Organizing Your Storage Areas

In September the weather starts to cool down a bit. We put away our summer equipment. This is a fantastic opportunity to organize this storage space. It might be your workshop, garage, or basement. It is such a temptation to go in and just dump the stuff “just for now”. Soon you find the area disorganized, cluttered, and difficult to move around in.

Before you begin on this project, take a good look at the way it is now. Look at what is working (don’t mess with that area) and what is not working. How do you plan to use this zone? Do you plan to:

  • Park your car
  • Store trash cans/recycling
  • Store tools and accessories
  • Pot or repot plants
  • Work on projects and store tools
  • Store bikes and other sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
  • Store entertainment supplies
  • Store extra products
Now bring the things outside. If it is a small area do it all at once but if it is a large area or very filled, do it by sections. Sort like with like. Note what is broken and what you have not used in the past year or two. Get rid of those items. Throw away expired seeds and old chemicals. Give away or sell tools you no longer use.
Next decide where to logically places your zones. You want to place items that you use frequently near entrances. As you group your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items together. A clear shoebox without a lid can hold gardening gloves. A flat basket can hold small gardening tools. Use shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers because, for sure, you are going to want something out of that bottom container. Label all containers that are not clear.
Knock down the cobwebs, sweep the floor, and start putting things away. You’ll be amazed at how much room there is now that all items have been bunched together and stored properly.
Reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink might be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Shed and Garage

September’s cooler days inspire us to organize our sheds, garages, and any other outside storage areas. It’s time to put away our summer equipment and muck out the debris that has been tracked in. Even if you do this zone once a year, it can easily get disorganized and cluttered because it is so easy just to open the door and drop something “just for now”.

Before you start your project, take a good look at the way it is now. Notice what is working (don’t mess with that area) and what is not working. Envision how you want to use this zone. Your vision might include a place to:

  • Park your car
  • Store trash cans/recycling
  • Store gardening tools and accessories
  • Pot or repot plants
  • Work on projects and store tools
  • Store bikes and other sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
  • Store outdoor entertainment supplies
  • Store extra products
Bring everything outside or if this is a large or very filled area, pull stuff out by sections. Sort like with like. Note what is broken or what you have not used in the past year. Get rid of these items or make a note to replace them. Get rid of expired seeds or old chemicals. Give away or sell tools you no longer use. The Tool Bank is a great place to donate tools for community projects. http://toolbank.org
Next decide where to logically place your zones. Items that you use frequently are best stored near entrances. As you group your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items together. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves. A flat basket can hold gardening tools. Use shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers because, for sure, you are going to want something that is in the bottom container. Label containers that are not clear.
Knock down cobwebs, sweep the floor, and start putting things away. You’ll be amazed at how much room there is now that all the items have been bunched together and stored away.
Now reward yourself! A hot shower and a cool drink might be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Garage

Now that the weather is cooling down a bit, it’s a great time to organize your garage.

Before pulling out all that stuff onto the driveway, take a good look at what is in your garage now. Why is it there? How did it get there? Do you still need it?

Decide on the functions of your garage. Is one of the functions to park your cars? 82% of homes have two-car garages or larger, but only 15% use them to park the car inside.

Do you keep your lawnmower and gardening supplies in the garage? What about bikes and sports equipment? Do you have a workshop area with tools? Do you keep your recycling bins here? What about a shelf or tow that stores all those extra packages of paper towels or packages of soft drinks? Do you still have boxes of stuff from your last move that have never been unpacked because you have no room in the house?

Once you have decided how you plan on using your garage, divide it into zones. Items that you frequently use outside like yard and garden tools are best stored near the garage door. Items used frequently like recycling bins or overflow storage of house supplies should be stored near the door to the house.

Decide on how much space you can devote to each zone and still have plenty of room to navigate and use each zone. Now you are ready to start pulling things out.

