Growing up in a Filipino household, I’ve always been taught to be gracious for things, whether for food or other items. My relatives instilled an appreciation in me for gifts received, items purchased and things made. On the other hand, this appreciation also has led to an accumulation of many items over the years.

Luckily for me, my parents have been kind enough to store my things in their garage, along with my siblings’ things, too. However, over the years, as the items accumulated, the square footage of the garage remained unchanged. This meant sacrificing covered parking in favor of storing things that have not been touched in many years. It’s time for a change.



De-cluttering and reorganizing the garage will mean paring things down, but it won’t mean giving everything up. In my family garage, for instance, we all will have to think about what we can keep, give away and toss out. If it’s time for you to overhaul your garage, consider some of these tips:

• Check your calendar.

Schedule a few days for removing unnecessary items. Pick the days leading up to bulky-item-pickup day. This will save you time and energy hauling your big items to the waste center. Like my siblings and me, if you have kids who have taken over your space, give them your schedule and let them know it’s time to clean up. If you can figure out a good time that works for everyone, it actually might be fun going through memories together.

• Plan ahead.

Think about what you want the garage to look like before you start. Take measurements and sketch accordingly to make sure everything will fit.

• Look up.


Take advantage of vertical space with tall shelving or even by adding a hoist pulley system. Put seasonal or rarely used items farthest away so you will have easier access to the things you use more frequently. For instance, things like garbage bags and cleaning supplies can be organized at eye level and closest to the door, while Christmas decorations can be placed up high.

• Close the door.

Keep hazardous chemicals and potentially dangerous tools within closed cabinetry. If you have children, consider locking up things like chainsaws or other sharp objects to help to avoid accidents.

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