It’s summer! The sun is shining. The sky is a gorgeous, cloudless blue. The temperature is just right to be lounging by the pool… or better yet, the beach.
But you’re not by the pool. You’re stuck in your garage, trying to figure out how your summer toys and warm weather “essentials” have somehow multiplied dramatically in the off-season…
Knee-deep in pool toys, grilling tools, and gardening supplies, you may find yourself reaching involuntarily for the nearest life jacket.
But don’t panic! There’s still hope for warm-weather fun.
First, you just need to make a little room for the stuff in your life that matters most.
(Hint: Definitely not talking about another unicorn-shaped floatie.)
Garage Storage: 5 Tips to Store What You Need… and Find It When You Need It
Even if parking a vehicle in your garage is laughable right now, here are a few tips that will help you make the most of this common outdoor storage space. With your outdoor stuff organized, you’ll be free to enjoy some summer sun.
- Decide what you actually want to store in the garage and what should not be stored there.
- Without clear purpose, storage spaces like garages, attics, basements, and storage units quickly become catchalls for all kinds of postponed decisions. Before trying to tackle the backlog, it’s important to get clear about the kinds of things you do want to store in this space.
- Common categories for garages include items for a trip to the pool or beach (toys, chairs, floats, coolers, etc.), a workbench or area for tools, gardening supplies, camping gear, lawn care chemicals and tools, paint and painting tools, and kids’ outdoor toys or bicycles.
- Items that often do better in closets, or basements include souvenirs, old paperwork, clothing, and sentimental items that benefit from more consistent temperatures (and less exposure to bugs!).
- Pare down to what you actually use.
- How many pool noodles, buckets, shovels, or lawn tools will you actually use this season? Which are unnecessary duplicates or plain old wishful thinking? To kick off the summer season, make room for more fun by paring down first.
- Toss anything broken or misshapen, donate or give away duplicates, and make sure you’re only keeping age-appropriate toys.
- Ensure easy access to the things you use most.
- Do you spend lots of time at the pool? Garden frequently or spend your time taking care of your yard? Prefer to have friends over for summertime cookouts? Your answer determines the best way to store your stuff.
- Focus your storage efforts primarily on ensuring the things you use most are stored together and have clear, functional homes.
- This is also your moment to incorporate containers. Think outside the box! Spare trash cans can contain long-handled tools. Pegboards are great for hanging small items. Sturdy shelving helps maximize vertical space. Small items of all kinds benefit from containers to keep them together. Just don’t forget to label clearly!
- Put it back where it belongs.
- If you want organized spaces, you’ll have to put a little effort into maintaining your storage system. But don’t worry – it’s really not hard. All that’s required is putting things back where they belong as soon as you’re done using them. Ta-da! That way, things are always where they’re supposed to be when you need them.
- At first, it may be hard to remember to do this. If you notice you’ve forgotten to put something away, don’t beat yourself up. Just put the thing back where it belongs. Over time, returning items to their homes will become second nature.
- Also, if there are other people living in your house with you, you’ll want to clearly communicate – probably repeatedly! – the importance of putting things away.
- Plan for an end-of-season shift.
- When the temperatures start to shift, make time to briefly review your summer items. This will allow you to let go of anything that hasn’t survived the season and carefully store the things you’ll use again next year.
Final Organizing Thoughts
Summertime is about traveling, vacationing, spending time together with loved ones, and enjoying the outdoors. Outdoor tools and summer toys are only a small part of that equation. So don’t let them get in the way of real summer fun.
This season, let go of what isn’t serving you, and make room for what matters most. Making new memories won’t take up any room at all, and you can keep them the rest of your life.