My client Elisabeth invited me over this summer to help her get her two-bay garage in order. Years of procrastination had led to a non-functional space that was poorly utilized for family and work needs. In three hours we turned this large space into delightful instead of frightful. We created “Homes & Zones” where anyone in the family would know where to find things, with access to anything in seconds and the ability to return items to their homes easily.

A few “before” pictures…

"before" garage
"before" image

I taught Elisabeth my SSPOE (Sort, Select, Purge, Organize & Equalize) methodology and then we took about an hour to empty most the garage contents (except for the really heavy things) onto her driveway into categories that made sense to her:

THE BIG SORT

  • Professional products and items for Elisabeth’s career
  • Seasonal Decor
  • Seasonal Gear
  • Overstock Kitchen and Pantry
  • Sports
  • Power Tools
  • Toys
  • Furniture

Once the sorting was done, Elisabeth made thoughtful decisions on each category of what she wanted to keep. Then she:

GOT SELECTIVE

Now that her decisions were made, we knew what was staying in her garage and what was not. We did the “purging” which does not always mean garbage. In this case, our “letting go” consisted of these categories:

PURGING

  • Donations
  • Sell (on social media)
  • Junk Removal – we hired a junk removal truck which we pre-scheduled since there were large items her town’s department of public works would never pick up such as the old refrigerator, broken furniture and old filing cabinets
  • Belongs Elsewhere – For example, the “keep” furniture moved to the proper spaces inside her house and the sell furniture left with their new owners by the curb

ORGANIZE

Only after the Sorting, Selecting and Purging, did we Organize the garage by moving the items categorically into their new homes. We created designated areas for:

  • Professional Work
  • Tools
  • Overstock Pantry and Party Supplies
  • Utility
  • Seasonal Decor
  • Seasonal Gear
  • Home Decor
  • One Parking Spot
  • Family Fun Time – We placed items like the ping pong table and bikes in one garage bay near the garage door so the family could easily access these for daily play
  • In Process – We reserved a spot in the other garage bay by the garage door so Elisabeth could follow up on these items that we deemed homework such as fixing items she really did want to keep or giveaways to specific people

“After” pictures…

garage "after"
garage "after"

EQUALIZE

So here is the last step in an organizing endeavor…How will Elisabeth and her family keep the garage in order, balanced, tidy and organized? By consistently being mindful of what goes where and always returning items after use to their designated homes. Of course, life will change and she will have to adjust new items coming in and going out but if her family can think categorically and always keep “Like With Like” as well as being mindful of the “One In, One Out” principle, the garage contents can remain in relative harmony. And should the garage fill up with clutter in the future, she can always resort to going back to a day of SSPOE!

Elizabeth WolfsonThank you to my client, Elisabeth Wolfson, who let me tell her story!

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