Inside the mind of a professional organizer: Garage organization

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed


PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

When I reflect on changing seasons, space planning and organization impacts how I arrange items, especially in the garage.

Prioritize placement of your possessions, and acknowledge if stored items compliment and enhance your lifestyle.

Spring is more than cleaning windows, changing the air filter and performing annual maintenance. It’s the perfect opportunity to evaluate toys, accessories, equipment and storage needs as you and your family bloom with 2022.

A primary goal in the garage is to refrain from “storing” items on the floor — safety first.

Next-level organization includes using wall space and anything on wheels. Rolling shelves, carts and tables allow you to rearrange units easily, based on usage and accessibility. I have three 3-foot rolling counters stored along my back garage wall. I use them daily when loading and unloading my vehicle. During the winter, I use the additional surface space when entertaining — off the ground. It’s a great spot for guests’ “cold” items if the fridge is full. During warmer months, rolling platforms allow for easy garage cleanup.Wall-mounted, interchangeable systems are an effective way to elevate pretty much everything — folding chairs, side tables, 6-foot folding tables, yard tools, snow shovels, garden hoses, weed trimmers and air blowers are just a few items hanging in my garage.Mounted shelves in specific areas offer a perfect opportunity for storage where items are used. Examples include storing garbage bags above the garbage can, keeping a tape gun and utility knife for consolidation of large cardboard (encouraging you to break down shipping boxes to be recycled).Storing lawn shoes in a bin next to the lawn mower prevents grass stains on rugs or dragging yard clippings into the house. Storing garden gloves and pruning sheers for accessibility will encourage you to dead-head or trim landscaping as you notice attention is needed. Lastly, having a surface to place a beverage while working outdoors is wonderful.Pegboards are a great solution for smaller items. If your family has a hard time putting items back where they found them, outline the item. If you’re afraid to commit, tape a piece of paper to the pegboard, and outline the home of the item.Hooks are an absolute must in my home. Command Hooks are the greatest invention — inexpensive, decorative and convenient. I have them near the entry door to dry outdoor apparel and hang guest coats, pet accessories, kids’ bags, you name it.Create a dedicated charging station for tools and yard equipment batteries. There’s nothing worse then weed trimming and have the battery die within minutes. I have four batteries and two chargers. I created a label on the battery shelf to remind me: “Flat = Dead, Side = Charged.”Twice per year, the lawn mower and snow blower exchange spots in storage. Their seasonal home is next to the garage walk-door, allowing for easy accessibility outdoors. Rotating your seasonal equipment is a opportunity to perform annual maintenance and clean.

Getting started

Spring is the perfect moment to create an organized garage.

Start with:

• The 3-D’s (dispose, downsize, donate).

• Remember, the role of the garage is to store your vehicle, tools and outdoor items.

• Remove large items from the area.

• Consolidate small items by category (that additional surface space comes in handy).

• Clean the area: Paint, decorate and customize.

• Create a plan for hooks, shelves, bins and rolling units. Create zones for like items.

• Restock items based on relevance, usage and frequency.

Upkeep and maintenance of your garage is key. Two to four times per year, take inventory of what items you are storing. Acknowledge if you or your family are using items. Toys, games, sports equipment, tools, totes and boxes should be addressed.

Remember the rule: “One in, one out.” More than likely, Christmas brought in new items that will be stored in the garage. What are you removing to make space for your new possessions?

Prioritize your space and make the most of your garage. Who knows? Space gained could allow you to create zones including a TV/music/bar/seating area. How cool would that be? Many are shocked by the amount of space available after removing the non-essentials stored in the garage.

Jessi Bushman is a professional organizer, member of the Iowa Professional Organizers Association and owner of Organizer Jessi in Dubuque. Visit her at or on Facebook at OrganizerJessi. You also can email her at

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