Storage Space Tips & Tricks

Is your home and/or garage filled with stuff? Are you trying to decide if you need a bigger home or a storage shed or just get rid of some of it? As we drive around town looking at neighborhoods and houses, we frequently drive by houses with the garage door open, showing it packed with boxes and stuff, with no room left for the vehicles sitting in the driveway. One of us will say, remember when we lived like that?!?

For the most of the first twenty years of our marriage, we lived in Springfield, Missouri. We bought a home Roger’s Dad had built. It had a two car garage – filled with stuff. Bikes, toys for kids and adults, boxes – lots of boxes of stuff, coolers, and more – no room for one car, much less two.

Our cars sat in the driveway. We warmed them in the winter before driving them, and we scraped the ice from the windshields. We had a two-car garage that would have made our life so much easier, but we had so much stuff, there was no room at the inn for our cars.

We finally wised up, decided to clean out our garage, and move the cars indoors. Not many weeks passed before a friend had an emergency and needed a place to store his stuff for a few weeks, plus he needed to sleep in our spare bedroom. So, our cars moved back out to the driveway. He finally moved out, but within a few weeks, another friend moved all his stuff in, and again a friend was sleeping in the spare bedroom. We have no regrets for helping our friends, but cleaning out our garage was such a blessing, we’re recommending everyone do it.

Move your cars indoors

It’s safer and more convenient for you to park in your garage. Once that door comes down, you can safely unload your babies, your packages, and you. Your car will be protected from the weather and vandals, which could damage the paint job and more. Plus your car’s inside temperature will be more comfortable when you enter it in the garage, rather than the temperature it is after sitting in the weather outside. No windshields to scrape – another thing I love!

When you’re selling your home

When you’re ready to sell, all that clutter and piled up storage has to be dealt with. Before you are ready to list your home with a Realtor, it’s time to get your home ready to show. Time to throw away some stuff, have a garage sale, donate items to a local charity, and box up the rest to organize what’s left. If there’s too much, you may want to rent a short-term storage unit. Your home will sell faster if it isn’t packed full.

When you’re buying your dream home

If you know you like to store lots of stuff, look for a home with loads of storage. Some homes have lots of attic space, and it’s really convenient if it’s a walk-in attic, which makes it easy to move things in and out of the attic. Other houses have storage spaces under the house or under the deck. Outdoor sheds or garages with lots of hooks and shelves are another way to store things you can’t part with right now.

Want a better living area in your current dream home?

I used to hang on to everything we ever purchased, thinking I’ll need this sometime. A few years ago, we moved from a big house to a smaller condo. That move required us to downsize our belongings to fit in this smaller dream space. After downsizing, I found I was happier with less stuff to keep up with and crowding our life. Here’s the same steps every organizer recommends, but I won’t ask you to thank your items before you discard them. That’s silly!

  • Trash Pile: If it’s broken, it’s trash. If it’s expired or outdated, it’s trash. Be brutal about throwing things away that just stay in boxes. If it lives in a box – it’s probably trash.
  • Sell Pile: We all have some good stuff, that we just don’t part with because it’s worth something. Anything someone would pay you some money for, add it to the sell pile. You can have a garage sale, sell items online, or hire a consignment store to sell it for you.
  • Donate Pile: This is things that aren’t worth much, but a local organization would love to offer it to the community at a discount.
  • Keep Pile: You need to keep only the things you use regularly or seasonally. This includes holiday decor, gardening and yard equipment, family toys – skis, bikes, and more. Don’t keep things just because they fit in these categories. If you have some boxes of holiday decor that you no longer use, put those in one of the other piles.

Your Dream Garage …

Nothing is better than having a garage with a garage door opener where your car is parked, and you can conveniently use as you come and go from your home. It’s worth it to install some shelves and hooks and more to store things on the outer edges and above your cars. Folks are even installing car lifts in their garages, to park extra cars above the ones they drive daily.

If you are living like we used to, we challenge you to take steps to declutter your home and garage, and move your cars into the garage. We think it will make you smile, just like it did us.