Dude, wheres my car?

If it’s not in the garage, maybe you need some decluttering help

If the memory of parking your car in the garage is a distant one, could it be that the current assemblage of gardening tools, bicycles and recycling bins is the problem?

Many older homes in Southwest Minneapolis do not have a lot of storage space, making the garage a catchall for clutter. With the right organization and some decluttering, your garage can have a whole new use, or even shelter your car once again.

Rosemary Mitlyng, owner of Clean & Organize, has been bringing order to untidy homes in Minneapolis and St. Paul since 1988. She suggests first sorting everything into piles as the best way to begin.

Mitlyng advises sorting clutter into three categories: the stuff you definitely want to keep, the things you definitely should give away and a third pile containing items that you are unsure about keeping. She also suggests cleaning and organizing on a monthly or quarterly basis to curb buildup.

Next, she says, look up. “Building up and using tall storage items such as shelving can utilize space,” Mitlyng says.

The DIY Network also suggests shelving and says to look for adjustable systems because they are good for bulky items and can evolve with your needs.

Shelving can be a safety hazard if not correctly installed, though. The website Home-garage-help.com says that shelving should be anchored to wall studs, not the dry wall.

Open shelving is ideal for frequently used items because of  accessibility and the increased likelihood that items will be put back where they belong.

For odd-shaped sporting equipment such as balls and bats, DIY Network suggests a hamper-style organizer rather than a shelf.

Chemicals can be hazardous to children and animals if not stored properly. A cabinet with doors is a great way to keep chemicals out of unwanted hands and paws. Storage totes with lids are ideal for keeping items dry and dust-free.

But organizing and cleaning up the clutter in your garage doesn’t have to mean spending an excessive amount of money. Instead, reuse things around the home for organization.

DIY Network suggests using old jars for screws, bolts and other small miscellaneous items by securing the lid of the jar to the bottom side of shelf.

Soil can be stored in an old metal garbage can rather than propping bags of soil against a wall. This will prevent bags from spilling and helps the soil retain moisture while being stored.  

You may also want to consider revamping your space into something more useful. Will it be a workshop or hobby area? A gardening area?  These kinds of questions can be helpful in deciding where things should go and what items need to be kept.

Garage Tek, makers of a garage organization and storage systems, suggests placing things within arm’s reach, meaning items that you will need for the season, such as a shovel, should be kept near the exit of the garage throughout winter.

However you decide to utilize your garage space — whether it be a place for your car, a space to work on hobbies or a gardening center — the ultimate goal is to have a safe and organized space that you can enjoy just as much as the rooms inside your home.

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