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.

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

How I Fit My Entire Family In My Home For Thanksgiving

crazy ThanksgivingAs I mentioned before in my previous post, this year the arduous task of hosting Thanksgiving for both sides of my family has fallen to me and my wife. As I was writing about the best way to store and preserve all of that leftover turkey and stuffing, I recalled another hurdle that I cleared the first time I hosted Thanksgiving:

“How am I going to fit all of those family members into my dining room?” Read more

Vinyl’s Made A Comeback! Tips For Storing Record Albums

State Faults As you may or may not know, one of the most popular formats for recorded music is once again the vinyl record. Though every time a new format made its debut as the “next big thing” – whether it was the cassette tape, compact disc, 8-track, or MP3- and the vinyl album would be written off as a thing of the past, they have actually held on quite well. In fact, many record labels that specialize in pressing vinyl records have bucked most music industry trends and actually seen increased sales and profits.

I will readily admit that I am certainly helping to contribute to these profits as I have been collecting vinyl records for the last 10 years or so. Read more

Why I Just Can’t Let Go of my Vegetable Garden

winter vegetablesFor me, gardening feeds my soul. Of course it’s fun if it feeds my belly too, but getting my hands in the dirt, daily watering and fertilizing make up one of the pleasures in life that make my heart sing. So why should I give this up during fall and winter, a time when, frankly, my soul needs all the calories it can get?

Luckily, I don’t have to stop gardening during the winter, and neither do you. Read more

Coat Racks are Not Just for Coats

hooks in laundry roomIf you could see the walls of my laundry room you would think I was on some kind of jacket-shopaholic kick, as I have no less than four 5-hook coat racks mounted to the wall. Yet I don’t have a single coat hanging from these hooks. Turns out coat racks are one of the best and brightest organizers in town, and I happily make use of them all over my home.

In the laundry room I have them mounted one right over the other in two rows, which allows me to best utilize the vertical space on what is otherwise a wasted wall. I hang everything from my gym bag to jump ropes, lost and found items and more on these 20 hooks. Since it is the laundry room, aesthetics are less important. Read more

Winterize Your Home – Part 2

mulcherNow that we’ve had our fun in the garden, it’s time to get serious about winterizing our homes.

But don’t worry, we’ll keep it simple.

We are not going to cover some of the more serious items, like pipes, as you may want to turn to a professional for those important items. Instead, we will focus on what the average person can do to get ready for winter. Read more

My Fall Prep Plans

mama's mac and cheeseIt’s difficult to think fall when the weather doesn’t agree. Days this week have been in the upper 90’s and low 100’s here in Wine Country. But it’s still not deterring me from preparing my home and heart for the inevitable cool and wonderful fall weather that’s surely on its way.

Here are some of the things I’m doing this weekend to prepare myself and my home for fall: Read more

Winterize your Home – Part 1

winterize your gardenWinterizing your home, whether you rent or own, is as important (if not more so) than spring cleaning. As we all know, winter storms in any part of the country can cause damage to the home, and frankly much of it is preventable with the right plan of action. However, since fall has just begun, I thought it would be nice to ease into things, starting with what I think of as “the fun stuff” when it comes to taking care of the home in preparation for winter.

So let’s just start in my favorite place, the garden! 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

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

Quick Tip: Getting Ready For Christmas

Holiday Card KeeperWhen I wanted to write about Christmas this week, I wondered if it was too early.Then I saw two Christmas posts on a couple of my favorite “intentional living” blogs and I felt like I was in good company. So… onwards and upwards.

When you think about Christmas, what are the aspects that overwhelm you and stress you out?

For me, it’s not knowing what’s happening.

I’m a girl who loves a plan and I like to know who’s hosting the lunch and what I have to bring.

I also like to have clear in my mind what we’re doing about gifts and cards. Read more

Tackling Photo Clutter

photo casesAre you saving photos of people you don’t know so you can pass them on to your kids…who also don’t know them?Are you keeping photos of places or events you have no clue about, so you can pass them on to family or friends…who also don’t have a clue?

Important Thought #1: OK, let’s start here. You are telling yourself that these old photos of people you don’t know are very important.
No, they are not. They are people you don’t know. NOBODY values those photos. Do you know why?


Commonly Saved Items You Need to Throw Out Now!

too much stuffHave you ever seen A&E’s Emmy-nominated reality program Hoarders? If you’re like me, you watch with fascination people whose lives have been overrun by clutter, all the while thinking, “I could never become so attached to stuff!” But the truth is we all hold on to items that simply need to be trashed (or donated or recycled). Read more

Tuesday Tip: Inexpensive Personalized Notebooks

Personalized PlannerThis weeks Tuesday Tip comes from Martha

I can’t tell you how many notebooks and planners I’ve found that are “almost perfect”. This is a GREAT solution!

