Friday, May 4, 2012

Saying Yes to the Great Garage Clean-Out Challenge!!

So when I received this current post from I'm an Organizing Junkie about a new challenge to clear out & organize the garage, I just had to take her up on the offer. Because we move so much, our garage NEVER looks the same. We have lived with carports, tiny one car garages, a double garage and now, fortunately, a 2 and a half car garage. The current size is super, but we still don't really have a fine tuned organizational plan for it. I have to say that our holiday decoration storage improved drastically over the last 6 months, but it can still use some work. I'd love to have a simple system that can be set up in any garage/storage area we have in the future whether it gets bigger (doubt it seriously) or smaller (extremely likely). We have space for our van and motorcycle, but it is still super unorganized and not user friendly.

If you look super closely, you can see some masking tape on the ground to mark a parking spot for the kids' four wheelers. Unfortunately, when the van is parked in the garage, it is virtually impossible for my kiddos to get them out without any help. We also have random toys on a couple of shelves that need sorting. Some are "to grow into" toys and others are outdoor toys. The problem with the outdoor toys is that we don't REALLY want the neighborhood kids searching through the stash. It is too far into the garage for them not to get distracted by other finds.

The back of the garage has shelving for extra food/drinks, toilet paper, paper towels, etc. and then some kitchen "dishes." The air hockey table is typically cleared off, but not all the time. It does have decent space on either side to play, but it is a bit crowded on the right sometimes. The train table that is lying on its side needs a new home, but has fallen to one of my problems: "sell or give away?"

Along the back wall we have our little, extra freezer too. Fortunately, we have been able to keep the top clear, but our recycle boxes and garage trash can are right in front of it.

Along the right wall are shelving units that are kind of categorized, but still a mess. We have bike stuff, motorcycle stuff, gardening stuff, and give away/sell stuff. Some of it is that I still need to purge some more. One benefit of moving with the military is forcing yourself to purge before and after each move. We are still trying to figure out if keeping original boxes is a good thing or not.  I am getting better about sorting our things, but there always seems to be more I can live without. Of course when kids get older, it adds a whole other dimension to keep up with what we keep.

 My mantra is to put things "like with like." Check out this shelving unit that has way too many EMPTY storage containers!!! Yes, there is a random box on the bottom shelf that actually has construction paper in it, but it is misplaced, of course. I see/buy cute baskets, find better solutions and swap out what I have, etc. but I can not seem to get rid of the extras because WHAT IF!!

This is the 1/2 part of the garage that is extra. It is a great "corner" in the back of the garage with a door to the backyard that is blocked 98% of the time. Again, I tried to group things. We have a shelf of toys/games kids need to "grow into," a rack to hold motorcycle jackets & gear, a rack to hold my winter coats/sweaters (I need to box them up), and decorations, and tools, and etc.

Here are the boxes of seasonal decorations. Although I wish they were all see through (too expensive to do that now), I have used masking tape and a Sharpie to label most of what is inside the boxes. There are random bags of blankets, crafts projects to work on and random coolers that need to be somewhere else, so there is more room to better organize the holiday boxes.

Here is my lovely door to the back yard. See that red lawn mower? It is placed near the door which is great, but so is a lot of other stuff. We have a small bouncy house that is near being an outgrown toy, umbrellas, rain boots, a trunk with camping gear, a cute, pink desk chair that has no room in this particular house, a Christmas tree and an edger.

On the left of this corner is a great set of shelves that was unloaded into when we moved in, and it needs help. Overall this bottom part is okay, but I'd still love to purge a little.

The TOP part of the great shelving is a nightmare. Try getting a suitcase down without toppling yourself.  I truly believe we have too many. There are even suitcases within suitcases, but no labels to help remind me of what/where we have them. We also have fan boxes from when we installed them upon moving into this house. Why are we keeping those boxes again?

Okay, so week one of the Garage Clean Out is posting before pictures. I got that down. Hopefully I can accomplish the next steps. Check back in as I tackle the next steps of her process. Join us if you'd like, as well!!!
In general her process is from this I'm an Organizing Junkie post and pasted below.

PROCESS is defined as a series of actions used to produce something or reach a goal.


That is what we want to do when organizing.  Having a series of actions to follow will help you create a clutter free space with a system designed specifically for your needs that is easy to maintain.
Here are the PROCESS steps:
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
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
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. Ask yourself some declutter questions.  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!
Containerize – find storage solutions – containers establish limits and boundaries – designate a spacefor items being kept – consolidate where possible
Evaluate 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
Solve/Simplify any remaining issues. Address anything that isn’t working for you – revise accordingly
Smile, relax and enjoy your hard work!

Have a great weekend! I'll be purging a bit before I find out what I have to do next. Eeeeek!

PS: If you are seeing this after the Challenge, here are the

Other Garage Challenge Posts:


  1. You have some awesome organizing tools to work with, like the shelves and empty storage baskets and such. I will enjoy seeing your progress. I'm very excited about this challenge too!!


    1. Good luck to us all! I hope I can figure out a good way to use all/most of my containers, so a shelf is not dedicated to them. :-)


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