Fall is swiftly arriving, bringing with it an opportunity to assess, organize and refresh your main living and working spaces…including your garage. A well-organized garage makes it easier for you to embrace the hobbies and creative projects activities that matter to you, while a poorly designed garage can prove extremely demotivating. There’s nothing like wanting to go for a long bike ride but finding your bike tangled in boxes of Christmas supplies or wanting to garden, but not being able to find your tools and gloves!
The good news is that with some do-it-yourself determination, you can transform your garage into a functional space that empowers you to spend your time in life-giving, creative ways. With that in mind, here’s a five step plan for designing an inviting and inspiring garage space.
Step 1: Observe how your garage is actually used
It’s easy to get caught up in fancy ideas for what your garage could look like, but the most important thing is to design a garage space that actually works. This means you need to collect some data about how your garage is actually used on a daily basis. Over the span of a few days or weeks, pay attention to your garage and how your family uses it.
Your goal during the research phase is to identify the most common uses of the space, normal traffic patterns and obstacles to efficient organization. You want to avoid the frustration of an aesthetically-pleasing garage that doesn’t actually make life easier. Your new design should make it easier to access your most commonly-used items without impeding traffic or making it difficult to store items once you’re done with them. Ultimately, your garage should add ease to your life, freeing up your time to spend time on more important things than trying to fit the bike back into a rack that’s too high to reach.
Step 2: Draw a map of your ideal garage space
Now that you have a realistic understanding of how your garage is actually used in real life, the next step is to sketch a blueprint for what will go where. Don’t let the word “blueprint” intimidate you. This just needs to be a simple drawing outlining what you will store where. If you enjoy gardening more than woodworking, then maybe you need to give the garden supplies more room? If you have kids and they’re always hopping from one outdoor activity to another, then it’s probably in your interest to design a section for outdoor entertainment that makes it easy for them to pull out and put back what they want at any given moment. Using a pencil and paper or whiteboard and dry erase marker, walk through the garage brainstorming which space should go to which uses.
Tip: Don’t forget to factor in the walls and ceilings! Often overlooked, these are completely perfect options for storage.
Step 3: Identify the supplies you need to organize effectively
With a visual map of your garage in hand, it’s now time to figure out what kind of supplies you need to bring this vision to life. This part of the process may require some extra research to discover clever, affordable storage hacks or DIY versions to more expensive organizational units. The Internet can of course be helpful, but this could also be a great chance to connect with knowledgeable family members and experienced neighbors. Crowdsourcing wisdom from friends and family allows us to make these projects more collaborative and can prove delightful opportunities for deepening relationships.
The goal of this step is to get clear on what you need to build, borrow or buy and to know exactly which materials will go to which part of your organizational chart. You also want to get clear on which part of your project will need some testing and experimentation before officially making the cut. This will likely be the longest part of the process, but also has the potential to be the most rewarding!
Not sure where to start? Give us a call at 844-937-7667 and we can help!
Step 4: Detox your possessions to free up space in your garage
Once you have finalized how you will organize your garage, bought supplies and completed your DIY storage projects, it’s now time to put things where they go. But before filing up the cupboards, boxes and bins, why not take a moment to evaluate what you own and decide if it’s really needed?
Americans spend more than $24B annually on personal storage because they don’t have room to store everything they own in their homes. As you organize your garage, it’s helpful to take as much out of your garage as possible and to carefully evaluate everything that goes back in. You may find that several items you no longer need while others you can borrow from neighbors. Ultimately, this process can help you get clear on what’s important to you and your family at each season of life and to streamline your possessions to reflect those values.
#5: Organize everything in their new home
Now that the hard work of planning, research and detoxing is over, it’s time to put everything back into their new home. This step is perhaps the easiest and the most fun. Simply place your possessions in the space allocated to them. You may need to make small adjustments as you go…that’s okay! In fact, you may want to observe your garage over the next few weeks and notice any patterns about how the new design works. It’s possible you’ll need to make slight adjustments as your garage design meets…real life. Remember, we’re here to help put your vision together if you’re unable to yourself.
Ultimately, re-organizing is not just about making things neater and cleaner. It’s a chance to remember your core values as an individual or a family and to assess how well your physical spaces reflect those values. As the priorities and values of your home changes, your spaces should adapt to reflect these changes, making it easier for you to act on what’s important to you (similar to reorganizing your kitchen or living room).