Two weeks I shared with you my latest home organization challenge…. my messy and cluttered garage, and my game plan for hooking up with Laura from OrgJunkie to tackle this project and turn it around in only 4 short weeks! We want all of you to join us in this adventure as part of the “Great Garage Clean-Out Challenge!” To battle our way through this organizing project, we are going to use Laura's PROCESS steps….which are:
P– Plan of attack – plan your project – which area(s) do you want to address – make a list – evaluate present system, what is working, what isn’t working, devise new system – determine budget – develop timeline
R– Remove items – empty the space completely so you can start from a clean slate – this is much more effective than just shuffling everything around. Remove then sort & purge
O– Organize into piles – donate/toss/sell/keep/relocate – sort like with like – purge excess – the more you purge the less you have to find a home. Your goal is to bring back into your space only what you love and use and can fit into the space you have available. Purge until it fits!
E-valuate plan – how is your system working for you – are you able to work your system? What needs to be modified? A good system should be easy to maintain
S- Solve/Simplify any remaining issues. Address anything that isn’t working for you – revise accordingly
S- Smile, relax and enjoy your hard work!
Steps 1 and 2: Plan of Attack and Remove Items
Last week I shared with you my first step in conquering this mess which was developing a plan of attack! Steve and I decided that we want one side of the garage to contain a workbench and all of the tools and equipment that we use to maintain our home and yard. Oh, and Steve's car! We want the other side of the garage to be the “kids side” where we will keep all of the bikes and sports equipment. And we want the upstairs area of the garage to hold all of our off-season items and things that we do not need to access on a regular basis (such as camping equipment).
And in case you are wondering…. we have a separate shed that holds our lawn mower, leaf blowers and other large stuff…. thankfully- that does not also need to fit into our garage!
But I ran into trouble with Step 2 of the PROCESS because emptying out our entire garage is just not realistic. At one point we moved all of the kids bikes and scooters outside….
But after several days of rain, coupled with the fear that someone could drive off with all of this stuff in the middle of the night, we decided we needed to pull it all back into the garage each evening. So I asked Laura from OrgJunkie if she had any suggestions for me on how to approach this project when I could not realistically empty the entire space. And she recommended that we try to gather together as much of the “junk” that we knew we were going to give away or trash… and take care of that first, which would certainly open up some “working space” for us.
Sooooo, we took her up on that suggestion! Fortunately for us, a charitable organization in our town was holding it's annual dump-pick-up-days and tag sale this past weekend. (Timing is everything people!) I had them stop by and pick up three loads(!), filling the back of their pick up truck each time with old doors, windows, rugs, glass shower doors, a bike, an old desk, and endless other odds and ends. I also removed about 4 giant bags worth of trash from the garage.
NOW we have some room to start organizing!
Step 3: Organize Into Piles
Walking into the garage with the idea of tackling the clean-out and organization of this space is just absolutely overwhelming. I can literally walk around for 10 minutes saying to myself “This is just such a mess, I don't know where to start!” So taking a tip from my own advice when it came to our basement clean-out challenge in February, I started in one corner of the room and just worked from left to right. Going through every bin, every toy, every ball as I came to it and making a decision about that one item based on the golden rule of how to decide what to keep: you must either love it, use it, need it, OR want it… AND you must have room for it.
I actually started with the 14 bins of kids toys and equipment… dumped out each bin and evaluated each item. I then filled up bins according to categories of what the items were- water toys, sand toys, footballs, baseball gloves, baseballs, and on and on. Chances are you won't need a separate bin for each of these items- but when you have six kids- you have a lot of each kind of item!
After I completed the bins, I decided to move to the upstairs area of the garage. Now that it has been emptied of some of the larger items we'd been holding onto- it is easier for me to start in one corner and work my way around the room…. deciding for each item that I touched whether or not to keep it, donate it, trash it, or relocate it.
The upstairs area is still a work in progress, but as I was doing this, I decided that this will be the area that I am going to tackle completely first. Decluttering, then containerizing, then organizing. Because I believe that as I am doing this, I am going to decide that a fair amount of things currently being housed on the ground floor of the garage really belong in storage up here. So if I can get this area ready and move things into it, it will make tackling the ground floor area much easier!
Problem: The Garage Is Definitely a Shared Space!
The tricky part of tackling a garage project is that this space ,more than nearly any other in the home, is most-often the domain of the men in our lives…. (meaning: it's where the husbands keep all of their junk!). Fortunately for me, my husband is completely on-board with this garage clean-out project. In fact, up to this point, he has put in far more hours than I have into this project! He is using it as an opportunity to build the workbench that he has always wanted (you can see it starting to take shape in the back), and he is going through all of his”stuff”…. scrap pieces of wood, odds and ends, brackets and tools, and things he has collected and hung onto over the years that he is saving “to use in a project someday”.
But my question for Laura this week is…. many people (ourselves included) keep items in the garage that relate to home maintenance- the mostly-empty paint cans from our house exterior and trim (in case we need to do a touch-up or as a color reference for when we want to re-paint), or left-over scraps of hardwood from when we installed the floors, etc. But do we need to save all of these things? What is really worthwhile to keep? (And how we do convince our husbands of this?)
So let's DO THIS thing together!
Here's a button for you to put onto your blog and announce to the world that you are ready to take the “Great Garage Clean-Out Challenge”!
And if you are taking the challenge- it's time to link up your blog post here (this Linky is shared on both this site as well as OrgJunkie's) and show us how you did this past week with your own game plan! We're all here to support one another!
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