Summer is a great time to spend outdoors. There’s the beach, sports, walks in the mountains, or gardening in your back yard. Most of the gear you need for your summer outdoor activities is stored in the garage. Why not make it easy to access so you spend as little time there as possible and more time out doing the activities you want to do?  Get the most out of your garage by using these 6 tips.

1. Keep all the things you use for one activity together

It’s much faster to get out the door when all your gear for an activity is together. Let’s take going camping. It used to take us a couple of hours to get everything together from various places around the house and garage. Now we can have our car packed with all our camping gear for a weekend in about 20 minutes. We all have “camping clothes” that we can quickly throw in a bag. We have a separate box that we keep all our camping cutlery, dishes and kitchen supplies in that stays in the garage ready to go. All our camping gear is in one section of shelving within the garage, so we literally just have to back up our car and load everything straight in. 

2. Use the vertical space in your garage effectively

Use cabinets, shelving and overhead racks if you have the vertical space.

3. Tackle a big garage organizing project in stages

If your garage has been a dumping ground for some time, you may need to approach the garage in stages. Perhaps tackle one wall first, perhaps one corner, or perhaps the gear for one activity that you do. Organize the items that you use most often first. That way, you’ll be able to spend more time doing your favorite activities, rather than organizing (which I know is one of OUR favorite activities, but probably not yours!) 

4. Use bins and labels

Garages are usually pretty dusty spaces and often we use the space for items that are infrequently used. Protect your belongings. Use boxes that are airtight and use silica gel packets to control moisture if necessary. Label everything with what’s in the box, never with “miscellaneous,” “various,” or some such other non-specific word, because when you come looking for the one item that you know is in the garage somewhere, but can’t quite remember where, ‘miscellaneous’ is not going to help you remember it is that box. 

5. Use specialty storage options for specialty gear

A lot of gear gets stored in the garage because it’s difficult to store. Fortunately, many garage storage companies have recognized this and have come with ingenious ways to help us stay organized in the garage.  Consider using bike hooks for bikes, ski racks for skis, etc.

6. Keep it under control

Just because you organized it once, it doesn’t mean it’s going to stay organized – unless you take the time to put your gear back where it belongs when you have finished playing with–I mean, using–it. And using my kids’ strategy of “But Mom, I’m still playing with it!” is a kids’ strategy that often doesn’t work because life gets in the way or we’re called to another fun thing to do before we get back to the original activity. It should take barely any time to put it away and you’ll know exactly where it is when you need it again. If it’s too difficult to put back, you probably won’t, so find a different solution or make it easier somehow.

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