Diagnose your Garage & Cure the Clutter

Spend a few hours this weekend and get your garage whipped into shape! No? Why not? If that doesn’t seem possible, I can probably guess a few reasons. Garages are where unused things go to die. My guess is that your garage is full of things you don’t need or use. Here are the 4 most common garage diseases you can use to diagnose your problem and tips for getting better.

Four Common Garage Ailments –

Ailment #1: “This was once valuable to me, maybe it will be again”-itis
When an item is no longer desired in the house, we send it out to the garage to wait to become useful again. That pretty much never happens! It only becomes piles of clutter that make our garages dreadful places. When an item isn’t even important or useful enough for inside the house, it isn’t going to gain value in the garage. If the item could be useful to someone, consider making a donation.

Ailment #2: “One day this is going to become”-itis
We pile up things destined for a specific or even a vague future project. If this might be your problem, try counting how many future projects you have waiting for you. If the idea of counting is so overwhelming you don’t even want to, this is probably you’re problem. Set a limit of your top 5 projects, neatly store the supplies for these, and force yourself to purge the rest. While you  use up what you saved, trust me, you will find new projects and start to accumulate more. Having a project will never be a problem for you! If anything, you will have to continue to limit and purge.

Ailment #3: “All of this stuff has a place to go, I just haven’t taken it yet”-itis
You remove things from your home and think “so and so would love this” or “I’ll give this to ___”. And then you load it into a garbage bag or a box and put it out in your garage. Then it stays in that spot long enough that other stuff ends up piling on top of it and you forgot you ever meant to get rid of it. Next time you fill a box or a bag to give away, immediately load it in your car. Next time you are out, make your delivery.

Ailment #4: “I’m saving this for a garage sale”-itis
You pile up junk in your garage for a future garage sale. Set a deadline. You either have the garage sale or *donate the items. And if you do have the garage sale, commit to yourself to getting rid of the things that don’t sell.

Since we moved 8 months ago, I haven’t been able to keep the garage clear of clutter. Things kept piling up … I’d reduce and then it would quickly get out of hand again! My ailment: definitely #3 and #4. So, I decided to cure the clutter once and for all. This is my trunk full of the junk! It doesn’t even include the trash and recycling that had piled up! After the junk was gone, it was easy to organize the rest. Ahhh … it feels so good to pull into my driveway now. I know I forgot a before picture, but here is my garage now. And yes, that floor is BLUE, that is not a lighting trick.

I opted for open shelves instead of closed cabinets. I don’t mind looking at my storage, because it reminds me what I have and is very flexible for different sized items. We don’t have a ton of tools. If you do have a ton of tools, try to cut redundancy and use good tool organizers. You can see that I also like to hang my seasonal front door wreaths on the walls of my garage. Easily accessible for seasonal shifts, plus they’re decorative, right?

Just looking at the mower makes me feel itchy everywhere.

Three little bikes: looking at these just makes me happy.

Our recycling station. This also holds the “take away” basket, re-usable shopping bags, and a few what nots.


Take charge of your garage’s health!



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*Save a record of everything you donate. Staple it to your donation receipt and store with your tax paperwork. You will thank yourself come tax-time!