Pick one zone area. Pull everything out of that area and sweep it out. Put back what belongs in that zone and leave anything else on the driveway (or if you are only doing one zone at a time, put the rest near the zone area planned for it). As you put items back, make sure you still need them. Do you really need two hedge clippers? Why are you still holding on to that broken weed eater?

Continue going from zone to zone. Look at the shelving and storage options you have at hand. Is there a better way to store items in the zone? Shelving makes it a lot easier to get to boxes and containers. Using clear containers to keep like items together makes finding them, using them, and putting them away much easier. If it is difficult to get  to an item that you need, the likelihood of getting it put back away is slim to none. If you can’t easily see what is in containers, label them.

Once you have completed this task, hopefully you will have room to park at least one car. Your future you (the one coming out to the car on an icy morning) will thank you for taking the time to do this chore now.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Time to Organize Your Workshop and Garage

In September the weather begins to cool down. We start to put away our summer equipment. This is a good opportunity to set aside some time to organize your workshop or garage zone. Even if you do this zone once a year, it can easily get disorganized and cluttered because it is so easy just to open the door and drop something “just for now.”

Before you start your project, take a good look at the way it is now. What is working (don’t mess with that area) and what is not working. How do you want to use this zone. Do you plan to:

  • Park your car
  • Store trash cans/recycling
  • Store gardening tools and accessories
  • Pot or repot plants
  • Work on projects and store tools
  • Store bikes and other sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
  • Store outdoor entertainment supplies
  • Store extra products
Now bring everything outside. If this is a large or very filled area, do it by sections. Sort like with like. Note what is broken or what you have not used in the past year. Get rid of these items or make a note to replace them. Get rid of expired seeds or old chemicals. Give away or sell tools you no longer use. Tool Bank is a great place to donate tools for community projects. http://toolbank.org/
Next decide where to logically place your zones. You want to place items that you use frequently near entrances. As you group your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items together. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves. A flat basket can hold gardening tools. Use shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers because, for sure, you are going to want something that is in the bottom container. Label containers that are not clear.
Knock down the cobwebs, sweep the floor, and start putting things away.. You’ll be amazed at how much  room there is now that all the items have ben bunched together and stored away.
Now reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink might be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

The Zone Plan – Workshop/Garage Zone

I choose to work in the workshop/garage zone during September. The weather has begun to cool down. Summer equipment is ready to clean and store. Fall yard equipment needs to be accessible.

Storage areas can get pretty messy and unorganized in a year. They are not in your main living area and therefore not so visible. It is so easy just to walk in and dump items “just for now.”

I actually have two areas to tackle. One is a small room off the carport that also holds the hot water heater. The other is our shed house behind our home. Whatever your zones are, you should start with deciding the purpose of the area. In your zone, do you plan to:

  1. Park your car
  2. Store your trash cans/recycling
  3. Store gardening tools and accessories
  4. Have a potting area
  5. Have a workbench for projects and a place to hold tools
  6. Store bikes and other sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear
  7. Store outdoor entertainment supplies

Once you deicide how you will use these storage areas,  bring everything outside. If this is a large or much filled area, do it by sections. Sort like with like. Put aside items that are broken or have not been used in the past year. If an item is broken, decide if you need to replace it or just trash it. If you have items that are duplicates or that you no longer use, donate them. Tool banks can make good use of your extra items. (http://toolbank.org ) Get rid of expired seeds, old chemicals, and paints.

Knock down cobwebs and sweep the floor of the area you have emptied. Now decide where each zone should go. If you are working in your garage and plan to park your car, pull the car in now and mark off the space with tape. Allow plenty of room for the car doors to open.

You want to place items that you regularly access near entrances. As you are grouping your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items that are rattling about. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves; a flat basket can hold gardening tools. Maximize your wall space. Utilize shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers as you are sure to want something that is in the bottom container. Label the containers.

