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7 Mistakes to Avoid When Organizing a Garage

What mistakes should you avoid when organizing a garage?

We all know that the garage has all the chances to be named the most cluttered room in a house. It’s easy to see why. Every item that we believe doesn’t belong in the house goes in there. The same thing applies when there’s not enough space to store something—it gets a ticket to the garage right away.

Sometimes, our garages are so cluttered that there’s no longer room for our cars. In fact, according to a recent survey, 20% of Americans said they were unable to park their cars there because of the clutter.

So, a messy garage calls for a cleaning and organizing session. While we know what to do when it comes to organizing a garage, most people don’t know what to not do. In this article, I’ve rounded up some of the most common mistakes people make when organizing their garages, so you can avoid making them too.

Let’s get started!

organizing a garage
Photo by northallertonman from Shutterstock

1. They postpone starting the job because they don’t have a full day or week to work on it

Are you guilty of it? Yes, I was too! I knew I had to do it, but organizing a garage wasn’t the type of project I was looking forward to doing. Like most people, I thought that I needed a significant amount of time to be able to make progress.

However, life is busy, and big chunks of time rarely just appear. So I decided to start plugging away bit by bit. Half an hour here. An hour there. Two hours on Saturday. The majority of the organizing in my garage was completed in shorter sessions rather than in day-long organizing marathons.

You just have to start! Even if you allocate only 20 minutes to clear out some trash, all of those shorter stints add up and can make a big difference.

2. Giving up because of not having the perfect storage tools

Organizing a garage doesn’t have to be expensive. However, we all would love for our space to look like a picture on the internet or in a magazine. And if the organizing budget is small, we feel like we don’t have the resources to make our dreams come true.

The good news is that there’s no rule that states that we have to own the absolute perfect storage tools in order to be organized. When my husband and I started organizing our garage, we weren’t ready to go out and purchase all sorts of shelving, bins, and hooks.

We didn’t let that stop us, though. We did what I call “phase 1” when organizing a garage, which is decluttering everything we could and arranging it as neatly as possible using the tools we already owned.

It wasn’t a space that would go viral on social media, but it was a huge difference compared to what our garage looked like before. I could also find what I needed more easily, and we could also park one car in there, which was definitely a win!

storage bins
Photo by The Image Party from Shutterstock

3. They buy bins or other storage tools first

If I had to choose the most fun part of organizing a garage, I wouldn’t think twice, and I’d say picking cute bins. It’s so tempting to start this project by heading to the store and buying lovely organizing containers, tools, and more.

But the thing about doing that first and getting the organizing job after is that you’ll likely end up with many bins and containers you don’t need. Oh, and there’s also the case when you find yourself running to the store again because you discover that there’s a piece you could use but don’t have.

That’s why, when organizing a garage, it’s important to go through all of your items first, discarding what you no longer need or use, and sorting the remaining stuff into categories. This way, you’ll know exactly how many containers and which shelving sizes you need. By the way, Amazon has some great deals on storage tools; have a look!

4. They keep too much stuff

Of all of the common mistakes people make when organizing a garage, this is probably the biggest one I’ve seen both myself and others make. So, here’s your reminder to stop keeping too much stuff.

Storage spaces can easily become a catch-all, and thus we tend to be more flippant about the things we throw in there because, after all, the garage is made to store all of our extra stuff.

But even though it’s a storage room, if you want it to be organized, you still need to go through the items you have there and consciously choose to keep the ones you use and love and discard the rest.

It may not be the quickest job, but it’s the best feeling when your garage is holding only the things that you actually enjoy and use, rather than being cluttered with stuff you may find useful “someday”.

Keep reading to discover other mistakes to avoid when organizing a garage!

organizing a garage
Photo by – Yuri A from Shutterstock

5. They stack bins rather than using shelves

This one isn’t really a mistake when organizing a garage, as No. 2 trumps this rule if need be. This being said, if you don’t own shelving and you’re on a tight budget that puts off buying it at the moment, stack the bins.

However, if shelving is an option, it can really transform how your storage space is organized. I used to dread going into our garage to look for a specific thing because it was inevitably buried in the bottom bin. This task always started with a sigh, then I had to unstack and move around several things to get to what I was looking for.

We decided to purchase shelves, and they really have made life much easier. It was a bit of an investment up front, but it was worth it. They are game-changers when organizing a garage, so if you have the money, I truly recommend you get shelving.

6. They don’t get rid of “discard” things quickly

Another mistake people make when organizing a garage is not getting rid of those items they no longer want or use right away. Even after they decide which things they are going to sell or donate, it can sometimes be a big job to actually get rid of them.

I personally dragged my feet on finishing the organizing project in my garage for months, simply because I wasn’t sure what the best way was to get rid of that kind of stuff.

Now I’ve changed my technique. Unless I have a really high-priced thing, I almost always give away the stuff I’ll no longer need or use. It’s much quicker than selling, with less hassle from people backing out.

It’s also a blessing to the person who gets them, which feels good for the giver too. I usually check with family and friends first, then with Facebook friends, and if I still don’t find someone who needs those items, I look for a charity that could use them.

In fact, there are tons of charities that accept donations; search on the internet to find the local ones if you have stuff to give.

If you liked our article on mistakes to avoid when organizing a garage, you may also want to read NEVER Store These 6 Things in Your Car!

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