Many homes across America have a dirty (literally) secret: their storage spaces. Whether you store items in your garage, in your storage room, or both, I’m betting it could use a little attention. During the second-to-last week of The Less Mess Challenge, we’ll be doing just that: Decluttering and Organizing the Garage and Storage Room.

Week 9 of The Less Mess Challenge has us decluttering and organizing the garage and storage room.
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Don’t be overwhelmed by these spaces. It is unnecessary to tackle them all at once. Don’t feel you need to purchase thousands of dollars’ worth of bins and shelves in order to make a difference. You don’t. All you need to do is start.

Garages & Storage Rooms

Garages and storage rooms are one of those places where people put items and then literally never think about them again. Even if you use your spaces frequently, a coat or umbrella will get hung on a hook and left there for the rest of time to collect dust.

During this challenge, take a deep hard look at your storage spaces and *see* everything you can. Take full minutes and inspect corners of your garage that you usually just look right past. I’m betting there’s a lot you can let go of. Once you see what you’ve got, you’ll realize just how much there is that you don’t need. Then you can do something about it.

Sorting items into zones is helpful for organizing and for finding items when you need them.
Creating Zones is a great way to organize your garage.

Look through items bit by bit. Set a 30-minute timer a few times a week if you need to. Take baby steps.

Consider letting go of all those old projects you always meant to get to but somehow never did. Anything that’s got dry-rot, balls that don’t stay inflated, old crumbling pool toys, shoes that have definitely seen better days. Let them all go. You won’t miss them.

While you’re in the space, look at the walls—could they be used more effectively? Try adding some shelves or hooks to help get items up off the floor and onto the walls. Shop your house and use what you have—one of my favorite storage solutions in my garage comprises hand-me-down shelves and bins from my old classroom. It doesn’t have to be expensive; it just has to be functional.

Garage Organization doesn't have to be expensive — this system is all hand-me-downs.
Organize all the kids’ stuff in one place using easy to clean systems.

Organizing the Garage from the Top to the Bottom has a TON more details on storage options and inspiration.

If You Only Have 30 Minutes: Quick Declutter

  • Clear any obvious garbage.
  • Look around for items that have “homes” and put them back where they go
  • Clear the floor as much as possible—often items in the garage have a space on a shelf, but no one has put it back.
  • Quickly look for 10 items that can be donated and put them in a box to donate—drop them off at Goodwill or schedule a donation pick up TODAY.
  • Look at any items on existing hooks. Can anything go?

Using appropriately sized bins for items helps use garage space wisely.

If You Have an Hour: Declutter & Surface Clean

  • All tasks above, plus…
  • If you have existing shelves, straighten them up.
  • If you have existing bins, grab a few you know you haven’t used in a while and look through them. Dispose of any items you no longer need.
  • If you don’t have any shelves, grab one of these from Home Depot and put it together — it only takes a few minutes and makes an immense difference
  • Sweep or blow out or vacuum the garage or storage room floor.

Use hooks in the garage to get items off the floor.

If You Have a Few Hours: Declutter, Deep Clean & Organize

  • All tasks above, plus…
  • Remove items from shelves and wipe the items and the shelves down.
  • Look through existing bins. Consider adding bins for like items if you don’t have any.
  • Place items you use most often in the easiest to reach places, especially if they are items for kids.
  • Sort items into zones on shelves and throughout the space (sports, beach, holiday, tools, lawn and garden, etc.).
  • If you have any lockers, toolboxes, or other storage cases, look through them and clean them out.
  • Add labels to anything that needs a label.
  • Remove as much as possible from the floor. Purchase hooks if necessary.
  • Actually donate the items you need to donate!

Hooks are perfect for garage organization

Enjoying Your Garage and Storage Room

Now that you’ve got a neat and tidy garage, use it to enrich your life. Park your car in it and never scrape ice off your windshield again. Create a home gym and get a workout in. Make a space for your furniture refinishing hobby.

Your home needs to work for you, not just store your items. Get your garage in tip top shape and USE IT!

Next Up: Children’s Bedrooms

Last Week: The Office

Return to the Less Mess Challenge

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