Garages were invented so that the home owner could park their car or cars in their garage. Unfortunately, more than 75% of households park their car in the driveway or on the street instead of in their garage.
Why is that?
Because the garage has become a great black hole, a huge dumping ground for all things we don’t want to deal with now. So instead of using the garage for the car, the garage has become a burial ground for STUFF, and generally, a fire hazard.
Many homes we have decluttered and organized over the years had basements and garages cluttered up to the max. The home owners have been delighted when they could finally see their walls and floors, and oh yeah, park their car in the garage.
Admittedly it’s an overwhelming job to clear up. Especially if you are putting your house up for sale.
How to declutter the Black Hole is a process.
The actual junk that is no longer used needs to be sorted from the sentimental clutter and the “I wondered where that ended up” clutter. Rule number one: if it hasn’t been used in a year, out it goes. If it can be donated, great! One person’s junk is another person’s treasure. If not, dispose of it.
The sentimental clutter is a result of memories over the years, of someone who has passed on, or achievements or hobbies that no longer fit your lifestyle. This needs to be addressed and sorted through. Sentimental clutter doesn’t deserve to be in a box at the bottom of the pile. It needs a special place in your actual home where it can be admired. Some has to go. The rest, keep and cherish.
The “I wonder where that ended up” clutter is usually good useful stuff that should be neatly sorted in bins or on shelves on the wall of the garage. Paint, tools, garden supplies, etc. You’d be surprised how many times you didn’t feel like putting the item away and you just chucked it into the garage. You have to train yourself to use it and put it away where it is supposed to go.
After the clutter has been decluttered it’s time to start organizing. You need to buy bins, shelving and whatever else will help you keep things straight. Zones need to be established for the adults and the kids. Toys and games need to go where kids can reach them and put them away. Christmas items need to go into bins that are labeled. Establish a rule of say 10 bins of Christmas or holiday decorations. If they go beyond 10 bins, something needs to go.
Zones create order. Order establishes an organized life. An organized life creates less stress. Life is good.
The garage floor, well, a simple rule is just keep stuff off the floor. Use shelving, pegboard, bins, cabinets. Whatever it takes. But keep things off the floor.
Now you can park your car in the garage. And put your home up for sale. Just make sure the rest of the house is decluttered and in order. Overwhelmed? We can help.
Maureen McCullough has been organizing and decluttering homes and apartments throughout Bergen and Morris County New Jersey and Rockland County New York since 2009. She is also a Certified Home Staging and Redesign Expert.
She combines this expertise with her real estate business to help home buyers and sellers throughout Northern New Jersey.
She is a licensed real estate agent and Realtor® with Blueline Realty Group in Hackensack New Jersey.