Business

How to ... Organize your garage

Ron, left, and Pam Hacker stand in the garage of their rental house in Sudden Valley. Garages are rarely built with shelving, so every time the family moves, Ron starts by building more shelves to make room for his toys and the family cars. 

"We put things we want to store in labeled storage bins, and we only keep the items we need to use.”  
Pam Hacker, 39, Bellingham
Ron, left, and Pam Hacker stand in the garage of their rental house in Sudden Valley. Garages are rarely built with shelving, so every time the family moves, Ron starts by building more shelves to make room for his toys and the family cars. "We put things we want to store in labeled storage bins, and we only keep the items we need to use.” Pam Hacker, 39, Bellingham NIKI DESAUTELS THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

“Pick a sunny day, lay down some tarps and organize your things, putting like items together, such as gardening equipment, seasonal items and sports equipment,” says Julie Clarke, a Bellingham resident for the past 26 years and owner of Organized At Last, a professional organizing business.

  • The key to organizing is learning to live with less, says Clarke. “Get a dumpster delivered to your home so you can get rid of things that have been sitting for years and can be trashed. Consider giving things to family or friends if you don’t need them, or alternatively, donate them to a charity.”
  • Inventory your garage possessions and design the ideal storage space you need around those items,” says Sam Drake, owner of Drake Closet Design in Bellingham, and a city resident for 32 years. “No one has the same sorts of things in their garage, so tailor your storage space to your needs.”
  • If your garage is really packed and you’re struggling to visualize what the ideal space will look like, Drake advises picking up a computer program. “There are programs out there that help you get a visual idea of how your garage will look and function, without dropping a lot of cash before you do something,” he says.
  • If you have high ceilings, consider utilizing some of that space above the garage door to store bikes or to hoist a kayak up and out of the way.
  • Opt for adjustable shelves where possible, says Drake, and choose cabinets with doors on them to keep things looking tidy.
  • “Make sure your garage is finished off with wall board, as it gives it better insulation,” advises Alan Stone, 78, a retired optometrist and resident of Bellingham since 1968. “One thing we haven’t done is finished off the inside of the garage, and so in the winter, it’s colder in there than I’d like it to be.”
  • Finally, most hardware stores sell hooks and items you can use to hang your brooms and gardening tools together.
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