You’ll be amazed at how much more room you have now that you have discarded some items and bunched together and stored away the rest. Now reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink on the deck my be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Workshop/Garage Zone

The workshop or garage area often ends up as a dumping area. It is not in your main living area and it is sooo easy to walk in and dump something “just for now.” After a while it is very difficult to find things you think are there or even to freely move around. I suggest that once a year you schedule a time to really organize and clean out this zone.

Start with deciding the purpose for this area. Do you plan to:

  • park a car
  • store extra household items like water/paper products/oversized cookware
  • store garden tools and accessories
  • work on projects
  • store household tools
  • use as a holding area for recyclables
  • store sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear

After deciding on how you plan to use this space, determine your zones. Some zone suggestions are:

  • car parking and car related items
  • garden
  • recycling
  • household storage
  • entertainment accessories
  • sports equipment
  • tools

If you have an abundance of tools, you may want to subdivide that zone into plumbing, electrical, wood working, etc.

Decide where to logically place each zone. You will want to place items that you regularly access near entrances. As you are grouping your items  in each zone, look for containers to hold small items that are rattling about. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves. A flat basket can hold gardening hand tools. Utilize shelves, peg boards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers because, for sure, you are going to want something that is in the bottom container. Label containers that are not clear.

Clear out each zone. Determine what you have not used ( that badminton set has not been set up in 3 years or more) or is broken, or expired (seeds, chemicals). These items go away. Knock down the cobwebs and sweep the floor before putting the items away that belong in that zone. You’ll be amazed at how much roomier the area is now that all items have been bunched together and stored away.

Now reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink  might be just the thing.

For more ideas on how to organize that workshop, view my YouTube video on Organizing Your Workshop.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vURjz7Agbns

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Organizing the Workshop or Garage Zone

In September the weather begins to cool down. Summer equipment is now getting cleaned up and stored. This is a good opportunity to set time to organize your workshop or garage zone. Even when you do this area once a year, it can get easily disorganized or cluttered because it is not in your main living space and it is soooo easy to walk in and dump something “just for now.”

Start with deciding the purpose for this area. Do you plan to:

  • Park cars
  • Store extra household items like water/paper products/oversize cookware
  • Store garden tools and gardening accessories
  • Work on woodworking projects or store household tools
  • Use as a holding area for some recyclables
  • Store sports equipment/outdoor games/camping gear

Now bring everything outside – if this is a large or very filled area, do it by sections.  Sort like with like. Note what is broken or what you have not used in the past year. Get rid of these items or make a note to replace them. Get rid of expired seeds or old chemicals. Give away or sell tools you no longer use.

Next decide where to logically place your zones. You will want to place items that you access regularly near entrances. As you are grouping your items in each zone, look for containers to hold small items that are rattling about. A clear shoebox without the lid can hold gardening gloves. A flat basket can hold gardening tools. Utilized shelves, pegboards, hooks, and nails to keep items off the floor. Avoid stacking containers because for sure you are going to want something that is in the bottom container. Label containers that are not clear.

Knock down the cobwebs, sweep the floor, and start putting things away. You’ll be amazed at how much roomier the area is now that all the items have been bunched together and stored away.  Now, reward yourself. A hot shower and a cool drink might be just the thing.

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Working the Zone Plan – Workshop Area

September is a perfect month to work on the workshop or garage area. The weather is a little cooler. Seasons are changing. The equipment you use in your yard and for recreation and sports is changing. Now is a good time to look at what you have in these areas and determine what you have not used (that badminton set has not been set up in 3 years or more), what needs to be replaced (that trowel and pruner have had it), and what needs to be purchased ( I would love a weeding tool).

While organizing this area, first determine your zones. What exactly is the purpose of this space? Some possible zones are: yard/garden, grilling needs, tools and workshop area, storage for home repair projects, recycling, outdoor entertainment, sports, storage of extra household items like paper towels, water, or out of season cookware. If this is your garage, you might even save a zone to park your car!

