If families have time for just one major home clean-up project it should be to reclaim the garage. The unstructured space tends to be a “catch-all” for every member of the family. People should think of the garage as “prime real estate” for additional storage. They need to “think outside the toolbox” and make the garage a storage powerhouse. It is important to remember, that organizing a garage is like organizing ANY other room of the house.

First, it is necessary to make a total commitment and get the entire family to join in the process. Once the commitment is made the next steps are to:

Clean out and declutter – get rid of anything that is no longer used, needed or functioning. Be ruthless!

Sort and group by category or activity – lawn and garden, pantry, sporting equipment, tools, work-out area and EVEN a place for your car!

Think outside the “box” - find the necessary tools to get organized (containers, shelving, etc.) Never buy until you know exactly what you need. Be creative about storage possibilities – go up (the walls) and go over (the doorways); using every inch of wall and ceiling space. Remember: even though the garage will be functional, it can still be stylish!
You can make spring cleaning easier and go faster as long as you:

• Don’t get overwhelmed by the “big picture.” Define each area you want to organize and tackle them one at a time.

• Schedule regular weekly “appointments” on your calendar that work for the entire family. For example, if you are organizing your garage, plan to spend one or two hours per “appointment” until the job is complete. Plan something fun for the entire family as a reward for a job well done!

• Set firm, but flexible deadlines. Even if you don’t accomplish all that you had originally planned, celebrate what you have and keep moving forward.

• Remove distractions so you can focus – it will make the job go more quickly. Perhaps a babysitter or simply turning on the answering machine may do the trick.

• Act like your moving to a new home – set aside the things you REALLY love and use and see what’s left – can you live without it in your “new space?”

• Remember that organizing is a not a quick fix but rather an on-going process – one shelf today, an entire closet tomorrow!

The “secret” to staying organized year-round is having an effective “system” in place. Create a system, however, that work for you. Rule of thumb would be to have enough structure to be able to find anything within three minutes. More importantly, decide what your priorities are and then organize just enough to bring calm and order into your life. It’s not about being perfect, it’s about being organized. This should be whatever that means to you.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Corbo and Bernadette Flaim are Certified Interior Redesign Specialists and Professional Organizers as well as Accredited Home Staging Professionals™.

Their Leonia, NJ-based business, Attention2Detail, provides quality interior redesign, professional organizing and Real Estate Staging® solutions for homes and businesses throughout the metropolitan area.

They are members of the International Association of Home Staging® Professionals; the National Association of Professional Organizers, IRIS and the New Jersey Association of Women Business Owners.