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Archive for Friday, September 10, 2010

Celebrate National Clean Out Your Garage Day with tips to keep yours tidy

Harlan Miller keeps his garage very tidy and is the envy of some neighbors for his neatness. He even keeps the floor clear of debris from the wind.

Harlan Miller keeps his garage very tidy and is the envy of some neighbors for his neatness. He even keeps the floor clear of debris from the wind.

September 10, 2010

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Harlan Miller keeps his garage very tidy and is the envy of some neighbors for his neatness. He even keeps the floor clear of debris from the wind.

Harlan Miller keeps his garage very tidy and is the envy of some neighbors for his neatness. He even keeps the floor clear of debris from the wind.

Harlan Miller's tidy garage is the envy of his neighbors. Miller keeps items organized in drawers to prevent clutter on his workbench.

Harlan Miller's tidy garage is the envy of his neighbors. Miller keeps items organized in drawers to prevent clutter on his workbench.

Harlan Miller's tidy garage is the envy of his neighbors. He meticulously organizes small items in cabinets like these.

Harlan Miller's tidy garage is the envy of his neighbors. He meticulously organizes small items in cabinets like these.

Harlan Miller’s garage is as neat as a pin. Clean as a whistle. Spick and span.

If you were to walk into his two-car space in northwest Lawrence, you might think you’d been duped into entering a staging area for a Closet Maid advertisement or a Real Simple magazine photo shoot.

Rows of wrenches, screw drivers and hand tools line a tidy peg board, white cabinets contain odds and ends, labeled drawers make every screw, nail and washer easily accessible. There’s even off-the-workspace spots for paper towels, tissues and a cordless phone.

“It helps when it’s organized,” says Miller, a self-confessed lifelong neatnik. “You don’t have to hunt for stuff.”

And though your garage probably doesn’t mirror Miller’s in the neatness category, that doesn’t mean it can’t.

And we’ve got the perfect motivation for you.

Saturday is National Clean Out Your Garage Day. And while not a calendar-official holiday, it isn’t such a bad idea either. A clean garage means a better space to do projects, an easier time trying to find tools and less embarrassment when neighbors peer inside while walking the dog.

And there’s a reason to do it other than just for aesthetic and convenience purposes — a chaotic garage can also be a dangerous place. A survey by The Lehigh Group found that 39 percent of respondents had tripped over an item in a cluttered garage, 27 percent had hit an object when opening a vehicle door, and 22 percent have hit something while parking.

So, to avoid those situations — and ones where your monkey wrench has walked off yet again — we talked to Miller and Lawrence’s Marilyn Roy, who runs Simplify! Residential and Business Organizing Service, for tips on how to get your garage in gear.

Recycle and take out the trash. The first thing Roy does when working on a garage is take out the recycling. Next, she moves on to the obvious trash like cardboard boxes. She says removing those items right away helps you see what you actually have to work with.

What do you still use and need? The next step is to figure out what non-trash items are cluttering up your space without giving you much benefit. This step might take some time, and therefore, Roy recommends that if you’re feeling overwhelmed to just take a step back and do a little bit at a time. It doesn’t all have to be done this weekend or even this year.

Be practical. Once you’ve figured out what you need to store in your garage, it’s time to think about where to put it. Roy recommends categorizing by how often you use something. Therefore, the holiday decorations shouldn’t be impeding your lawnmower, and your cordless drill shouldn’t be stationed behind a circular saw.

Label and sort. Miller’s garage relies heavily on labels and making sure that like things (power cords, wrenches) are together. He has a cabinet he hand-made to sort and hold small, but necessary, items like ear plugs.

Be flexible. If something’s location isn’t working, change it. There’s no reason to make anything inconvenient when the whole point of organization is easy accessibility. Miller says that after moving to his present home in 2002, it took years of tinkering to get everything in the perfect spot.

Have some discipline. Once you’ve taken the time to create an organized system, all that hard work can unravel fairly quickly if you don’t actually adhere to said system. Both Roy and Miller stress that it saves busy people more time in the long run if they just put things back in the proper place after using them.

Comments

George_Braziller 3 years, 7 months ago

My garage will never be "clean" because it isn't possible by these standards. It's a 100 year old structure designed to house a carriage and a horse.

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DillonBarnes 3 years, 7 months ago

This article is for people who have a garage and want to clean it up or organize it. If that doesn't pertain to you, then ignore it.

It's funny when people have to comment on something that has absolutely no importance to them. "LOOK AT ME, LOOK AT ME, I WANT ATTTENTION!"

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sourpuss 3 years, 7 months ago

I like the way that we are supposed to judge each other on the neatness of our garages, as if having and/or liking a messy space is a moral defect. Since when is OCD a good thing?

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bkreed1960 3 years, 7 months ago

Makes me glad I don't have a garage.

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irvan moore 3 years, 7 months ago

i started to clean out my garage a week ago, i quit after realizing i liked it the way it is.

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Kyle Miller 3 years, 7 months ago

I recycle...... right on into the trash can!!

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bromidrosis 3 years, 7 months ago

I always clean out my garage on gay pride day. No wait, that's when I clean out my closet.

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consumer1 3 years, 7 months ago

This sounds like another liberal, I need to tell someone else how to do something agenda. Do you really believe the majority of people need some busy body telling them how to clean their freaking garage? What is next? Telling me recycling is manditory?

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