Articles (Blog)

Your Year Of Decluttering – November (The Garage)

~ Queue Jaws Theme… duuuunnnn duun… duuunnnnnnnn dun dun dun dun dun dun

Garages can be a scary, daunting place. Most of the time the door can be closed so you don’t have to look at it. Unless that’s also where your laundry is. Or the back door.


Feel a bit overwhelmed every time you walk in there?

There are a few studies around that make you wonder… Between 25% and 75% of people have trouble parking their car in their garage. Why?

Because the space is full of… STUFF.

Garages have become storage units. The dumping place for:

  • Things that might come in handy
  • All the things you’ll fix one day
  • Big awkward things that won’t fit anywhere else
  • Overflow from the house
  • Stuff you haven’t unpacked yet
  • Vehicles that haven’t been driven for years
  • Sports and exercise equipment that’re covered in dust
  • Other stuff that just makes sense to keep in there

Ok so what IS a garage for? What is the purpose of that space?

Generally, when a house is designed with a garage, the architect or draftsperson draws a car in the space. They’re usually car-shaped, and car-sized.

Which is a very similar size and shape to a storage unit. Handy hmm?

Of course, if you’ve decided to repurpose your garage, and turn it into a gym, workshop, business or studio, all good!

Maybe though, that’s how it started

The build up of stuff can begin slowly, or be done on purpose.

Maybe the gym equipment was installed and used for a couple of weeks, or months. Then laundry started to be draped over it. Stuff was piled in front of it.

Eventually it might’ve got to the point where you open the door, toss stuff in then quickly close the door again.

Or maybe… you love to potter with your things but you’re always being criticised for the volume of “junk” in there. Especially if actually parking a car in the garage is the dream of someone who lives with you.

What To Do About Garage “Junk”.

It all depends on what you want to use the space for. And how you want it to look.

If you’re after the Pimp My Garage look, you’re going to have to make some big changes.

If you’d simply like to park your car in there… well maybe some big changes are in order for that to happen too.

Luckily this time of year is great for sorting it out. It’s not too cold and not too hot. Though it can be a bit windy!

If it’s your garage, and have total control or agreement over what should go in there, you can open the door and get stuck in!

  • Ask for help, especially to lift and move things.
  • Get some bright Post-Its in different colours to indicate things that can be sold, donated or given as gifts.
  • Make zones in the space if you can, to temporarily hold each category.
  • Unpack boxes one at a time to limit overwhelm.
  • Hold a garage sale, make a bit of money from all the things that you don’t want. You’ll be surprised!
  • Maybe get a skip or flexibin if you have things that can’t be fixed, recycled or donated.
  • Call a junk company to remove things you can’t get rid of any other way.
  • If you have the luxury of space, make a spot to store inorganic rubbish and make a booking with your local council if they offer this service.
  • Get new shelving installed and get organised with bins and labels.
  • Try not to pile things on the floor. Hang bikes, get a scooter rack, put things up on the wall or on shelves.

What If You Don’t Want to Get Rid Of Anything?

I bang on about this quite a lot… You always have a choice. Even if you don’t think you do.

The tricky part is working out WHY you don’t want to get rid of anything.

Note ~ If you need to declutter and the thought of getting rid of anything makes you feel desperate, anxious or depressed and you avoid even thinking about it, you may need professional support.

If you live with someone, compromises always need to be made. But it goes both ways. You might feel like you’re the one always compromising but they will probably feel like they are.

Maybe you have to downsize, and you feel like you’re being made to clear out stuff you don’t want to.

Or maybe you’re just a bit embarrassed by your garage but you’re really not motivated to get rid of anything.

Your Choices:

1. Everything stays the same.

  • Rationalise why everything has to stay.
  • The person who lives with you has no say on what goes in the garage.
  • Ignore the people who will have to clear out the space for you when you leave.

You actually DO have the choice to do this. It’s a legitimate choice. However the impact of this choice on your relationships is worth thinking about. As is the quality of your life in that space.

2. Make SOME changes.

  • Listen to the people who are involved. Find out what they want and why.
  • Find out what actually needs to happen. It may not be as difficult as you imagine.
  • Ask for help, but you stay in control of what happens.

Maybe all they really want is to be able to open their car door inside the garage when it’s raining. Demands to completely empty the garage might just be a reaction to their frustration.

Compromising might mean moving some things around. Perhaps getting rid of just one or two things. Or it might simply mean building a carport for the car instead. Or putting up a shed to store your stuff in, away from the garage.

3. Re-invent the space completely.

Sometimes we stick to our guns, simply as a defence. If you feel pressured, criticised or nagged, you might dig your heels in. Despite the fact that they might have a point. And you don’t really want to keep the things that are taking up space. But you can’t back down now right?

But is that really how you want to go on? Maybe you enjoy the power battle. But maybe you’re over it and would really love the space to be renewed. And maybe your relationship too.

  • Do the difficult things to make it work for everyone. Compromise with self-respect.
  • Declutter and re-organise to accomodate the other persons needs as well as your own.
  • Work with the other person. Convert it into your shared dream space.

Most garages can be more usefully organised than they are right now. The biggest part of that change is getting rid of the stuff that’s cluttering up your space and your life. Honour yourself and the people you love by respecting everyone’s needs. Compromise with love and mutual respect.

Make that garage work for you.



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