Garage organizing plan of attack

Garage organizing plan of attack

My garage has become a dumping ground and now I can’t find the things I really need.

The garage feels overwhelming to me at this point.

Can you please help us get our garage organized?

Summer is garage organizing season. Get Organized Already has the best team in town, but maybe you don’t live in our town! Or maybe your family needs a project to do together. Going through the memorabilia in a garage is actually really fun; an opportunity ripe for family bonding.
Whatever the case, here are some basic steps to organize your storage space.
Timing:
Set aside twice as much time as you think it will take. Then add on an hour the following day to take all the donations and e-waste away. Also use that time to call for heavy pick-up or to list sale items on Craig’s List.
Before you start:
Think about what you want the garage or room to be used for. Give it a purpose in your mind or set a goal such as, “We want the camping gear to be easy to access.” This small intention will help you more than you might think.
Designate a big space in the yard or driveway where you will sort the stuff into categories.
Gather trash bins and trash bags for donations.
Don’t buy bins or boxes until you see what you need them for.
protip: Never buy organizing supplies until after you purge. Treat shopping as the reward for purging if that works for you. 95% of the time, you will be able to get by with supplies you already have.
 W garage L before 2
Everything out and purge:
Start in one corner of your space and move systematically around the room.
Put things into general categories (kids, memorabilia, tools, etc) in the yard/driveway as you go. When our team does a garage we make exceptions for large items or areas which are already well organized. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Just leave those things where they are and move on.
protip: Label the piles on the ground to keep everyone on the same page. If the piles are labeled (with blue painters’ tape or 3×5 cards) you can say thing like,

Put that wagon in the for sale section.

instead of having to walk over to the for sale section and point it out to people who are helping you. This small luxury of being able to point instead of walk will add up over the day.
protip: When a donation bag gets full, put it straight into your car.
Scheduling with Friends:
Trick 1-2 organized friends into coming over to “hang out” that day. Then take them out to a delicious lunch at break time.
Start early in the morning and take a break after about 3 hours. You’ll know it’s time to break when you start picking up the same 4 objects repeatedly and your eyes start to glaze over.
Break and re-group:
It’s time for lunch! Determine if you need plastic bins, shelves, hooks or other storage solutions. Make a list that includes measurements and even pictures of where the items will go. Take lunch and go buy only what you need. If you don’t need to go to the store, donate what’s in your car on your way to lunch. Getting away from the project is important for an all-day extravaganza like a garage.
Power through:
This part goes faster, so pump yourself up to get everything back in your space.
Put the categories back together with least used things in the back and popular stuff up front.
Label all containers that aren’t obvious. For spaces with multiple users, label the shelf as well so people know where to put things back when they are done. GENIUS.
Done-zo
Get yourself a treat. You did it!
Take an after photo and send it to me.
W garage L after 2

Spanx vs the Lapband: what’s your clutter situation?

Did you ever consider losing clutter to be analogous to losing weight? It is! And though everyone is unique, in Get Organized Already’s professional organizing adventures three different situations show up over and over.

Which of the following weight loss scenarios best describes you? Check out my pro tips to help you get organized no matter what the size of your clutter is.
nonni w basket

Tummy tuck anyone?

Sometimes when we walk in the door with our cute aprons and our magic organizing basket, people want to have a complete overhaul. Their house, or just a room, is too packed to be usable anymore. If this sounds familiar, you are probably too overwhelmed to know where to start.

Pro tip: Start with a trash bag, a lined donation bin, and a box for any papers you find. Start in one corner of the room and set a timer. Touch everything only once, put each item in the appropriate container, and work until the timer goes off. That’s less daunting than tackling the whole room, right? In situations like this, our professional team will spend a few hours getting your room, or home, back to a manageable state. The momentum will keep you moving forward on your own or with people who love you.

Staying in shape

My personal organizing style is livable and comfortable. I know where everything is, but the beds may not be made. (Shocking, I know! But this is real life we are living—not a movie.) As long as the people in my home know where stuff lives, we can all navigate around each other and not spend our time searching for our things (and yelling, “HAVE YOU SEEN IT?” across the house). This scenario is for those who need a maintenance plan to keep their home organized.

