Finding Joy in the Garage

This past weekend, Husband and I tackled the terror, the disarray, the utter chaos that was….THE GARAGE!  This is how I felt *almost* until the VERY end:

me against the garage

I cannot even begin to accurately describe this mess.  Yes, I took pictures.  I will get to that.  NOT ONLY was there ZERO real organization in the garage, but the amount of leaves and sawdust and cobwebs adorning every possible nook and cranny was enough to make anyone shudder.  Not joyful.  ANYWAYS, once again, we covered several categories while out in the garage.  Some that are listed in “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and some that aren’t. We tidied:

  • Tools
  • Paint/painting supplies
  • Gardening supplies
  • Recreational Items (for us: bike gear & exercise equipment)

We have this great “Flow Wall” organizing thing, and some new wall-mounted shelves in the garage-neither of which had yet reached their full potential.  I can tell you that the ONE thing that will truly transform garage space is to hang as much stuff as humanly possible. We’re talking almost nothing on the floor.  We. had. a. lot. of. stuff. on. the. floor.

tools and rec 1
This “before” photo still stresses me out.

We sort of tackled tools first. Husband used to have a big, bulky work bench that we recently got rid of, and his step dad was nice enough to come over and build a new workstation.  So Husband was ready to re-organize the stuff he needs to do his bike mechanic wizardry and other manly tasks.  The first order of business was basically sorting through all the stuff that used to be in his work bench. There is no possible way I could begin to describe how many metal thingies there were.  ‘Tis the nature of bike-mechanic-man-ship, methinks.

tools and rec 5
The joy of tool sorting.  NOT.

I never could have done this on my own!  I wasn’t even really making decisions and I was completely overwhelmed.  And annoying. (Sorry, Husband.)  We had to have several piles going all at once: trash, donation, going to Husband’s step dad, keep and “needs further evaluation.”

EVENTUALLY, decisions were made about each little thingamabob.  Once that was done, I honestly didn’t feel any less overwhelmed.  We had a bunch of larger tools hanging on the flow wall, AND bins stuffed-to-overflowing-with- who-knows-what hanging there too.  So we decided that we needed to get everything ELSE sorted as best we could and clean up all the debris laying around on the floor before we tackled the actual flow wall mess.  As KonMari says: discard FIRST, then organize/put away!  It truly takes WAAAAY too long if you try to organize as you go.  And you can’t exactly sort through things on a floor covered with dust and debris.

All we really did in the first couple hours was just part of the first half of the garage.  The second half of our garage had a bunch of crap lined up against the walls and in two little “cubbies”.

tools and rec 3  tools and rec 4tools and rec 2

As you can see, it was a mish mash of stuff stuffed in every which place.  But our goal with was to have everything in the cubbies or hanging on the walls, in some order that made a lick of sense, and with the things we use the most as easily accessible as possible.

We decided to tackle paints and painting supplies next.  We did some tools and rec 6research and found a Benjamin Moore paint store in our area that would recycle old paint (although not for free).  So, we made a big pile and decided what to keep.  The keepers all went into one storage bin, and we had two bins of stuff to recycle. And of course, new additions to the trash bag.

Once we had sorted through painting stuff, we decided to get EVERYTHING out of the garage so we could sweep/blow out the aforementioned leaves, sawdust and cobwebs. This was no easy task.  We had a leak in our kitchen several months ago that meant our floors needed to be replaced.  We had some other work done in the kitchen as well, and all the cutting of materials took place IN our garage.  I am convinced that THE DUST FROM THAT WILL NEVER FULLY BE GONE.

As pure luck would have it, once we got all the saw-dusty cobweb-covered things out of the garage and onto the driveway, it began to rain lightly.  This of course turned the dust into more of a….mud….paste.  Then the blower died halfway through my blowing.  I wanted to give up.  But alas, I went to get the broom instead.  I swept, I wiped things down that we were keeping and brought them back in the garage, put donation things in the car, and put all the trash at the curb.

Finally we were ready to take everything off the flow wall, and sort kept items to be hung up.  It was MUCH easier to decide what should go where once it was all in piles that made sense. After that, the blower was back in business so I finished up with that. We took a break to shower, eat dinner and get a couple supplies at Home Depot.  And then, after a little stud-finding and nailing and LITERALLY AN ENTIRE DAY…we were done.


These pictures really don’t do it justice!  Suffice to say we both know where everything is, and it’s all organized in a way that makes sense.  No more dread of going out here in search of anything!

We have plans (perhaps in the spring) to buy a garage floor coating kit from Home Depot

garage floor kit
Photo credit:

and transform our floors. But honestly, even just blowing/sweeping it out made a WORLD of difference.  Add a quick wiping off of the baseboards and VIOLA!  A clean looking, well-organized, garage that actually makes me joyful.  I actually LIKE going out there now.  I never thought this day would come.

This is arguably our greatest accomplishment thus-far.  For that, and the lack of leaves that stick to my socks when I take trash out now…I am so grateful.

Until next time…….S




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