Here at Moxie Space, we love a springtime garage refresh! With the weather warming up, it’s the perfect time to focus on this prime storage space.

Many people overlook their garages when it comes to getting organized, but that’s a big mistake.

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A garage can be such a key part of your home’s ecosystem because it offers space to store items you may not have room for or want inside your house – like tools, backstock, and holiday décor.

Organizing a garage can be a daunting task, however. We hear from so many people who have tried and tried again to get organized, only to feel totally overwhelmed and stop. As professional organizers, we’ve organized plenty of messy garages, so we’ve got the scoop on the right ways – AND the wrong ways – to do it.

5 Pitfalls of Garage Organization

If you’re ready to organize your garage, here are 5 major pitfalls to avoid:

Pitfall #1: Not Decluttering First

Have you been using your garage as a dumping ground for a while? It could probably use a good declutter. Skipping this step means you’ll be organizing and storing stuff you don’t want or need, which is a waste of time, money, and space.

This is the point where most people get overwhelmed, so be sure to give yourself plenty of time to review your stuff (or break this task up into smaller chunks – set a timer if you need to!).

Sort your items into broad categories (think: tools, holiday décor, lawn care, etc.), and get rid of any trash or recyclable items right away. Create a pile for donation or giveaway – your local Goodwill or Buy Nothing group can be great resources! And if you run across items you might want to sell, just consider the effort vs. the return you’ll get.

We like to recommend the path of least resistance (local junk hauler, anyone?). Remember, the goal is to get unwanted stuff out and not let it linger or create a lot of extra work for you, which can be another barrier to completing the job.

Pitfall #2: Not Creating Zones

Storing lots of different types of items together in one place can cause confusion and make the space difficult to maintain.

Zoning is a strategy we use often when organizing to help create structure and clarity. All this means is you should designate “zones” for large categories and keep like with like.

Some of the common zones we create in garages are:

  • “Backstock Zone” for household overflow, like paper towels, toilet paper, cleaning products, and other shelf-stable home goods
  • “Décor Zone” for holiday or seasonal decorations
  • “Utility Zone” for tools and home repair items

Once you’ve decluttered and sorted your things, you’ll have a better idea of which zones to create in your space!

Pitfall #3: Not Taking Advantage of Vertical Space

Is all your stuff just sitting in piles on the floor of your garage? Then you’re missing a big opportunity for major storage!

Garages typically offer tons of vertical space, which is great for shelving, cabinets, workbenches – you name it. The beautiful thing is you can customize your storage solutions for your own needs and budget. Some of our favorite options are:

Need to really maximize your space? Just look up! Overhead ceiling racks are a good solution if you’re short on wall space and have more to store.

Pitfall #4: Using the Wrong Storage Products

Take note: cardboard boxes are great for moving, not for long-term storage.

The storage products you use in your garage should be sturdy, durable, and tailored to your items. We always recommend hard plastic storage bins with latching lids over cardboard – they last much longer, don’t attract pests, and will better protect your belongings. Open plastic bins – like these multipurpose bins or these stackable utility bins – are great for storing items you want to contain but need quick access to.

Be sure to consider the size and weight of your storage bins, too. Bins should stack on shelving without hanging too far over the edges. And, you want your items to fit comfortably inside bins but not get too heavy to lift and move.

Pitfall #5: Not Labeling Your Bins

Can we even call ourselves professional organizers if we don’t tell you to label everything?!

Labeling really is the final touch to organizing any space, especially the garage. Even if you have the best memory on the planet, save yourself the brain space and label your bins so that you and everyone in your household can quickly know what’s stored where – AND know exactly where to put things back.

Get fancy with a labelmaker (the Moxie Space team uses this one) or use strips of masking tape and a Sharpie. You can be as broad or as specific as you want with your labels – just use them!

Ready to declutter and get organized in your garage? Moxie Space can help! Book a free phone consultation today to get started.

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