Friday, June 15, 2018

Reclaiming Your Garage for Your Car

       The garage can be a versatile space, but it’s primary purpose is really to house a car. While it is tempting to use the garage as storage by filling it up with boxes and tools, storing a vehicle in a garage is always worth it.  Garages protect your cars from the elements and theft, but they also provide for easier transportation and keep vehicles at a more comfortable temperature.  Yes, there might be a lot of junk and miscellaneous items in the way but imagine being able to pull your vehicle into the garage again!  Many people keep items in the garage and use it as an all-purpose storage area but cleaning it out can help you get rid of unnecessary items while giving your vehicle the space it needs!

       Before beginning a garage clean out, make sure you know what it is you are trying to accomplish.  Envision the clear space to park the car or store lawn equipment.  Whatever your intentions are for the space, make it concrete in your mind so that you are driven to fulfill your goal. Once you know what you want to do, prepare with the right tools.  Put on some work clothes, grab working gloves, and get ready to move and go through all the things you might have been storing in the garage over the years. The key to success is separating the items into specific piles based on what you want to do with them. Trash, recycle, keep, and store are the largest categories, but you can also make up your own based on the things you have. In a garage, you might have categories such as tools, sports equipment, and lawn care items.  Making these categories and deciding where things go, and if you still need them, is critical.  The biggest barrier to cleaning up a space is making those decisions. We often see potential value in items that we may not ever use and decided to keep them, taking up space and occupying our minds.  A good rule to guide you is to get rid of anything that you haven’t thought about in the past 6 months as well as anything that you won’t think about in the next 6 months after remembering you have it.   If you must ponder whether you need or want an item, set it aside and come back to it later. Ideally, this process will help you have “getting rid of piles” that are larger than your “keep” piles!

       When you’ve finally cleared out the space, make sure to do any needed cleaning and maintenance work.  Take the opportunity to sweep the garage, vacuum, or wash the floor.  This way, even if the garage turns back into a storage area, it will be clean and keep any items from getting dirty.  Then, once the garage is clean and able to be used once more, don’t simply store items randomly around your car. Instead, place items into specific areas that they fit well into where you can find them easily. Motor oil should go near car wash soap, which should be separated from grass seed, for example.  Labelling each of the boxes or containers so you know exactly what’s inside them makes for quick item retrievals and maintains organization.  Similarly, outlining tools on the wall for work benches with tape or marker can be useful in keeping things organized and identifying what is out of place.

       When you’re finally done cleaning, make sure you periodically sweep the area to look for anything out of place and avoid haphazardly putting items in the garage.  Every once in a while, you want to go around the area and clean up and cobwebs or dead insects to keep your items in your newly organized garage clean!  Continuing to keep up with cleaning and reevaluating items you haven’t used in a long time will help you to keep your garage clean and your car in its proper place!

Written by Joe Dumais.

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