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.

Great Deals for the Garden from Griffith Creek

With Spring just around the corner, do you have that urge to get out in the garden like I do? We have gathered some great promotional items (and promotional prices!) from Griffith Creek to get you started on the path towards a healthy, productive and organized garden this year. Sale lasts thru May 31st.

Raised Garden Bed
With a planting depth of 15″, this Raised Garden Bed is perfect for growing flowers and plants, but also vegetables. The elevated design means no bending over and allows for storage underneath, a great choice for apartment patios and small backyards. Includes a coconut fiber insert, as shown. $175 with free shipping.* Read more

Small Room in a Small Home

Looking for storage and functional living space is naturally a challenge in small homes. But with the right furniture pieces, you can achieve both, whether you are living solo in a studio apartment or cozying up with a growing family in a small house.

These innovative convertible furniture pieces go from morning to night, play to work and from storage time to mealtime in a jiffy to make the best use of every space in your home:

Paris Convertible Ottoman Sleeper
This unique ottoman, the Paris Convertible Ottoman Sleeper, folds out into a bed for overnight guests. Perfect for the living room, or the home office that doubles duty as a guest room at night. Read more

The Organized Bedroom for Better Sleep

Bed Butler 16The bedroom should be a place of calm and peace. A spot where you can go at the end of the day to relax and unwind for the best deep-sleep experience. Similarly, the bedroom is the first thing you see when you wake up each day, so keeping it tidy (or cluttered) can set the mood for the rest of the day.

Here are some great tips for gaining control of clutter in the bedroom:

  • Bedside Caddy – In the past these were made of canvas or mesh, although a new product on the market, the Bed Butler 16″ Pro Bedside Caddy boasts a clear plastic design Read more
  • Not Your Grandma’s Picnic Basket – Modern Picnic Gear for Summer Fun

    With health front and center in our minds lately, many of us are discovering the benefits of simply getting outside! And nothing says outside fun in the summer like a picnic. Luckily, this happy change in pace for people has coincided with an upgrade in picnic gear that makes outdoor eating easier for all!

    Here are our picks for the best in Picnic Gear:

    Mesh Pop-up Food Covers
    Flies be gone! These Mesh Pop-up Food Covers are simple to use and fold down, taking up almost no space in your picnic basket. Plus, they allow you to sit back and relax without worrying about swatting those bugs away! Read more

    Healthy Kitchen Makeover

    Lemon JuicersWas one of your New Years resolutions to give your diet a healthy overhaul? Stay on track by replacing your usual meals with healthier versions or supplementing your diet with vitamin-rich snacks. Use these fun and functional kitchen gadgets to help you get started.

    Whether you need to make exact measurements for baking or are looking to create healthy portions at dinnertime, a food scale can be a great way to keep things in check. This scale comes with an easy to use function that will subtract the weight of the container for an accurate count every time. Read more

    Basket Case

    Don’t get me wrong, I love baskets, but for some storage jobs, they simply don’t fit right. Plus, sometimes a girl just wants a more updated look than a traditional woven basket can provide. Fabric storage bins provide the perfect alternative to baskets around the home. Fabric baskets have a more rectangular, streamlined design and therefore are just a tad bit more space-efficient.

    Versailles Fabric Storage Bins
    Also more fun with an array of patterns to choose from! Read more

    Score 3 For Cast Iron Cookware

    Cast Iron PotMy mother cooks everything in cast iron. From pancakes in bare skillets to sauces in enamel coated dutch ovens, she’s got cast-iron cooking down pat. I have just one piece of iron cookware, a traditional black large skillet. They are heavy and a bit fussy to clean, but boy do they make a great deep dish pizza, among other things! So 3 cheers for cast iron cookware! And, an article from healthy eating about the benefits of cast iron to further prove my point!

    Weekender Tips for DIY Fix-Its

    sinkThere is nothing as satisfying as fixing something in your home (or apartment) without having to call a professional and open up your wallet. I cleaned all of my bathroom sink traps last weekend. It took an hour to do three sinks. It is a very unpleasant job but it is oh-so-nice to have those drains working again! My clogs turned out to be not in the trap but rather above them in the sink. Removing the traps allowed me to shove a very long screwdriver up there to remove hair and what is best described as black sludge. Here is a great article from This Old House with a list of 47 things you can do yourself. So get on it, Weekenders!

    Organizing Your New Year’s Resolutions

    Organized ResolutionsHappy New Year everyone! I sincerely hope that everyone is feeling happy and rested from the holidays, and optimistic about the new year which has finally arrived. I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. I watched a lot of people make them and give up so quickly, it made me wonder why I would even bother. But this year is different! It can’t hurt to set some goals this year, and whether or not I follow through with them is entirely up to me. Read more

    Getting My Craft On…

    Snowman Crochet ProjectIt’s Sunday, my favorite day to get my craft on. Especially during the holidays, and even more importantly, when it’s simply too cold to be out in the garden, a little crafting goes a long way towards cheering me up. Here’s what I’ve been working on for the past month: Crocheted Snowmen. I’ve done five out of the eight that I will need as gifts for the kids in the family. They are absolutely adorable, and would be a great crochet project for a child as well, as long as they have been introduced to crocheting in the round. Also don’t miss out on the tutorial for the magic ring, it is true, as everyone says: once you have learned this technique, you will never start your round crochet projects the old way again! Happy Crafting!

