Five steps for a clean and organized garage

Did you know that there’s a day dedicated solely to cleaning your garage? National Clean Your Garage Day takes place on the first Saturday after Labor Day every year, but it’s not too soon to get a jump on the mess. If there’s no room to park your car in the garage, it might be time for a good old fashioned throw and stow.

1. Declutter

Cleaning your garage takes a whole lot of elbow grease and some serious determination. Set aside at a full day, or even a weekend to get the job done. Get friends and family to pitch in to make the job both quick and entertaining.

Go through absolutely everything – boxes, bags and storage tubs – all of it! Sort items into three categories: keep, donate and toss. Sort the keepers into broad categories to be stored later. Anything you wish to donate should be taken where it needs to go as soon as possible. Don’t let it sit around and clutter things up!

garage12. Contain

Once you have your belongings sorted, you’ll need to contain them. Stackable clear-plastic bins with lids are your best option for larger items. Clear jars, painted soup cans or even kitchen food canisters are all handy for sorting hardware and small items.

Keep your kids’ toys contained in a safe corner of the garage away from any potential dangers (sharp tools, flammable liquids, chemicals, etc.) Make sure they are easily accessible and labeled with large print and graphics so little ones know what items belong to them.

3. Store

The best thing you can do to keep your garage clean is to store items off the floor whenever possible. You’ll free up room for your car and avoid large areas of clutter.

The garage ceiling is the perfect spot for hanging long, flat items you don’t use every day, such as ladders, lumber, skis and snowboards. Be sure to check clearance when hanging shelves from the ceiling so as not to interfere with your garage door’s operation or scrape the roof of your car.garage2

Pegboards are a great way to keep things off the floor. They are easy to install, can be cut to size, and painted to match your garage decor. They also keep things visible; you can draw the outline of the tools on the pegboard to easily tell at a glance if one is missing.

Use tool racks to keep garden tools, brooms and mops out from underfoot.

4. Secure

Chemicals are a common household danger for children and pets. Keep pesticides, paints, antifreeze, and other chemical substances in their original containers and in a locked cabinet. Teach kids what is and is not safe to touch and consider getting a sheet of Mr. Yuk stickers to warn children of poisons.


5. Maintain

Rain, leaves, bugs and dirt will find their way inside your garage if the doors aren’t sealed well.

John Morris of Gold Label Door explains, “Weather seals keep the weather out. This keeps the garage clean and dry.”

If the bottom of your garage door doesn’t sit flush with the floor, create a snug fit by attaching a rubberized threshold seal where the door lands to save some cleanup time.garage5

To keep seasonal insects at bay, use a pesticide perimeter treatment to stop them before they get it.

As for general maintenance:

  • Keep a bag of kitty litter for absorbing oil and grease spills.
  • Sweep and hose down the floor regularly.
  • Go through your belongings and donate or toss what you don’t need at least once a year.
  • Cleaning out your garage may seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of help and a touch of organization, you’ll find yourself parking your car where it belongs before you know it.

Liz Greene hails from the beautiful city of trees, Boise, Idaho. She’s a lover of all things geek and is happiest when cuddling with her dogs and catching up on the latest Marvel movies. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene.

President’s Day Plans…Get Organized!

With a three-day weekend upon us, and the weather being unsuitable for outdoor play anyway, why not use this extra time to do a quick organizing job on those few hot spots around the house? Here is a list of the biggest clutter-complaint-filled areas of the home and some quick-fix organizing products to put to work for you this weekend!

