No one wants to be inside in the month of May. Flowers have been blooming, the weather is mostly nice and we are tired of being in the house. This is a good time to work on organizing the garage and getting the outdoors ready for summer activities.
Since the Garage is never first on our list of projects, let’s begin there. During the winter it often becomes a temporary dumping ground for items. If this is the spouse’s territory, be sure to work together as a team. God forbid that you should purge or arrange items that were “special”. I have found the most effective way to motivate a spouse is to begin purging and organizing your things. Sometimes the guilt factor is motivating. Sometimes. Regardless, you never really can win a battle with a spouse.
Take advantage of systems that will allow you to organize your items off the floor. It is much easier and faster to clean with fewer items on it. For pennies or hundreds of dollars, you can invest in organizing solutions that will work for you. Check out the home improvement stores for hooks, peg boards or shelving units to hold items that are now stacked on the floor. Be sure to label bins and cardboard boxes used for storage.
Move out items you no longer need. Only things you continually use should be kept. Boxes of old magazines, newspapers, etc. should be recycled. Let’s face it. You didn’t have time to read them before and you won’t later on. There are too many new ideas coming at us everyday and those articles are outdated.
Review the sporting equipment to see if it is still needed. Move on any you no longer use. For those you save, look for specialty hooks, bags and shelves to store those. Be sure to keep children’s things at lower levels so they can access them without your help.
A great plan would be to make room for the car if you have not already done this. Your automobile is probably the second most expensive investment you have made so take care of it. Mark off a space for it on the floor. Identify a wall item or hang a string or chain from the ceiling as a marker for how far you should pull forward.
If outdoor, yard or garden items are kept in the garage, garden tools and accessories, look over each one. Remove rusted, broken or stained plant containers, stepping stones and other garden fixtures. Create racks or hooks for the tools and locate them together in one area. Specialty items are also available to hang rakes, shovels, etc. so they do not get tangled together or take up floor space.
Outdoor furniture may need to be cleaned before using, so check over each piece. Toys that are outgrown or no longer needed can be moved on. If you have water sports equipment or pool accessories, try to store those in good condition in their own area for convenience when they are needed.
Yard art is becoming very popular but be careful you do not allow it to take over. It can become clutter just like anything else. There is nothing more beautiful then flowering or luscious plants, shrubs and trees, so make them your focal point. Adding hanging baskets or a border of blooming flowers can make a significant impact.
Once your garage is cleaned, you may consider a Garage or Yard Sale. Here are some reminders.
**Collect, clean and repair items weeks ahead as you purge spaces.
**Check prices of similar items. Put on price tags and store in a common area. (Preprinted price tags can be found in some stationery stores, dollar stores, etc.)
**Choose a sale date. Join with neighbors if possible for a common date.
**Check community rules and get permits if necessary.
**Arrange for charity pickup or make plans for items not sold.
**Write ad for newspaper, Craig’s List, newsletters, etc.
**Make signs and flyers for bulletin boards and curbs where allowed.
**Obtain sufficient tables, racks, etc. for items to be displayed.
**Get change for large bills and newspaper, bags, etc. for fragile items or large sales.
**Use extension cords for testing electrical items.
**Place pens, paper, calculator, extra price tags, tape, and stapler at check out table.
**After sale, remove signs, clean area and dispose of unsold items as planned earlier.
A few other reminders for May:
Change the a/c filter and have a routine inspection of all its components before the scorching days of summer arrive. Clean ceiling fan blades and give other fans an inspection.
Clean the carpets and floors. They were used and abused all winter and deserve a thorough cleaning. If piles of clutter or stacks of items are on them, consider moving the items to shelving, cabinets or tables. Floors are easier to keep clean when only furniture is on them.