Last week, Trav and I decided that there was no way we could both work. We work together, which is fabulous because we are a great team, so typically we travel together very often. But this week, it was just not happening. We were coming off of vacation, and we had sooooo many loose ends we needed to tie up with ourselves and our clients, and the house was a disaster. It was also a light week, work-wise, so Travis made the trip alone, and I happily made myself many, many lists, and started organizing like a crazy person.
I’ll have several posts about organizing (one of my favorite all-time things to do- what? you don’t love organizing and labeling things? huh.) but this time I’ll start with the garage. I totally forgot to take a before picture (womp womp), but here’s the after.
Before this little foray into the organization world, there wasn’t room to set anything on any of those shelves- now there’s an entire shelf empty.
I grabbed a $2 picture album from Big Lots, a pack of index cards, a stick of Elmer’s glue, a sharpie, and 5 new tubs for this project.
I took the little picture album and cut each picture slot completely out of the album, so it was still able to slide notecards in (without them falling out), but it was detached completely from the binding. I cut enough out to put one on every tub we had, then I took my glue stick and rubbed a quarter sized amount of glue on each corner of one side of the photo holder. Then I stuck it onto the tub and pressed it down. I was a little nervous that the heat would melt the glue so I took a lunch break to make sure it would all hold. I had no issues during the heat of the day, so I pressed on.
Next I started sorting items laying around the garage into my 5 bins. Your “stuff” pile will be different I’m sure, but ours was something like “Small Tools,” “Big Tools,” “Extension Cords/Bungie Cords/Straps,” “Tech Items,” etc. We already had some bins that were still functioning, so some of this cleaning adventure was as simple as putting an item back where it belonged. Annoyingly enough, we also had several bags of trash that was just laying around. That is a huge pet peeve of mine.
Once I had all of the
crap miscellaneous items sorted into a bin, I grabbed my Sharpie and a notecard and made some notes. The notecards can hold any information you’re willing to write, a blanket “Tool Tub” might work, or you may need to list specifically what’s in a tub, ie: mom’s china, fall decorations, christmas lights are in your “Decorations Tub.” In our case I used wide-ranging labels like “Tech Items” for anything we use at work, choosing not to get too microscopic on my list. Before I slid the notecard into the photo holder, I noted the month and year in the lower right hand corner, so I’d know the last time I sorted everything.
Here’s a close up of the bottom tubs, which I mostly left open since nothing is dust or bug sensitive and we’ll frequently use the things inside.
The left is “Large Tools- Drills, Drivers, Etc.” The small purple tub is “Small Tools.” Next is “Extension Cords and Straps.” Then we have some home improvement stuff before we get to the “Home Improvement” tub. That home improvement “stuff” sitting on the floor is a gagillion cans of paint and some tile grout. I took a few minutes to write notes on the top of each paint can as to the location of use. So each can says, “master bedroom,” or “hallway.” So now if I need to do a touch up I can easily locate the paint without having to pull each can out to see the label on the side.
The great thing about using the photo holders and notecards is they are super easy to change out. I left a Sharpie in the garage so if we add to a tub or take away from one, we can note it and move on to bigger things.
So it’s really that simple. Do small things at a time. Make lots of labels so you don’t get frustrated at yourself later on (especially around the holidays, when you’re pulling lots of decorations out of the garage).
Go slow and steady and if you don’t use something or you’re rediscovering it after years of storage, throw it away or donate it. Don’t keep paying for it by allowing it to take up valuable space in your home! It’s not worth it. I made a trip to a thrift store and got rid of a ton of old plates/cups/silverware and linens. There are so many people in the world who are doing without, it’s good for you and them to get rid of some of the clutter.