Complaint: Entryway and Coat Closet Clutter.
Hi Lo Five Hook Coat Rack
Solution: An over the Door Hook Rack or Pocket Organizer, like the Hi Lo Five Hook Coat Rack, which staggers hooks high and low for space efficiency. Great for jackets, backpacks, purses and dog leashes. Also a big helper in the kids room. Read more

Organization on Ice

FreezerWhen it comes to making food last, I’ve long been a fan of the freezer. Whether it’s bread or pasta sauce, freezing food can be a great way to make sure you always have certain items on hand. Frozen sliced bread simply has to be toasted to be ready to make a sandwich, and hard cheese is actually easier to grate when frozen. For those little cans of tomato paste that you’re never able to use up all at once, I like to put individual spoonfuls in a plastic bag and freeze them so I have the exact amount I need ready to go next time I have a recipe that calls for it. It’s also nice to have frozen vegetables around, like peas or broccoli, to make any meal healthier.

What this has meant for my freezer though is that it is always a disorganized mess of bags and containers falling out every time I open it. It was time to get my freezer organized, but first I had to find the right storage. Read more

Ending the Battle with the Bathroom Sink

Personal Organizer with DrawersIt would seem like having a lot of counter space in your bathroom would be a good thing. You say to yourself, a pedestal sink is so pretty but it is so much more sensible to have a counter. Until the day you don’t have a counter anymore because it has been overtaken!

It all starts out feeling harmless. A soap dispenser, a toothbrush holder, maybe a jar with cotton swabs. You congratulate yourself because you hung the hairdryer on the wall. But then the lotions and potions, your husband’s aftershave, a candle, and a few hair products arrive. Read more

Spring, Spring, Go Away… I Haven’t Tackled the Garage!

Garage Gator PlatformFor those of us who live in Southern California, spring may as well be here already. But I haven’t forgotten that most people around the world are still dealing with harsh winter climate. Believe it or not, I’m a little envious of those who are. I love winter and see it as a time to turn your energies inward and tackle the indoor projects. I really don’t want to be lured outside by the sunshine and warmth; I’m actually longing for a cold, rainy day where I can put on some records and organize my photo boxes.

So if I were to write to you about gardening or decorating your patio, I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to hear about it. Read more

Bedroom Clutter Solutions

Nocce Bedroom CollectionThe bedroom seems to be the last place we ever think to organize, but let’s face it, we all have clutter, even in the bedroom. Yet this is the last thing you see before you go to sleep at night and the first thing you see when you wake up in the morning, so clutter in the bedroom is a recipe for a big headache for many of us.

Here are some real solutions on where to find more storage in the bedroom for a more calming, relaxing environment:

  • Storage Benches and Trunks Read more
  • For the Bathroom Short on Storage

    Pedestal SinkI love the look of a pedestal sink in the bathroom. We have a powder room downstairs with one. The only problem is that while pretty, these sinks are lacking (or, to be more accurate, 100% useless) when it comes to storage. Since it’s just a quick-stop restroom, we don’t need makeup, medicine or hair products in there, but we do need to keep extra toilet paper and towels handy. And there are tools to consider as well (plunger, toilet brush).

    Here are some simple solutions to add storage to your bathroom while still keeping the look fresh and tidy:
    Read more

    4 Weeks to an Organized Home: Week 4 – Conquer Those Cabinets!

    4 Weeks to an Organized HomeCabinets are an ongoing battle for most of us, and I’m going to risk alienation on an organizing blog by saying: maybe that’s not such a bad thing. So go ahead and prepare yourself for a yearly visit into the depths of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets. It’s a good exercise anyway because you can pull older canned goods forward so they don’t expire, and the same goes for medicines and toiletries in the bathroom. Plus you can dust and check for signs of mildew or pests while you are in there.

    So grab a damp cloth, a recycle bin, and join me in this last step on our journey to an organized home.

      Here’s what works in cabinets:

    Read more

    4 Weeks to an Organized Home: Week 3 – Closet Mania!

    organize the closetFear not my friends, closets are easier than you think to organize. They have something going for them that you might not have thought of: they don’t have to be pretty. When you are organizing any other area of the home, you have to consider aesthetics, but with the closet, not so much. This allows you to search high and low for unused storage space and to make use of inexpensive storage items (plastic). Read more

    4 Weeks to an Organized Home: Week 2 – The Office

    Week 2 - The OfficeMake your office work for YOU. Another major source of headaches in the home, the office can be a place of calm function, but more often than not, it is the center of the perfect storm of the entire house. It’s important to remember that 90% of what is bothering you is the actual desk TOP, because, well, it looks messy! If you can keep that desktop free of clutter, you are well on your way to making peace with your office space.

