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It’s not unusual to go into a garage and wonder how it became a toxic waste dump. Let’s face it, the most convenient thing to do is cram anything and everything in there when there’s no room for it in the house.

Let’s get that garage straight. Organization will make it less cluttered and more presentable. Secondly, you avoid potential accidents when your stuff is neat. Get busy with these four steps.

Use Space Smartly
Take advantage of ceiling and vertical space. After you’ve taken everything out, organize items by groups, including a group of what you’re getting rid of. If possible, box groups, even if they’re already in boxes. As best you can, group and label. When you begin stacking, start in the farthest corners and go floor to ceiling. The goal is to create organized storage while leaving physical space to maneuver and find things.

Prioritizing
Create a layout based on a criteria that suits your needs. Think of it in terms of real estate and “location, location, location.” Items most likely to be needed should be toward the front and higher up on stacks, or within reach on shelves. Be careful of your garage door system. Boxes that are too close to the sensors can keep your Best Doors from opening as they should. Coincidentally, stacking items too high to the roof can have the same consequence.

Recycle and Discard
This will likely be the tough part: donate or trash items you don’t use or that don’t fit into any of your categories. The reason our garages become so cluttered is because our first instinct is to save a broken bar stool for repair rather than just get rid of it. If you don’t want to throw certain things out or you have a project for them in mind, save their storage for last so that they’re always visible.

Use Innovative Spacing Systems
Create a system of modular storage or built-in cabinetry. You can put in mounted pegboards and wire grids for garden tools and sports equipment. Overhead shelves can be mounted to the ceiling. If you have clothes, buy sealing bags that can be compressed with a vacuum cleaner.

Once you have the garage organized, keep a close eye out. It will be easy to end up back where you started. An organized garage will be especially helpful if you use your garage for parking. You want enough room for a vehicle without being cramped or knocking things over.

This post was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. Check the blog daily for top real estate tips and trends.

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