Garage – Noun – a building or indoor area for parking or storing motor vehicles
Is it really?
A US Department of Energy study shows that 25 percent of people with 2 car garages do not park cars in the garage while 32 percent only have room for 1 car in the garage. The average garage size has almost doubled, and we have seen a 60 percent increase in three car garages over the last decade. Yet this increase in space has not significantly changed the number of people who can house their cars in the garage.
Unfortunately many homeowners see the garage primarily as a storage space for other things. They keep their valuable car outside in the harsh elements while they give this protected space to things like old lamps, rusted paint cans, old yearbooks and broken lawnmowers.
What to do?
Sort through – The garage often becomes an inefficient dumping spot for miscellaneous items that lack a specified home or are not returned to their right place. It can serve well as a place to store out of season things or auto-related items, but these should not fill a whole garage. Go through what you are storing in the garage to see if the items really should have a place in your garage.
Purge the things that don’t belong – Most of the things we put in the garage are not important otherwise they would be kept in our houses where we can use them. As you sort, ask yourself if each item there is something you really need? If not, let it go! Keep in mind the value of protecting your car, one of your largest investments, versus dusty, forgotten, seldom used items.
Assign the things you will keep to a specific place – Start by setting up areas of the garage for your various activities and their related items. Designate your zones based on where those particular items are used. All sporting gear should go in an area of the garage close to where they are used while all the car accessories should be in another. Once you have established a specific area for each category, you will never have to think about where to find something or where to return it. You will know its location!
Contain and group related items together – Containers are great tools if used well. Bins, buckets, and boxes help keep like things grouped together and give them a specific place to be. Always wait to choose your containers until you know exactly the kind and quantity of the items that will be going into a specific container. Labels are also essential and make locating and replacing an item a snap. Remember that sturdy shelving and storage supported from the ceiling are great tools for holding items in a garage.
Every day you need to work at keeping it organized – Once your garage is organized, it should be very easy to maintain but it won’t happen by itself. Don’t let things get out of control and then spend hours trying to re-tame your garage. Take a minute each time you use something in your garage to put the item back where it belongs and to see if there is anything there that you no longer need. Remember that your needs and activities change over time, so the contents of your garage will need to be adjusted to meet those needs.
Start now, while the weather is nice, to turn your garage back into what it was meant to be – a safe and useable storage area for your valuable vehicle.
*Adapted from Julie Morgenstern © 2022 Beth Giles