      Now, a list of what really works in the office:

    Read more

    January – Get Organized Month

    Get Organized in 4 WeeksI suspect that even before January was officially named “Get Organized Month”, it already was the de facto month of choice for organizing, simply due to the fact that it is the New Year with resolutions of organization topping many a person’s list. But in celebration of the official Get Organized Month, we are offering a 4 week plan to an organized home. Mind you, this is not a cleaning list, but an organizing guide. Read more

    DIY Cedar Closet… A Saturday Project

    cedar closet DIY projectHappy New Year! In true clutter-control-freak style, I spent the weekend before the New Year cleaning out my bedroom closet. And at the same time, I decided to install cedar planks because I’ve always wanted a cedar closet. Nothing drives me crazy faster than pulling out a quality dress or sweater that I’ve “invested in” and finding moth holes in it, and cedar helps immensely with that as a natural insect-repellent. Installing a cedar closet is easier than you think.

    It is a great beginner’s 1-day DIY project. Read more

    The Piles Stop Here!

    piles!Say it with me, no more piles! I get so burned out on those crazy piles of bills, letters, junk mail, kids school signup sheets, magazines and, well, you know the rest. Where do these papers pile up in your home? For me, somehow it is always on the kitchen counter, which drives me bananas.

    There are many ways to deal with this issue, yet it always seems to come back to one simple home storage tool: the mail organizer. And there are so many out there to choose from. Where to start? First, figure out where you need it most. Read more

    The Land of No Dishwashers – Part One

    Bamboo Dish DrainerAs a life-long renter, I have lived in A LOT of different apartments, in law units, lofts, duplexes, houses, you name it. I have also lived in many cities up and down the west coast, and even in Nevada. My most recent move was to Los Angeles about two years ago. Before I go any further, I want to assure you that my intent here is not to complain about LA or the people who live here – I’m just sharing some observations. Read more

    Summer Clothes Storage – It’s That Time of Year

    Fall and summer clothes storageI don’t know about you, but I am so glad that this record-hot summer is has finally winded to a close. Okay, sure the weather is nice and the living’s easy – but honestly, is the weather really that nice? And is the living really that easy? With 100 degree temperatures and kids all over the house, it is nice to see a return to moderate climates and kid’s with backpacks lining up for the bus.

    Well now we can finally “chill-out” because summer has ended, the kids are back at school, the MLB pennant race is heating up and our favorite football teams are back in action. And I do mean “chill out” quite literally – better get used to brisk evenings and chilly mornings! It’s time to ditch those board-shorts, maxi-dresses and tank-tops and get ready to stay warm. Read more

    Fifty Ways To Leave Your Clutter: Part Three

    Fifty Ways To Leave Your Clutter: Part ThreeHere are Part One or Part Two, in case you missed them.

    ~~ Just Give It Away, Ray ~~
    Here you won’t get a tax deduction, but you’ll have the satisfaction of helping someone and expecting nothing in return. Plus good things will come back to you. Here’s a poem quoted by Joe Vitale in The Greatest Money-Making Secret in History:
    A man there was, and they called him mad, The more he gave, the more he had. Read more

    Fifty Ways To Leave Your Clutter: Part One

    Fifty Ways To Leave Your Clutter: Part OneTime to date myself here – Do you remember the 1975 Paul Simon hit, 50 Ways to Leave Your Lover? Well, Rita has come up with a clever de-clutter version: Fifty Ways To Leave Your Clutter!

    Here are the first 10 – Check back in the weeks ahead for more!

