Remember back in August when, after moving into our new home, I blogged about how we WOULD NEVER become “one of those families whose home looks nice on the inside as long as no one sees the festering disaster that is the garage?”
Um, yeah. That.
Check out these photos of our garage taken over the weekend:
I don’t know how it happened. Things just got… out of hand. It is our hidden shame – so much so that I wake up in the middle of the night screaming, “THE GARAGE! WE MUST CLEAN THE GARAGE!!!
But then morning comes and I’m all, “Eh, whatever, we’ll get to it.” It’s terrible. I’m sure our new neighbors just love that we park both our cars on the street. No wonder no one has brought over any baked goods.
Part of me feared our garage would stay like this forever. But then Heather, after getting Xmas-fever and turning our house into a winter wonderland, freaked out and yelled, “WHERE ARE OUR STOCKINGS?!?!”
“Uh,” I stammered as I ate potato chips on the couch. “In the garage.”
“THE GARAGE?! WHERE?!”
“That is something that will only be discovered by future generations.”
“No way, Mike. We need them now. Put down the chips…”
I tried to convince Heather we should just buy new stockings, but that didn’t fly since the ones in the garage (somewhere) were custom made or something. So, after much whining and trying to weasel my way out of it, I finally decided to put our garage in order once and for all!
Now I don’t claim to be an expert, but here are a few things I learned that might help you should you ever need to clean up your scarily over-packed garage:
1. GET RID OF TRASH/JUNK
I was shocked to see just how much of the garage’s clutter was made up of trash – old boxes, discarded bubble wrap, ripped packing papers, even an old pizza box. I cleaned up this stuff first – tossing them into trash bags – and it made a surprising difference.
One thing we often did was go into the garage and dig into boxes to find items we needed to bring inside. Do this enough though, and soon you’ll have a bleep-ton of boxes that are half full or less. I consolidated the contents of these half full boxes into full ones, and that bought me a lot of space.
3. UNPACK STUFF
This sounds sort of like a “duh” suggestion, but anything I found that we could use inside, I took the time to bring into the house and put away.
Anything we didn’t need (and probably never would), I put into Glad bags and took to Goodwill. Be honest with yourself about your stuff… do you really need it? Remember, any items that are able to sit in your garage without being missed for months on end probably aren’t exactly “essential.”
4. MARK BOXES/STACK BY GROUPS
One smart thing I did (who me?) was write a description of each box’s contents on the side. We weren’t great about doing this when we moved, and as a result we were pretty lost as to where anything was.
Also helpful was stacking the boxes by groups, so all of my stuff is now in one area, for example, and Heather’s is in another. These organizational tricks help when you need to find something, like say, your Christmas stockings.
5. FIND THE STOCKINGS
This might not be a “must do” for everyone, but it was for me since Heather wasn’t going to let me back into the house until I found them. I did, finally… at the very bottom of a box in the exact middle of the whole mess. Of course, right?
And now, for the “After” photos…. drum roll… :
We even got our cars in there! Well, one anyway. The neighbors must be sooooo pleased.