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Time to tackle that messy garage

It’s that time of the year again. Leaves are changing colors, it’s getting colder, and we know that before long the snow will fall. Well, before it falls, there is something we all need to do. We need to get our garages ready for the winter. What exactly does that mean?

The stuff we have in our garage that we can’t park our very expensive vehicles in needs to be dealt with. According to NAPO, 50% of homeowners say their garage is the most disorganized place in their home. It is said that 25% of homeowners with garages cannot get a vehicle in their garage because of all their stuff. Even if we can get our vehicle in, it is still a good time before it gets too cold to stash summer “toys” and get winter “toys” ready.

Here are my insider’s (professional organizer’s) tips to cleaning out your garage so that your vehicle fits in it:

1) Take everything out of the garage. If you aren’t going to have time in one day to complete the project, take out a section at a time so that you will be able to deal with all that you take out.

2) Now put it in several piles: To go back in the garage to use, to put in the garbage, to donate, to store somewhere else.

3) Decide on each thing until everything is looked through. Do not leave the area to put anything away.

4) Now put back what you are going to use. Deal with the rest of your piles before you quit for the day.

5) Hopefully, you will now have space for your vehicle and be able to find everything you are looking for.

Think of the health benefits of not slipping and sliding to your vehicle every winter day with the possibilities of falling and getting a concussion or breaking a bone. That is real, not something to be taken lightly. How valuable is all the stuff in your garage that is not allowing you to put your vehicle inside?

Another reason to put your vehicle inside is to save it from deteriorating. It sits out in the summer with the sun beating down on it. Not only is this not the best thing for it, but it is sometimes too hot to get inside. In the winter, scraping the ice and snow off it is no small task. Sometimes we don’t do as good a job as we should and it can make it difficult to drive safely with our windows only partly scraped off.

One job that stands out to me as a professional organizer was when one of my sons happened to be home with nothing special to do. I asked if he would like to assist me on a garage clean out and he readily agreed. We worked many hours with the homeowner in their two-car garage and I was very thankful to have my son to carry out and put back all of the heavy equipment. When we were finished, it looked like a different space! I’m sure it was a life-changing transformation for the family. Not only could they get a vehicle in, but they could find tools and things that were “lost” before.

Your garage should be a place to store outdoor items, but it seems like your vehicle could be the most important outdoor thing you own and should be stored appropriately. Keep that snow off of your vehicle starting this winter! You will be so thankful you did on that first snow fall! Get ready for winter now!

Doris Puls, of D & O Decluttering and Organizing, is a professional organizer whose mission is to make a difference in the lives of the people she works with in homes and businesses. Contact her at organizealpena@gmail.com or at 989-356-9545.