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Garage: The Un-Optimized Frontier

by Oct 4, 2017

If your family is anything like mine was, your car NEVER saw the inside of the garage. The metal exterior shivered in the freezing cold, wondering how existence was without the bitter wind coursing through its tailpipe. Easy mornings (without having to defrost the windshield) may be motivation enough to clean out the garage, but sometimes you just need that extra kick. Introducing that extra kick. Numerous studies have shown that, when given a complicated task, it is more easily tackled when the complexity is broken down into fun, bite-sized pieces. It allows you to think about each stepping stone (with tiny goals) that lead to the ultimate satisfaction; the pleasure of having a clean and organized garage! The first step is discovering what you want to use that garage for. Do you want to turn it into a giant lock box for personal files (and that complicated prequel to Die Hard that you have been working on; the one where John McClane meets the Terminator)? You can turn it into a rough and rustic hardware storage shed that is organized in its disorganization. You may want just a simple place to put your Christmas decorations and garden tools without having to sift through piles of tools, all while treating a major migraine caused by seeing the state of the garage. The other option is to give your car its own room, but that’s no fun, right? Anyway, follow these tips to make that daunting task a bit more bearable.

Create a blank canvas! You are the garage artist. You are the one throwing up that huge door and proclaiming to the heavens “I have a vision!” That vision might only include cleaning up the oil spots and installing some peg board, but a vision you still have! One thing that will throw you off this entire enterprise is chaos. True, the nature of the universe is chaotic, but that doesn’t mean you can’t practice some Zen and move all that junk to the driveway while you think for a few minutes. Starting fresh and with an uncluttered mind is the important first step to cleaning out your garage. You can’t adequately plan, organize, and deliberate if you can’t walk two feet without bumping into a mildewed cardboard box or stepping on an old screw driver (all flat heads. It’s been years since you’ve seen that Philips). The mind is a good reflection of the environment; a tidy garage means a tidy and clear thinking head!

Purge the junk! Sadly, the perfect garage comes with some sacrifice. The step immediately after clearing your mind should be the elimination phase. Understand what can be incorporated into your vision and what should be taken care of. This is all well and good (and incredibly easy) when it comes to old oil pans and frazzled paint brushes, but what about that ancient projector that has been collecting dust under your high school yearbooks? The radio that was entirely phased out when you got a smart phone? There is no sense in abandoning these guys. There are plenty of people on the internet that would love to buy things from you. If you don’t mind meeting someone in person (in a very public place, ideally), you can consider posting the items on Craigslist for a little more cash. You may also sell the items on Ebay, though you must deal with shipping. If you are a bit more old-fashioned, the trader is always a go-to where you can sell the items in one ad or organize an entire garage sale, depending on your needs.

Paint the floor! I know it seems we keep putting of the design phase (AKA the fun part), but all of this is just the primer before your garage masterpiece is created (primer; get it? We’re talking about painting floors). There are tremendous benefits to painting your garage floor. Not only does it look spiffy and professional (like you have your stuff together, literally) but it makes cleaning the whole thing so much easier. Before you start taking on the floors, remove any oil stains by applying saw dust or cat litter onto the spot for at least a day. You don’t want that stuff showing through to make your fresh new paint job look splotchy. You may also want to consider epoxy paint because it’ll make the garage look fancy.

Optimize storage space! One of the things that got you into this mess in the first place was the disorganization. This time around, have a plan for storage. Clearly labeled, plastic bins are a garage staple for organization. If you are lacking some shelf space, it may be a good time to invest. For ultimate space optimization, get some peg board or slatwall so that you can hang general items and tools. You can even put some baskets up to hold smaller loose items. The entire experience doesn’t have to be difficult; it’s simply a matter of organization!