Once you know the zones you need, figure out the logical placement of each zone. For items you use regularly, you will want placement near the entrance. Items used less frequently will best be placed near the back of the area. Strive to keep all like items together.

As you group like items, look for containers that can hold smaller items. All seed packets in a clear shoe box, all gardening gloves in a basket, and all gardening tools in a bucket. Utilize shelves, pegboard and hooks to keep everything off the floor. Keep wide walkways so that it is easy to access every zone. If it is difficult to put an item into the correct place, it will probably get dumped on the nearest surface as you enter.

Once you have finished this zone, reward yourself. Take that newly uncovered bike out for a spin.
 
Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Workshop/Garage Zone

If you follow the zone plan of organizing one area of your home every month, September is a great month to tackle the garage or workshop area. It’s getting a little cooler. It’s time to think about putting away summer equipment and evaluating your current zone placements.

Start by listing all the zones this area has. Some possibilities might include yard/garden storage; tools and workshop area; storage of home repair projects; recycling center; storage of extra household purchases like paper towels, cleaning materials, or soft drinks; storage of items for outdoor entertainment; sports equipment storage; and if it is your garage, maybe even a zone for parking your car!

Next envision where to logically place these zones. For items that you use regularly, you will want your zones near the entrance. I want my bike near the front entrance for example. On the left side of my workshop one wall is all gardening/lawn equipment with the lawn mower near the entrance.

As you group your items together, look for containers that can hold your smaller items. All seed packets go in a clear shoebox or all gardening gloves in a basket or all small gardening tools store together in one container with a handle.

Utilize shelves, pegboard, and hooks to keep items off the floor. Don’t stack items on top of each other because, for sure, you are going to want what is on the bottom. Keep wide walkways so that it is easy to access every zone, otherwise you will wind up just dropping items at the entrance instead of walking back and placing them in the proper zone.

Now grab a big black trash bag and purge in every area. Goodbye to old seeds, dried paint, gloves with holes, rusty nails. Use your broom and duster to clear away the heavy dirt and cobwebs as you go.

Once you are finished with this zone, reward yourself. Admire your clean, organized space. Now hop on that bike and ride up to the coffee shop!

Jonda S. Beattie

Professional Organizer

Storage Zone

If you are using the zone plan for organizing, November is a good time to tackle the storage zone. Since this zone might be in your attic, basement, or garage, it often is not heated or air conditioned. The weather in November is not usually really hot or really cold and so this is the best time for this job.
When you are organizing your storage space, make a list of the type of items you plan to store here. Divide your storage area into zones ( archival paper, holiday decorations, decorative items, etc.). As you place items into each zone, take time to purge. Do I have some papers stored that can now be trashed or shredded? Am I really going to use that lamp again? Are my holiday decorations still fresh and reflective of my style? Have a plan for each area and make it accessible. This is not to be just a dumping area.
When storing holiday items, it is helpful to store the items in plastic tubs or containers. Color coordination is helpful. A yellow or orange tub could hold the Halloween decorations. A brown or orange tub could be Thanksgiving. Red or green for Christmas or blue for Hanukkah. Each box should be labeled. Boxes can be labeled by what is in them- ex. tree lights, creche, advent wreath- or by room-dining room, entry way, kitchen.
If your boxes are well labeled you will only need to bring out the ones you want and not have to dig through everything to find the advent wreath the first week of advent.
If your boxes are labeled by rooms, you can bring the boxes down and put them directly into the appropriate room for unpacking.
Some homes and condos have no real storage space. In that case, the best way to store the holiday items is to find an area in each room where the items are used. Christmas towels and candles can go in a back shelf of the linen closet. Entryway decorations can go in a marked box in the hall closet. Bedroom decorations might be stored in a box under the bed. Having your decorations spread throughout your home is less convenience than having them in one place, but may be necessary with limited storage space. It might be a good idea to put together a master list of what you have and where it is stored and drop it into a file labeled “holiday decorations.”

Please share the storage hints that have worked well for you.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer