Thursday, October 3, 2013

Getting Organized: Tackling the Garage

Now that we've downsized, I'm beginning to realize that the job isn't over. We have less "stuff" now, but also less space. I want to spend more time doing things and less time looking for things. So here goes...Day 1 on the road to a more zen retirement.

I decided to be bold and start with "clutter central"...the garage!

There is no way that all of this...

is going to fit in here.

Our old farmhouse had a 3-bay garage, two outdoor sheds, and a huge third floor attic. We were lucky to find a condo with a 2-car garage, but here we actually have to put the cars IN at night so space is at a premium.

The first thing I had to do was find my work gloves (see what I mean?). Once I found them, I used closet hooks from the dollar store to hang them from a shelf so I'll always know where they are.

I used tough love on myself and  gave away most of my seasonal wreathes. (In my old cluttered life, I clearly spent way too much time at Home Goods). No more tangled piles of shedding plastic greenery stuffed in every available corner. The three I kept fit on top of the garage cabinets in wreathe boxes from Target...color coded of course.

I've learned to love those ugly looking plastic-covered garage hooks...they're my grandmother's coat hooks on steroids.

I actually became a bit obsessed, collecting them in every possible shape and size and then searching through the house for things to hang on them.

A couple things I learned about garage hooks:
  • The screw end of the red ones from Walmart is short and they don't work well. I returned them  paid $.80 more each for the gray ones at Ace Hardware...those babies will last!
  • A screwdriver helps provide the torque (?) to turn the hooks into the wood when the going gets rough. (see photo below photo from DIY Network)
  • LOOK UP!!! There is tons of hidden storage space right over your head.

I liked the big hooks so much I used them on the wall by my car door to hold shopping bags.

I love these hooks from IKEA too; only $4.99 for 6. We used them in our last house to hold pool towels on the patio. Not as sturdy as the big daddy hooks from Ace Hardware but awfully cute! They'd be great for hanging pet accessories on in the garage.

And another thing that I figured saves time to put the tools away right after you finish with them (Now I do sound like my mother!). A peg rack isn't very original but it works for the screwdrivers.

We have finally finished stripping wallpaper and repainting the whole house. We're lucky that the leftover paint fits in the old kitchen cupboard the previous owner recycled for garage storage.

A few things I've learned about storing paint:
  • Clean the lip of the can before you replace the lid or you may never get the can open again.
  • Before you start painting, use a hammer and nail to pound holes in the lip of the can; while you paint, the excess will drip back into the can and not pool in the lip.
  • LABEL the paint cans when you're done. I learned this the hard way. I labeled mine with leftover painters' tape to indicate which room the paint goes in.
  • Don't paint the ceiling right after getting your hair colored.
  • Paint freezes; plan for a warmer storage spot indoors if you live in Maine. We plan to put the paint cans on the floor of the front hall coat closet in the winter. (Reason #1 saner people retire to Florida?)

No fancy storage tips here; I just like the picture.

Hank installed a scrap of wooden closet rod for our ski clothes...they don't fit in the closets indoors. (Reason #2 for the Florida ski clothes to store).

Still "looking up", we hung wire closet shelving high on the garage walls. Since I can't reach it without a step ladder, I only put things we use infrequently up the lobster pot (Reason #1 for retiring in Maine?).  The stuff we used even less frequently than that (think Tupperware deviled egg server) now has a new home...Goodwill. We don't miss it!

Did I mention labeling all containers? It definitely saves time during a project.

I got rid of TONS of candles and accessories but need to go through them again and purge a second time....a work in progress.

Another work in progress is storage for seasonal shoes and boots. Even so, our garage is feeling a bit more zen-like tonight. Hank even managed to get the car into it when he came home from tennis!
I think I'm feeling calmer already!

1 comment:

  1. These are great organizational tips, Cheryl. Hubby keeps buying cabinets to store things in which says to me have too much stuff and we're trying to hide it now! :) We re-used our old kitchen cupboards in the garage and basement for storage. They work great as they're solid plywood and the one in the basement has a melamine top for a work bench. Storing things 'up' out of sight is a great idea too. I like the idea of retiring in Maine for the lobster. :) Enjoy the day!


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