Want to Get Organized? Don’t Start in Your Garage!

Want to Get Organized? Don’t Start in Your Garage!

February 9, 2019 Off By practicalperfection

Please do not feel attacked or offended when you read this. Since I am not writing it directly to you, I will generalize. I will point out things that I have seen happen (or experienced myself) many times. If something doesn’t apply to you, just move on and find the things that are helpful in your situation.

I hear (or see, in the case of facebook) people talk about cleaning out and getting their house organized. Almost inevitably, they decide to start in the garage. I get the reasoning here: the garage is messy, most of it needs to go, it’ll be an easy place to start, right? WRONG! Starting with the garage spells defeat if you’re looking at making a long-term change.

Let me explain where I’m coming from on this.

It is reasonable to store outdoor items like bikes or shovels in the garage. It’s also reasonable to keep chemicals/fluids for the car out there. Those Christmas decorations? Yes, by all means, stick them on that top shelf. However, many of us use our garage in a way that is entirely counter-productive…

When you “clean out” in the house, you move those items into the garage. Sometimes you put them there, intending to make a donation run someday. Or, you’re saving up for a yard sale. Or, maybe you stick stuff out there because you’re not really sure you want to get rid of it and the garage is a safe way to move it out of the house and think about it, just in case you decide that you do need it after all. Out of sight, out of mind, though. Once it’s in the garage, you probably won’t move it back into your house, and you probably won’t get it to the donation center.

Not to mention that this garage clutter makes it difficult to get to the can of wall paint you need to banish your toddler’s latest mural, or to find the bedding you need for guests.

If I have described you at all, then pay attention to this next part.

Starting your home organization in the garage is a BAD idea. You’ll spend days digging through an odd conglomeration of stuff, and you will clean a lot of it out, and although your brain feels like mush, you will also feel the mental relief that comes with decluttering. Now, if you have the energy and time to move on to your living space, you will undo that accomplishment by filling the garage with things that should go straight to a donation center. All you’ve done is doubled your work, as you are now in a position to clean out that same item again, years down the road when your clutter again overwhelms you. By this time, it might not even be worth donating since storage in garage heat/cold will deteriorate many materials.

Why, oh why, are you doing this to yourself? There is another way!

Want to feel organized? Break the cycle and don’t start with your garage. Start in your house, with a small category. Your craft supplies, shoes, or linens. (If you laughed when I mistakenly called your craft supplies a “small” category, then don’t start there!) Get every item in that category out (even if you store it in different closets), decide what you’re going to keep, and send the rest to a donation center. Your garage is full, it is incapable of accommodating indecision or procrastination.

If you go through your house this way first, then move to your garage, you will actually be able to clean out your garage. Nothing in your house will rush to fill the void, it’s already on a shelf at Goodwill. You have a chance to break the habit of needing to make every decision twice and will establish the habit of getting rid if things you don’t want. Maybe you’ll even be able to park in your garage. After all, your car is worth more than all the miscellany you store there.

Need help deciding what to keep? Check out this post: http://organizeperfectly.com/a-series-of-surprising-answers/

Photo by Jack Douglass on Unsplash