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If you can find it! Part One

Have you ever asked dad for a hammer and the response has been “sure, if you can find it!” “Didn’t you get me one last year?”

Garages tend to become a dumping ground for just about everything. Because they are big open spaces, they're easy targets for that suitcase that won't fit in the closet, the rollerblades your daughter doesn't want to throw away yet, the sewing machine you need to give back to your neighbour, and anything else that doesn't have a set place. And how often do you (or more likely, can you) actually park your car in it!
How often is your garage facing the road but you are too embarrassed to leave the door up?
If you are brave and have a free weekend with absolutely nothing to do and the family are going to be able to help, consider tackling the whole project and moving straight to step two, otherwise start at step one.

1. Get it under control - FIFTEEN minutes a day.
For 15 minutes a day, set a timer and grab two rubbish bags. During the 10 minutes, fill one bag with recyclables or things that need to go in the trash, like broken toys. Fill the other bag with things you want to donate. If you and another person do this for a week, you'll have 14 bags of trash/recyclables and 14 bags for charity at the end of the week.

2. The big stuff - Deciding what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away.
When you find yourself questioning a particular item, ask yourself:
Do I love it?
Do I need it?
When was the last time I used this?
If I donated it, could it be safely used by another person?

There are also items that have been stored there for some time that, if we are to be honest with ourselves, are really just "I might need/want it someday" items. Clearing out clutter is incredibly satisfying, and chances are you won't really miss that fifth spare tennis racket. When in doubt, donate or toss it. Recycle as much as possible, and be sure to dispose of paint and other hazardous waste safely.

3. Now reorganise; try taking everything out of your garage.
Looking at the space you have as a blank canvas can give you a better idea of what you're working with. Working with a clean slate can help you decide which areas are best to designate for certain activities or groups of items. Such as gardening tools being by the back door of the garage so they're easy to get out. Hammers, nails and saws being by the workbench, if you're lucky enough to have one.


Vertical Space and Ceilings

4. Use as much vertical and ceiling space as possible. Getting as much up off the floor should be the priority. When your garage becomes like so many others; a place to store every possible bit of clutter. Pick up some holders from the hardware store for brooms, rakes, mops — anything with a handle. Heavy-duty hooks can take care of a multitude of items such as power cords, baskets, chairs, garden shoes and even bikes.

Open-wire shelving for the back of the garage actually ends up discouraging organization. Everyone usually shove things onto the shelves, until they became a mishmash of random belongings. Consider using some simple closed cabinets and allocate each one to storing like items; gardening, camping, building, travel bags.

If your garage is used as the main entry to your home a neat and tidy shoe and coat rack encourages children to place their own clothes in the right place and makes it easy when searching for that much-loved pair of pink Velcro sneakers.

Storage on the ceiling and walls saves room for larger items, and things that are used on a daily basis. Have a look at these simple storage items made of PVC piping, part 2 will be coming soon with more storage ideas.