    This free Mini Snowman Crochet Pattern comes courtesy of the Dapper Toad – Thanks!

    Washcloth Travel Roll – An Easy Homemade Gift

    washcloth craftThere’s nothing like giving away something that you made as a gift, whether it is for Christmas, Hanukkah or a birthday! The washcloth travel roll has to go down in history as one of the simplest homemade gifts ever. It only requires five seams, perfect for the beginning seamstress or tailor, or simply for us busy adults that have too much on our plates already. One great thing about it is that you can just throw it into the washing machine to sterilize it in between trips. Also, it’s free. Read on for instructions! Read more

    Gift Idea for That Person (you know the one)

    donate.jpgDoes someone on your gift-giving list have you stumped? I think we all experience this from time to time, right? That person who seems to have everything they need and everything they want? My parents are those people in my life. I really don’t want to give them something for their house as it is already full of stuff. And they already are able to visit their favorite restaurants and see the newest plays, as they have the finances to do so. The next best thing I can do for them is something that fits right in with the spirit of the season as well: A Donation!

    There are so many wonderful non-profit organizations out there, both locally and worldwide, that desperately need our help throughout the year and especially during this time. Look for local toys for tots organizations, food pantries or volunteer. Or donate a microloan through an organization such as Kiva to help someone abroad.

    A donation on behalf of your loved one is a wonderful way to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas!

    Gift Spotlight: Picnic Baskets

    Every year there are at least a few people on my list that already seem to have everything they need (I’m talkin’ to you, Mom). So the challenge is always what to give to those people, and let’s face it, it usually is the moms, dads and in-laws that are tripping us up each year. This year I have zeroed in on something that can be easily stored, so you don’t feel like you are cluttering up the house, and is all about 100% pure fun: The Picnic Basket!

    Doppio Vino Picnic Basket for Two
    Not your grandma’s picnic basket, these new designs have thought of everything, including a designated place for wine bottles. Read more

    Dealing With those Extra Holiday Pounds

    holiday-fitness.jpgNow that you’re stuffed to the brim, maybe you are thinking about those 3 pounds you gained last holiday season. And the one before that, and so on… you get the picture. The day after Thanksgiving is a great day to get started on making a plan for avoiding (or at least minimizing the damage) from those holiday pounds. After all, it’s a long weekend for many of us, a great time to catch up on (or dust off) your exercising routine. My rule for holiday health is to keep it fun, though. Why drag something dull and over-the-top uncomfortable into a season that is supposed to be filled with cheer? Read more

    Cozying Up Your Home for Fall

    Cozy Fall Home DecorCozying up your home for fall is a great way to make the most of the great indoors.

    Whether you’re up for an overhaul of your interior or just looking to add a few touches to warm up rooms around the house, there are lots of ways to change up décor for colder weather.

    Window dressings are both a practical and decorative way to adapt your home for colder weather. Think about having seasonal curtains, such as lighter ones for warmer weather and heavier curtains that help block out cold air during the winter while giving the room a snug feel. If you’re only thinking of changing out the curtains in one room make it the living room, where you spend the most time relaxing.

    Floor coverings are another way to warm up any space. From the kitchen to the bedroom think about adding rugs to warm up cold wood or tile floors. Even carpeted rooms can benefit from an added area rug. Laying multiple area rugs or wall-to-wall carpeting and an area rug is a great way to add texture to any space.

    When it comes to more inexpensive ways to make your home feel ready for winter there are a variety of options. Add plush throw blankets and pillows to seating areas so it’s easy to bundle up while watching a movie. Candles in wintery scents are another great option and make a great addition to just about room of the house, from the bathroom to the bedroom to the dining room.
    Of course nothing makes a home feel cozier than a hot drink and something baking in the oven. No kitchen is ready for winter without the required baking tools.

    From cookie cutters to baking sheets, you’ll be glad you have the essentials on hand when winter weather comes!

    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

    Storage Furniture 101

    Modern Breakfast Bar with StoolsIf there is one thing I know about, it’s living in a shoebox and making the space more functional. I have been living in apartments and small homes for my entire adult life and troubleshooting space issues has become a passion of mine. Partially out of necessity in my own life and partially to help others. In today’s world of “everything must be oversized” it is easy to forget that we can make a small home not only work, but feel more spacious than it is. It has to do with furniture arrangement, the size of the pieces we own, being minimalistic, and most importantly having furniture that serves several purposes. Read more