Pro tip: Let all users of items know where things belong using labels. (It doesn’t have to be fancy. A sticky note or painter’s tape works just fine inside cabinets, drawers, and pantries.)

People generally flip out about this comfortable style of organizing because they have fallen victim to thinking that organized means rigid and perfect. Newsflash: perfection is not possible! A comfortable style of organizing suits most people because it is realistic and less expensive (as in no fancy labels or matching containers to buy). And works a lot better than what about 56 percent of you have going on right now: the dreaded PicMonkey Collagewe-don’t-have-a-system approach.

Ready for the college reunion

At the far end of the organizing continuum lie the Martha Stewart and Howard Hughes personalities of the world. Get Organized Already can help you, too! I have two lovely ladies on my organizing team with extensive backgrounds in interior design. They are amazing at creating the types of rooms you see in magazines. Whenever someone calls and I can tell they want to take their home to the next level (think Better Homes and Gardens or Apartment Therapy), I send out my Label Ladies.

I love to be in these places: fresh flowers and herbs in the entryway, a calendar printed in chalkboard paint and framed in a custom frame. Open the drawers and angels sing. The labels whisper beautiful phrases like, “fresh nutmeg” and “organic basmati rice.”

I’m not kidding. It is very peaceful and if I could, I’d have a Get Organized Already organizer over here every day to keep my shizzle looking like that in a heartbeat!

Pro tip: Getting organized isn’t a one time event. It has to happen regularly.

Everyone has their comfort level. Whatever your state of comfort or chaos, there’s a way to stay organized. And my team can help you accomplish your vision of the just-right organized home for less than you spend on two trips to Whole Foods. True story.

Garage as recycle bin: Organizing in Altadena

Claiming my blog with Bloglovin

Basically I’m writing about this garage because the before and after photo is so amazing. (At least I’m honest.)

Garage Organizing Magic!

Garage Organizing Magic!

Lovely Altadena is home to  this hybrid-driving client who was pretty excited about the idea of parking in her garage. Ms. I <3 the Environment hates to throw boxes in the trash. She prefers to take them to the recycling center at Caltech. But (you know where this story is going) the pile of boxes waiting to be driven to Caltech grew and grew until it made the whole garage into an un-usable hut of bedlam and chest-high clutter!

Doesn’t this sound familiar? Seems like everyone does this with their garage. What are using your garage to hold until you get around to it: clothes to donate? things to give to your sister/mother/nephew? items to be repaired?

How we did it: Making room for a car in this garage required 2 trips to Goodwill, 3 trips to the recycling station and sending 1 old couch to the dump. After that, the Get Organized Already team organized and labeled until everything was easy to recognize and easy to reach.

Go Team!
Go Team!

Garage Organizing: Take it Outside!

Garage Dream TeamI think I’ll always remember 2013 as the year of the great-garage-organizing-push. Holy moly! My team and I have done 14 this year and it’s just now February! I’ll bet you are thinking to yourself, Good gravy, Nonnahs! I don’t even want to organize one garage. Why would you do 14 in a month? To which all the strong ladies at Get Organized Already would answer one of these things:

  1. it’s fun for me
  2. baby needs new shoes
  3. garages are like a treasure hunt!
  4. it’s so much better than data entry
  5. the look on the people’s faces when we are done is worth every dust booger
  6. I’m thankful to be strong enough to do this work
  7. I’ll do anything for Nonnahs because she is the best boss ever

Let me show you our most visually impressive clear out of the year–SO FAR.

Joyce likes to find cool pieces to go in her beautiful Craftsman house and fix them up. For years, she kept putting furniture into her garage she thought she would refurbish one day.
things to refurbish can't work in here!

But, her garage got so full that she realized she couldn’t use the garage as a work studio if it was too full to walk around in there!

So, she called Get Organized Already to help her. We showed up and helped her to make some decisions about what she wanted to keep. Then, we took a couple trips to the local Goodwill with my little SUV packed to the gils!

One load full

We took some paints and building materials to the Habitat for Humanity Restore and in 3 hours (THREE HOURS ARE YOU KIDDING?!) her garage looked like this.

Bam!

Before

Before

After!

After!