Cluttered garages – Canberra’s guilty secret?

The top areas our clients ask for our help with are definitely garages and sheds.

Though our uniforms need a good wash afterwards, I love a good garage declutter!

For us, it usually represents a relatively quick win, gives the homeowner back a good volume of usable space and gets the proverbial monkey off their back of not knowing where to find anything among the mystery items lurking within dusty metal shelving.

So why are garages such an issue?

I think that garages are often not viewed purely as functional rooms in of themselves, rather as overflow space when we need to clear out or store items from the home. When people don’t have that have time to sort through items right now, projects for actioning or sorting through later are relegated to the garage floors and shelves.

Garages can also house “guilty clutter” – items that hold sentimental value but have no place in the home.

Sometimes it can be an issue of a lack of free time to sort through everything. Sometimes it can be physical capacity. Sometimes it can be the mental shift of learning to let go of how the “guilty clutter”.

Most importantly, it can be really helpful to view the garage as a functional room worth preserving as usable space in its own right. Some organising professionals such as Peter Walsh take a hardline view that almost nothing be stored in the garage, and that anything that is stored be hung on the walls.

I feel that having a defined staging area for future projects can be helpful and perfection is not necessarily the goal to be achieved. Often “good enough” is good enough for now. However, the stricter you can be on the categories of things which can and can’t be stored in the garage – and the more clearly you identify which uses you’d really like to put your garage to – the better.

For example, a few of our clients have people who help them with their gardens on a regular basis, so we were able to create dedicated “zones” for gardening tools and supplies that were easily accessible to anyone coming in to mow the lawn or help with the garden.

Other people we’ve worked with have simply needed their garage cleared out ahead of their move, making sure that key items were redistributed to people or organisations who would appreciate them.

In any case, the more you have the end goal in mind, the easier it can be.

As it is such a common issue, no matter which suburb of Canberra we find ourselves in, I thought I’d take the opportunity to write a four-part series of short articles on tackling garages, to make the process a little less intimidating.

Stay tuned for the next article: Advice for decluttering your garage.

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