting out the garage can seem like starting a diet – you know the results will be worth it, but the very thought of getting started just makes you break out in a cold sweat and invent any other excuse to avoid tackling the mess that hides behind that sectioned door!
But actually, it doesn’t have to be that hard. Trust me, I sort out people’s garages for a living. So don’t stress, help is here!
1. Work out what you want to do with your garage
Umm… Isn’t the garage for parking cars? Well, maybe that too! But I mean let’s face it, you probably have a warehouse worth of stuff crammed in to your garage and if your car actually still fits in, then that’s just a bonus! Or maybe you’re thinking: “I could use this space for a man cave?” Or a rumpus room? Or a gym?
Reality is, the garage is the most versatile room in the house. So start by working out what exactly your garage will be used for.
Will you park cars in the garage? How Many? Using the garage for its originally intended purpose – parking cars out of the weather, doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t use the space for anything else. There are some very clever storage systems available now that can get things off the floor, either on to the wall or hanging from the ceiling. And with some great multi-purpose flooring options now available, many people park their cars in the garage at night but remove them when they want to use the space for all manner of other purposes.
Whether you use your garage for parking or not, with good design the garage can easily be reconfigured to double as a rumpus room, workshop, kid’s craft area, or even with extra fold-away bedding for kids’ sleep overs or holiday visitors.
And of course, the real beauty of the garage, is that it can become a dedicated room to extend the home’s living capacity. A standard double garage is about 36m2, which is quite a large space. Many people elect to park their cars outside and create more square footage for the home. Who doesn’t want a man cave, rumpus or second lounge? Of course the space could be an office, an additional bedroom, or even a media room. And with the right choice of cabinetry, storage can still be seamlessly incorporated in to any of the above.
2. Work out what you’ll keep
This is the stressful part! But you know what they say – no pain to gain! And the gain can be huge. There is no better feeling than having a cull of a bunch of stuff that hasn’t seen the light of day since Keith Richards was playing ukulele in the school band!
The garage tends to be where we dump anything that doesn’t have a home anywhere else in the house. How much stuff is in your garage that is simply no longer used? And worse still, really useful items are often just not accessible because… well, “where the heck did I put them?”
Before reorganising your garage, work out what you really want to remain stored in it and what large items or furniture need to remain as part of your future garage space.
Separate everything in to what you want to keep, gift or trash. And now is the time to get ruthless! Be honest: If you haven’t used something in a year, do you really need it at all? Okay, I admit, some things we keep for sentimental value or because we believe it will be useful for “when we get that batch”. If you are going to keep things long term, make sure they are well protected, put away in something stackable and well labelled.
3. Make a plan
The standard double garage is 6x6m, or 36 square meters. If you’re lucky, you’ll have something slightly bigger to play with. Regardless, this is quite a large space to work with and you’ll be blown away by how much can actually fit in to a well-designed garage.
To save yourself from regular anxiety attacks, you want to know just where everything is and know that the rest of the family can find things without having to ask you every time! If you are using the space for multiple purposes, you want a clutter-free and great looking way to keep both stored items and regularly used toys.
Measure and draw up the garage space and try different orientations. Create zones for different purposes: Separate your sports equipment and outdoor toys from your gardening tools. If you’re going to have an area for a TV or craft table, don’t clutter the space around it with bikes, kayaks and golf clubs.
We often have things that we just can’t let go of, like kids’ drawings or trophies. Decide if you’re going to display them or protect them. And if you’re adamant that all that stuff you’ve kept for the long-desired bach must stay, put it in labelled stackable containers inside a cupboard or cabinet, so it doesn’t collect dust.
If the main purpose for the garage space is for relaxing, playing or parking a car, you’ll want the maximum amount of floor space in the middle to be kept clear. Get things off the floor, either hung from a wall, suspended from the ceiling or stored away tidily in a cabinet.
And importantly, if you are intending to park a car or two in the garage, make sure there is enough space to move around the vehicles – and enough room to open the doors!
4. Take it all out.
You could spend weeks re-organising your garage, trying to move everything around everything else, like a Chinese puzzle. But if you want to maintain your sanity, the quickest way to sort out your garage is to pick a fine day, get everything out on the driveway and then put everything back in its newly allocated spot.
It is often a good idea to hire a mobile storage unit and get everything out of the garage while cabinets are installed, especially if you’re planning on putting a floor covering down. Anything that isn’t going to be kept doesn’t make it in to the storage unit. Don’t get weak!. Put it straight in the bin or in the car to go straight to your favourite charity.
You’ll often find that you go through a second cull when you put everything back in the garage.
5. Use the space!
Out of sight out mind, right? If you’re not using a room regularly, its often not a priority to keep it ordered. And let’s face it, real estate these days costs far too much to have rooms not used to their full potential. Whether you are using the garage for storage, play or parking, please… make sure you get the most out of the space.
The garage is the most versatile room in the house, so design it well, keep it organized and above all, respect it!