Completely customize any notebook for any task! All you need are sticker-style labels. Using a bone folder, make creases across the middle of the stickers; just under the crease, label the category. Stagger and fold stickers over the edges of different pages. Or use two round stickers, back-to-back, for each section.

Create a Spa-Like Bathroom in your Home

natural-spa-bathroom.jpgGet that spa atmosphere you so want and so deserve right in our own home with just a few simple changes to your bathroom. No remodeling or budget-busting required here – just a few key items will having you saying “om” in no time.

The basics of spa decor include a merging of the luxurious and the surprisingly simple.

To get the effect, focus on natural materials, soothing colors and calming sounds.

Here’s a list of Bathroom Spa Design ideas (for every budget) to help you achieve spa-like bathroom bliss: Read more

5 Organizing Tips for Working Moms

office organizersIt’s not quite Spring yet, but it may be time for a bit of Spring Cleaning – for your office!

Michelle Maffei has written a great post over at with some timely and helpful tips on doing just that. Here’s an excerpt:

Whether you work from home or just use your office for family purposes, giving your home office a spring cleaning will boost productivity while reducing stress. From categorizing the clutter to keeping at-home kids happy so you can work, give yourself a career spring cleaning and organize your office with these tips for working moms.

1) Put clutter into categories: Read more

Composting in a Plastic Bin: Eco-Friendly DIY Project

compost binI promise, this is an easy one, folks! That’s right – easy, inexpensive, and one DIY weekend project that goes a long way toward helping out the planet – everybody wins!

With just a few items, you can be well on your way to composting in no time at all!

The benefits of home composting to the environment are infinite. But the one that really resonated with me, causing me to take the compost-plunge, was the fact that the food that ends up in landfills actually causes many problems because the lack of oxygen means it doesn’t break down. Read more

Works for Me Wednesday: Do It Yourself Jewelry Organizer

jewelry organizer 2I had a nice long three day weekend for Christmas and was able to work on a little organizing project – check it out!

I was storing all my costume jewelry in my top nightstand drawer in a couple of plastic organizers. While this method works great, it’s just not for me. If I don’t see it, I don’t wear it.

So I came up with a solution: I used a cork message board that was currently not in use (this metal message board would work great for a more modern look), stuck plain short metal sewing pins into it, and hung it on the side of my bathroom cabinet where I get ready for work in the mornings. The top two rows are for matching necklace and earring sets. Below are random earrings and pins. The hook on the side is for necklaces with no matching earrings, and the peg rack underneath (still waiting for my daughter to find two of the pegs) holds bracelets and watches. I even hooked a couple of pins over the nails on the top to hide them!

Do you have any DIY jewelry storage tips to share? Leave us a comment!

Painless Holiday Shopping and Gifting

giftsThere’s only one way to take the speculation out of gift-giving: preparation! If you wait until the last-minute to figure out what to get whom, you’re going to waste valuable time in the process.

One manageable way to stay on top of your gift-giving game is to create a list of must-know info about each person. This includes:

– Favorite colors, brands, and sizes for clothing

– Favorite stores, hang-outs, and restaurants

– Favorite authors and magazines

– Favorite music, TV shows, and movies

– Favorite foods, wine, and beer

– If they have any collections, hobbies, or special interests

– Etc. Read more

Create A Custom Coupon Organizer!

couponsI have spent more money on coupon organizers in my lifetime, just to have them all end up in the garbage. None of them has the descriptions and categories that I need and they do not hold all of the coupons that I use. It is hopeless trying to pull out the right coupon without all of them falling on the floor and they fall apart before they are a year old.

I have been so disappointed in the fact that no one has made an organizer that really works! Read more

Checklist for Home Maintenance

winter-houseNow is the Perfect Time for ‘In Home’ Maintenance Projects! The weather isn’t really good enough to do much outside and with the days getting dark early, we tend to get depressed by just sitting around. By the time we are finished eating supper at night, we feel like it is almost time to go to bed.

This is the perfect time to get some ‘in home’ projects done so that we can enjoy the good weather when it gets here.

The first tip:

Get plenty of light in the house, it will help to make the days seem longer, give you that extra boost to get something accomplished and will improve your disposition. Darkness is gloomy and lets depression take over…thus; we get the ‘Winter Blahs’. Make life brighter by adding more light to your life. Read more

Declutter Any Room In Three Easy Steps!

sorting basketsWe’ve all faced it at one time or another – that room so cluttered with stuff that you don’t know where to start. Don’t be intimidated – the process is easier than you think! Whether it’s a cluttered kitchen, bedroom, bathroom or kid’s room, the process for decluttering is the same. I’ll break it down for you here in three easy steps:

Pick Up:

I start with baskets. The number and size depends on the room I’m working on. Let’s say it’s my bedroom. I start with two laundry baskets, one for throw-away, one for give-away, and an assortment of smaller baskets (or boxes – whatever’s on hand). Read more