Sunday, July 14, 2013

SORTed lives ~ garage

This lucky home owner has a large, walk-in closet with ample shelving located in her garage. . . perfect for storing holiday decorations, luggage, camping and skiing supplies, hardware and tools.  The family had like items grouped together on this open shelving, but the lack of clear boundaries and insufficient storage containers made it hard to maintain order. 

Garage Shelves :: Before
Garage Shelves :: After

We started by removing everything from the space and grouping like items together.  Some items, such as a few rogue holiday decorations, already had a home elsewhere in the garage.  These items were returned to their true homes.  Everything else was grouped into categories, and we used post-it notes to name each group.  Once everything was cleared out, we gave the shelving a quick wipe-down.  Then, we began the task of choosing containers for each category based on how much we had of that item and when/how it is used.  Closed containers with lids hold less-often-used supplies, helping us to take advantage of more of the formerly wasted vertical space.  Open containers were used for more frequently used products.  These labeled bins act as drawers, so homeowners can pull them out to see all the contents inside.  Once everything was sorted, we no longer needed the large space-eating bins on the left in the "Before" picture, which opened up quite a bit of floor space and made the shelves more accessible.

Garage Shelf :: Before
Garage Shelf :: After

This shelf just outside the kitchen door holds flower pots, glass vases, kids' art supplies and toys for the pool. In the "Before" picture, you can see that lots of vertical space is lost on the vase shelf, and lack of boundaries makes other items hard to access. Overflow items end up on the floor or wherever space can be found.

Again, our process involved removing items shelf-by-shelf and grouping like items together.  The homeowner decided to purge some of her vases and flower pots.  Once we identified the items to keep, we decided that flowerpots would remain on the top shelf. On the second shelf, we added a shelf extender, which decreased the surface area needed for vases by almost half. We then sorted children's art supplies and grouped them in bins and large 12x12 sterilite drawers. On the bottom shelf are pool toys and a pot too heavy for the top shelf, and underneath that are coolers and potting soil.  Everything is much more visible and accessible, and we added storage to encourage putting items back where they belong.

Here's a close-up of the art supply shelf:

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