A cluttered garage can cost you more than space


The garage ranks as one the most disorganized rooms in the house, according to several highly rated professional organizers on Angie's List.  It can become a dumping ground for toys, sports equipment and tools.  But that disorganized garage may be costing you more than just space.

Here's how clutter could be costing you: How much time have you wasted looking for things you know you have, but can't find?  Have you ever bought a duplicate item just because you couldn't find it?  And are you parking your vehicles outdoors because there's no room in the garage?  If so, that's wear and tear on your vehicles.

Angie's List asked highly rated organizers how to keep the clutter from crowding out the family car.

Angie's List Tips: Reclaiming your garage space

  • Ceiling Storage: Overhead storage is a great way to instantly gain space in your garage.  These storage devices consist of a wire rack that hangs from your garage ceiling.  Different sizes are available based on your needs, and most are rated to hold hundreds of pounds.
  • Wall Storage: Wall storage is great to store tools and loose items that would be lost on the garage floor.  You can find kits that are specifically designed for tool storage, or you could even invest in wall-bolted cabinets or wire basket storage. When organizing, group like items together. If using boxes, be sure to label the outside so you won't have to dig through all of them while looking for one specific item.
  • Epoxy flooring: Provides a clean, finished look to your floor. The hardened, high-gloss polish resists scuffing and abrasions. Epoxy flooring comes in a variety of colors.

"If you don't have time to get your garage organized yourself it might be worth investing in a professional organizer," said Angie Hicks, founder of Angie's List. "You need to talk to the organizer to determine what they can bring to the table and make sure the outcome is going to be something you're going to be able to live with."

Professional organizers help homeowners sort, purge, categorize and put items back in a way that makes the most sense to the individual. They will often discard unwanted items, either by donating them to a charity or consignment shop or posting items for sale online. Some organizers sell storage products and install them, while others handle the de-cluttering and bring in help to install cabinets and perform other tasks.

Angie's List Tips: Hiring an organizer

  • Do your research: Typically a license is not required for a professional organizer so essentially anyone can say they can organize your home. Do your research to be sure you're hiring someone with experience and a good local reputation. Angie's List and professional organizations like the National Association of Professional Organizers can help guide you to the right local person. Ask if they specialize in garages.
  • Meet up: Many professional organizers offer a no-charge, no-obligations consultation, which allows you to meet the person who will be in your home going through your space. Ask questions about their experience and their ideas for how best to organize your home. If you don't feel comfortable with them, hire someone else.
  • Payment: Find out how they charge if it's by the hour or by the project and if there are additional charges for things like storage products, epoxy floors, custom workplaces or disposal/donation fees. Is there anything you should buy before the job begins?
  • What tools do they use? Some organizers used 3D design software that can give you an idea of what your space will look like.
  • What happens to your stuff? If your organizer will dispose of your unwanted items and it's important to you that they're donated or recycled rather than trashed, make sure your organizer knows that and will do what you want. Also ask about any hazardous waste, which much be disposed of properly.