    ~~ Take Time To Decide, Clyde ~~
    The first step in leaving your clutter, before you even touch one things, is:
    1. Decide where you’re stuff is going to, whether you want to donate it or sell it; how and where you will do that. Read more

    Everyone Needs a File Cabinet

    file cabinetIn my last post I wrote about how moms need desks. Now I’m imploring moms, dads, students, seniors, space aliens–anyone who will listen…


    When a prospective client tells me of their paper challenges, one of the first questions I ask is, “Do you own a file cabinet?”

    They often reply…

    “File cabinets are really ugly.”
    “I have a plastic one that broke.”
    “File cabinets are just expensive boxes.”

    These statements bring a tear to my eye. Read more

    Trash Bags: They’re Not Just For Garbage…

    colored trash bagsPlease join me in welcoming our newest “Freak” – Stacey Murray!

    My organizing supply tote is filled with bags of all shapes and sizes. But, when I go to a client’s home, I make sure my tote bag is filled with one specific type of bag: trash bags. Trash bags are the workhorse of a Professional Organizer’s supply stash. Read more

    Baby Steps to De-Cluttering Your Office

    office organization suppliesIt happens to everybody: one day you look around your office and you wonder, “How did this get so disorganized?”

    An untidy office and a messy desk can make you feel overwhelmed. It can even make you feel insecure about yourself because you’ll wonder how you can get back on top of the clutter.

    First of all, don’t beat yourself up, and start taking small steps to get organized. Don’t feel compelled to clean it all in one go, after all – your desk didn’t get messy in one hour, so it will take time to get it de-cluttered and organized. Make a plan to get back on track, and start thinking about what office organization supplies you’ll need. Read more

    Paper Piles Driving you Nuts?

    mail pilesDon’t let those piles get you down! One of the most frequent requests we get are tips on mail organization. Rest assured, there are some simple steps you can take to reduce those piles of mail that seem to pop up everywhere around the house.

    Mail organizers come in all styles these days, with every home decor theme taken into consideration. From door entry mail organizers to magnetic models that stick to the fridge, there is truly something for everyone.

    Here are some different types of mail organizers to consider: Read more

    Inexpensive Decor Ideas for Any Budget

    toilet paper holderIf your home is in desperate need of a decor-update, but the wallet just won’t allow for that costly remodel right now, never fear. We’ve got tips for decorating on any budget (yes, even if the budget is zero.) With a little creativity and a little elbow-grease, you can improve the look of any space in your home to meet your needs and brighten up your outlook instantly!

    Here are some tips and rules to guide you on your affordable decorating journey: Read more

    Product Review: Hotel Style Luggage Rack – Foldaway Suitcase Stand

    Hotel Style Luggage RackAn inviting and comfortable guest room should bring relaxing hotel touches to your home.  Create a casual yet stylish space for your guests by adding things they probably wouldn’t have packed, like a robe or slippers. Scented candles or a cozy throw blanket are a good way to create a warm feel. Pick up some fresh flower at the store or grab some plush throw pillows from around the house to give the bed a decadent feel. These little touches are a great way to welcome your guest. Read more

    It All Makes Sense With Galvanized Utility Bins

    Galvanized Utility Bins - Set of 6I live in a house that has a lot of stairs, and it seems like I am constantly finding things that are supposed to be downstairs laying around upstairs, and things that should stay upstairs are always finding their way to the first floor – are you confused yet?

    Imagine how confused I was when I discovered a set of measuring spoons, two weeks worth of mail, and seven and half pairs of shoes upstairs, and no less than four blankets and every Lego piece that’s been manufactured since 1982 downstairs. Read more

    Experience Your Dream Drawer!

    Drawer Organizer - Dream DrawerI don’t know about you, but I like searching through my dresser for matching socks about as much as I like going to the dentist!  In this increasingly busy world, every minute counts, especially in the morning when I am shuffling kids, hairdryers and my own work clothes.  Have you ever dreamed of opening up your drawers and immediately seeing exactly what you need, right where you need it?  Sounds crazy, right?

    Read more