Wait, what?  Most garages are stuffed to the brim, totally disorganized, and badly in need of an overhaul.  Of course we should clean out the garage!

It sounds very strange for a home management professional to say something like that.  But I have actually never suggested that a client clean out her entire garage all in one shot.

By the way, in this article, I use the word “garage” to refer to all long-term storage spaces.  Yours might be the attic, the basement, or a huge closet in a back bedroom, but you know what I mean.

Why not?

First, because most garages store a wide variety of stuff.

The decision making process for camping gear is completely different from Christmas decorations, which is completely different from auto-supplies.  Trying to tackle all categories at once is just plain confusing.

Second, the project would be overwhelming. 

The work involved in bringing the excessive amount of stuff down off the shelves alone takes a whole day.  A huge mess is made, it takes too long to sort through it all, and often it gets put back before any real progress can be made.

Clearly, we must approach cleaning out the garage as we would any huge project: divide and conquer.  But I will take it a step further and say …

 

Divide and Conquer … with Cunning!

As I write this article, we are nearing the end of November.  Which means most of us are decorating our houses with Thanksgiving (and even Christmas) decorations.  When you decorate, you are already doing the physical work of climbing the ladder, bringing down the boxes, and spreading them all out, right?

Let’s take advantage of this golden opportunity!

Take an extra hour or two, and finish the project.  Sort through your holiday decorations, vacuum off the dusty shelves, and improve your organization. 

When you put them back, you will have conquered that category!  (If you know you’ve been needing to completely overhaul holiday decorations, click here for the Home On Purpose Holiday Mini Series!)

Keep your eyes open throughout the year for more golden opportunities.

Are you getting ready for a camping trip?  Don’t just grab what you need for that trip; bring out all of your camping equipment.

Toss that rusty broken camping stove, donate those extra two sleeping bags, and decide once and for all whether it is worth it to buy replacement poles for that old tent.  Only keep the truly useful items and let go of the rest. 

When you come home from the camping trip, dust off those shelves and improve the organization.  You’ve just conquered another category!

Every time you find yourself climbing the ladder in the garage, think of the category you are accessing and pounce on the opportunity to conquer it!  After knocking out the big categories, eventually you will be able to do a clean sweep of the rest.

As I said before, don’t clean out your garage all in one shot.  Instead, divide and conquer with cunning.  By this time next year, you can have a garage that actually makes you smile!

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