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New Year

By Bob Farkas, "The Clutter Wizard."

Sponsored By:

Teriyaki Madness

Remember when the garage was supposed to be a home for your cars and tools but is now a storage disaster? The garage can be a great functioning place with a little effective organizing. And this is the year to do it!


The first order of business is to get rid of the things you don’t need or haven’t used in a couple of years. You only want to categorize, sort and organize what’s left over. This is the time to make tough choices. Be brutal.

Have a large trash and recycling bin at hand for things you’re throwing out. Have boxes for the rest labeled Donate, Recycle, Sell.

I highly recommend donating because most people simply don’t follow through with selling. If you insist on selling something then give yourself a deadline or donate it.

I encourage you not to tackle the job yourself. Ask a friend or family member to help or hire a professional organizer. It’s easier to maintain your cool in all this chaos with someone by your side. The goal is to keep you focused, stay on track and to get the job done in the least stressful way possible.

Don’t tackle the entire garage in one sitting. Pick it apart piece-by-piece. Move the stuff you’re working on out into your driveway so you can focus on one box or area of stuff at a time. Once you’ve done the purging then divide the stuff that’s left over into categories—sporting equipment, tools and hardware, gardening, seasonal outdoor decorations, car stuff, etc.

For small stuff like nails, screws, nuts and bolts, hooks, etc. you might consider makeshift containers like baby food jars, egg cartons, ice cube trays, a utensil divider, milk cartons cut in half, clear film canisters or inexpensive Glad-type containers which come in many sizes.

I suggest using pegboards to hang anything lightweight that will hang. It utilizes all the otherwise unused wall space. One client, a real estate agent, had pegboards installed on every cabinet door in her garage to store her signs, tools, flags, etc. For heavier weighted items use heavy-duty hooks hanging from the walls or from the ceiling.

Try to use shelves to store boxes. It’s a lot easier to access boxes from a shelf than lifting boxes off of each other to get to the bottom one. I also recommend clear plastic containers to see what you’re storing. And rodents love cardboard and paper. Make sure that you label each container very specifically so you can find what you’re looking for easily.

The bottom line is not to let things accumulate again. Organizing and space planning will make you more productive and stress-free. It’s just that simple.

Bob Farkas is The Clutter Wizard, a hands-on professional organizer in the Santa Clarita Valley.
 He’s got more great hints and tips on his website and can be reached by email at or by phone at 661-298-9100.