A Few Questions about Organizing a Garage

Questions about reorganizing garage 051021

Recently I was asked some questions about organizing a garage by Angie’s List. I thought I’d share them with you today.

1. Do you get many requests to organize garages?

Yes. We organize any storage area of a home, including closets, pantries, file cabinets, basements and garages. Garages and basements are prime territories for long-term storage. Organized storage spaces can greatly affect how you use the living spaces in your house. By having an organized space for your long-term storage items you can eliminate the clutter from collecting in the rest of your home.

2. What are the benefits of having a clean, organized garage?

Any organized space will offer you the benefit of time savings because when everything has a home it is easier and faster to put things away and therefore easier and faster to find things when you need them again. Also, organized space can save you money, by not purchasing something you already own but can’t find.

The biggest benefit to organizing a garage is that you will be able to store your car inside. It’s probably your second largest purchase, next to your house. A good exercise is to examine the contents of your cluttered garage, evaluate the value of what you are storing in the space. Ask yourself if it is more valuable than your car.

Garages seem to collect long-forgotten items. Click To Tweet

3. What sort of organizational tasks and tools do you offer for that sort of job? (i.e. Shelving, posting items for sale, recycling, install bike racks…)

We always look vertical for more storage space by adding shelving around the perimeter of a garage. We usually suggest plastic shelving, that won’t rust or warp in the outdoor environment. Shelves are ideal for storing smaller collections of gardening equipment or car supplies.

Hanging items on the wall or from the ceiling in a garage is also a great way to take advantage of the vertical space. There are many storage tools on the market that accommodate anything from sports equipment to yard tools. We suggest a variety of items that will fit an individual client’s needs. We are an unusual professional organizing company, in that we have a team of organizers and a handyman on staff, so the job can get done with a coordinated team, in one day.

On every job, we support our clients in reusing and recycling anything that they no longer need. We assist them in posting things on the internet for sale or setting up a donation pick-up. Your trash is usually someone else’s treasure.

4. What is the most common request you get from customers who hire you to organize their garage?

A client’s main reason for organizing their garage is to finally park their car inside. I applaud this effort and it can usually be done. Garages seem to collect long-forgotten (Do you use your garage as a dumping ground?) items and after living out in the elements the stuff is no longer worth saving. Sometimes time makes it easier for clients to let go of their long-held-on-to possessions as well.

We have also been asked to create space for a workout area, woodworking shop and long-term storage in client’s garages.

5. What is the average cost of a garage organization job (a range would work)?

There are two factors in estimating how long any organizing job will take. They are how much stuff the client has and how quickly they make decisions. With an organizing team, you can accomplish a garage organizing project in one day! The cost varies with these factors, but a one-car garage would cost from $500 to $1000 and a two-car garage project would run $1000 to $2000. Well worth the price to park your 20, 30, or 40 thousand dollar car inside!

The article should appear in this month’s Angie’s List magazine. If this has motivated you to get your garage organized – this is a great time of year to do it! For expert help, give us a call.

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Janet Schiesl

Janet has been organizing since 2005. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and the owner of Basic Organization. She loves using her background as a space planner to challenge her clients to look at their space differently. She leads the team in large projects and works one-on-one with clients to help the process move quickly and comfortably. Call her crazy, but she loves to work with paper, to purge what is not needed and to create filing systems that work for each individual client. Janet is a Past President of the Washington DC Chapter of the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) and was voted 2016 Organizer of the Year by the Washington DC Chapter of NAPO.

12 Comments

  1. Sabrina Quairoli on May 10, 2021 at 8:59 am

    Great tips! My garage is storing the items for a dorm room and an apartment for my kids. I only have a one-car garage, and it is pretty narrow, so I do not have the luxury of floor space. Our bikes are hung on the wall; we have shelving that goes up to the ceiling on one side and a shoe rack system on the other side. The rest is for the kids’ stuff. We know this is not a permanent situation, so we are just keeping it as neat as possible. It’s important to determine if the items will be permanently housed in the garage or if they are temporary. You do not need to organize the temporary things.

  2. Seana Turner on May 10, 2021 at 9:24 am

    The garage is one of my favorite rooms to organize, and also one of my favorite places to begin when organizing a whole home. Not only does it free up space to park the car(s), but it also provides a large staging area for items that will be donated and hauled away. Also, there tend to be fewer sentimental items in the garage, so it provides a “soft entry” into decluttering and decision making. Finally, it is often visually rewarding in a fairly short period of time as compared to something like paperwork. Now is the perfect time of year to do this project!

  3. Linda Samuels on May 10, 2021 at 9:52 am

    I will admit that garages are my least favorite spaces to organize, but I agree that they are areas that need a lot of organizing. You make a compelling argument to invest in organizing so that your car(s) can be stored there. We have a two-car garage that has stored one car for a brief time period. But since our home is one-story without a basement or attic, the garage is our alternate storage spot for things other than the cars. Over the years, we’ve edited and organized it at times. And then something will happen- like closing up our parents’ homes and getting an influx of things. This summer, I’d love to spend some time in there again to let go of things. I know there is so much that can go, although much of it is my husband’s, and he has to be the decider of those things. I’m OK if we don’t store our cars in there. I’d just like to have less stuff.

  4. Margarita Ibbott on May 10, 2021 at 2:45 pm

    It was always amazing to me that people would rather store stuff that was relatively worthless but would keep their $30,000 car (investment) or two out on the driveway. Living in Canada, the winters can be long and snowy. There is no way, I would want to clear off all that snow just so I could keep stuff warm and cozy in the garage.

  5. Janet Schiesl on May 10, 2021 at 3:28 pm

    Sabrina. I’ve been in that situation and agree. If it is temporary, there is no need to organize it.

  6. Janet Schiesl on May 10, 2021 at 3:30 pm

    Yes Seana, we are trying to complete any garage projects before the Cicadas arrive. I’ve never thought about the garage as a soft-entry into organizing, but you are right.

  7. Janet Schiesl on May 10, 2021 at 3:32 pm

    Linda, you are the opposite of Seana. She likes organizing garages. Without other storage spaces, like a basement or attic, a garage does become the main storage area.

  8. Janet Schiesl on May 10, 2021 at 3:34 pm

    Yes, the cold or hot times of the year are when people decide to declutter their garage. When it gets to the point of pain, then folks are willing to make the hard decisions and let things go.

  9. Julie Bestry on May 10, 2021 at 5:26 pm

    I don’t have a garage (though I grew up with one), and if I ever do have one, I am sure that I’d rather have a place to keep my car protected than a place to store things I hardly ever use. (My theory is that the garage is “outside” and should be used almost solely for things that live outside (gardening equipment, lawn decorations, camping and sports paraphernalia) and maaaaayyyyyyybe seasonal things. Bugs live outside, so I don’t want anything I use inside to touch creepy-crawlies!

    All this said, I agree with Seana in that there’s less emotion tied to garage clutter, and it’s a good place to start (if it’s not too hot or cold or buggy). 😉

    Congrats on getting into the Angie’s List magazine!

    • Janet Schiesl on May 11, 2021 at 7:30 am

      I agree with you Julie. Depending on where you live the weather (heat, humidity, cold) can do a number on the things people store in their garage. Keep the outdoor items outdoors.

  10. Julie Stobbe on May 10, 2021 at 6:44 pm

    I love the question and answer format. Garages take a lot of time as they have lots of corners to “hide” things.

    • Janet Schiesl on May 11, 2021 at 7:32 am

      Yes, and they are such big spaces. You can store lots of things in them.

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