Over and over. This time...and I say this every time...but I mean it this time...is the last time. I swear. The last time we will ever let it get this bad.
Since I purged our home a couple years ago the inside stays relatively picked up and organized. When you have less stuff it's so much easier to do that (sometimes I stray from that for reasons I explained in the post earlier this week).
And most of the time our garage isn't too bad. We let stuff pile up on the work bench, but nothing too awful. I don't even know what it was this time -- I started putting stuff out there to sell/donate and just never got to it. And then the pile grew and grew...you know how it is right? What's one more thing when it's already a mess? Yep. Did that. A lot.
So I'll show you the worst part in a minute, but let's start with the area that took the least time to organize. I shared how to make this SUPER inexpensive work bench years ago and I still love it. We are totally guilty of unloading stuff onto it though. It catches everything from our cars.
Here's how it looked up till three days ago:
When I'm working on a project it doesn't get this bad, but it's been awhile since I've had to use my saw for any length of time. So stuff piled up. You know what's funny? I set my timer for 20 minutes (it's what I do when I'm overwhelmed with messes) and I had the whole thing cleared off in that amount of time. That includes putting things back where they belong any everything.
I find so often that we make it waaaay worse in our heads, right? It wasn't that bad! Now I did spend more time vacuuming the bench and getting the floor cleaned up, but getting it cleared off wasn't that bad at all.
This next area I just finished up this morning. (I'm saving the worst for last.) 😉
This is where we keep all of the lawn stuff and it wasn't quite as bad as it's been in the past:
I know that rug is gross, but it actually serves a purpose. It's an old outdoor rug and I laid it down in here to spray paint on. Now I don't have to worry about the floors getting paint on them. And we just pull in right over it. It's ugly but it's staying for right now. Someday I'd LOVE to do a nice new epoxy floor in here.
So before I show you the after photos, here's what the other side of the garage looked like till just two days ago:
Let's take a closer look, shall we? Or not? Do you still like me? 😂
So many issues here. Mostly laziness...that's the big one. But what's funny is we still both parked in the garage all this time. It cracks me up because we would pile this crap to the ceiling but we are adamant that we be able to park in the garage. Priorities people:
See those balls piled up in the back there? We've used this for years and I thought it would be such a great idea:
We also put outdoor toys in it. I thought I was pretty smart using this thing but it doesn't work great, at least it didn't for us. Stuff piled up in there and when you wanted something from the bottom you had to dig everything else out. Everything got buried. I do think it would be great for laundry sorting though! I'll show you our solution in a bit.
So here we go with the afters! Decluttering everything took no time at all -- because of the Konmari book I am now able to make pretty quick decisions on what to keep and not. Things I waffle on go and I feel immediate satisfaction when they're out of my hair. When in doubt, LET IT GO. Turn away and slam the door. ;)
Here's a reminder of the work bench before:
And here it is now:
So one thing we had done in the garage years back was to have built in storage installed up high and from floor to ceiling. We have two long upper shelves like this one above the work bench and the garage door:
We had this all put in when we finished our basement and needed to get holiday storage out of there. I knew we could take better advantage of the height of our garage (it's probably 12 feet tall). These have been MAJOR life savers and they weren't that expensive at all -- they're made with plywood and 2x4s.
Here's the side of the garage again as a reminder:
And here it is now. This was mostly just putting things back where they belong. I got rid of a couple brooms but that's about it:
I wish we had painted the garage before we moved in 13 years ago. I think it makes SUCH a big difference in a garage but there's no way we're dealing with that now. The thought of taking all this stuff down gives me the shakes.
And the piece de resistance...the bump out area before:
And now, after a couple trips to Goodwill and some cleaning:
I told you most of that stuff was going anyway, so why we let it just pile up I have no idea.
We gave away most of what was over there. One biggie was the fridge -- we just didn't use it like we thought we would. I plan to add a smaller fridge in here for water and drinks for the kids when the play outside. We have one in the basement we're going to bring up, so no money spent.
Did I mention I didn't spend a dime to organize all of this? I love it. We already had the new ball rack, but it had been sitting in the box for at least a year. The white Container Store caddy used to hold Legos in the basement (back when I thought I could keep them organized by color, hahahahahaha). I was going to get rid of it but realized it would be great for the smaller balls, water guns and tools. It holds a TON of stuff. I may move it over by the work bench to see if it fits there.
Here is another area of floor to ceiling storage we had built:
I put the small shelves up years ago for odd and ends and I built the hanging wood storage back then too. It's great for long piece that used to take over the floor space.
I still struggle with getting rid of extra trim and wood...I'm SO much better than I used to be. But so often I'll just need one piece and am thankful I keep the longer scraps. (I only keep leftovers longer than four feet now.)
So remember the storage above the work bench? Well for at least four years now we've been getting up on ladders and risking our lives twice a year to get our 12 foot Christmas tree down from there and putting it back up. It scared me so much that I thought of a new solution this year. And it was one of those DUH moments when I realized we should have done this from the start. We put the lightweight bins up there that are MUCH easier to get down, and used the space where they used to sit on another built in to put the tree:
We don't have most of it in bags because it is GINORMOUS and there aren't even bags that it fits in. Being down lower now we may have to shake it out a little bit to get any dust off each year, but this works eons better than what we were doing before. We don't have to risk our lives to get it down anymore and that's a good thing. :)
Here's a side view of that storage -- I left a little bit open at the end so I could keep a trash can there. I've realized having that near my car helps me keep the car much cleaner:
Some of you who have read this blog for years may remember my black garage door project:
That door gets beat up and it's held up pretty darn well. It's needs a new coat of paint someday, but that's low on the list.
So there you go, our worst area, organized. Have I mentioned I'm not letting this happen again? Probably once or 20 times. But this time I mean it. Hold me to it! Feel free to rake me over the coals in two years if I share another post like this. :)
Do you keep a clean and organized garage or do you let it go like we have? Do you always park in the garage no matter what too?
Here are a few items that have helped in our garage organization over the years, in case you are interested (affiliate links for your convenience):
- We use these garage hooks all over the place -- you just screw them into a stud and they'll hold heavy duty stuff with ease. (I use them for everything from lawn equipment to tools to kid stuff.)
- This is our ball storage rack but with three shelves instead of four.
- This hardware organizer is very similar to ours (on the work bench) and these are a life saver!! I shared my love of that here.
- If you don't have a lot of extra space in your garage these ceiling bike holders are awesome, especially for off seasons. You hoist them up and they stay up until you want them back down again.
- That contraption hanging above the work bench is a garage heater. My Dad got it for me years ago and I LOVE it. It's great when I work out here in the colder months.