My Garage Is My Kryptonite…What’s Yours?

I truly believe that keeping clutter to a minimum and staying organized are keys to a great home.  While clutter itself doesn’t lead to disrepair, I feel that if you let clutter and disorganization take hold, you increase the risk of letting your house slip away from you.

My wife or I are by no means perfect when it comes to avoiding clutter or keeping things neat, but we’re generally pretty on top of it.

The one area, though, that gets me every time?

The garage.

We have a three car garage.  We have two cars so that leaves us an entire stall of unused space.  You’d think that this would give us plenty of room to keep things organized.

You’d think wrong. At least in my house.

I can’t even post pictures of how bad it gets.  For some reason, the standard process ensues:

  • Sometime in the spring or early summer, I do a full blitz on the garage.  Everything that isn’t bolted down or too heavy comes out of the garage.  The floor gets swept, the cobwebs come down, and everything goes back in only if it has a place.
  • Within a couple of weeks, the entire system starts to fall apart.
  • By the end of the summer, any cleaning that had been done is unrecognizable.  I mean to clean it again, but instead just bring everything in from the winter, leaving it a steaming mess.

I can’t conquer this one on my own.

I should have enough in my arsenal to keep it clean.  I have shelves on the wall.  I have organizational hooks for hanging tools.  I have two shelving units.  I have a workbench.  The third garage means more space.  Yet, it looks like a bomb went off.  I look into my neighbors garage, a two-car garage, and it looks awesome.  And he has most of the same stuff I do (save for he doesn’t have as many toys for little kids as his kids are older…but still).

So this year, I’m enlisting help.

My wife is going to help this year.  And it will be done soon.

I have recognized that part of the problem is simply having too many different places.

Here’s a few issues:

  • I have some stuff for gardening on three different walls.  One wall holds tools on hooks, the rakes and shovels and such, but the opposite wall is where I’ll keep some of those types of items that I use regularly.
  • Small gardening tools for planting or weeding are in one area, but weed killers, plant fertilizers and stuff to prevent rodents is on the opposite side of the garage.
  • Lawn fertilizers are in a completely different area and mixed in with kids toys.
  • Speaking of kids toys, they get moved around as they share space with the lawn mower and bikes.
  • Smaller kids toys are on one wall.  The ones that they play with.  Other toys for going to the beach are on the back wall.

So, I think I’ve recognized problem one.  It’s not re-organizing the stuff and putting it away neatly.  It’s that I have to put it away smartly.  This is where my wife comes in.  She has pointed out that the kids stuff needs to go together.  In one spot.  I laughed and said that the way things were, this wasn’t possible.  That’s when it dawned on me that the system itself is flawed.

So, fairly soon we will be tackling this.  I’m hopeful that with my wife’s assistance, we can not only clean the garage so that it gets clean and organized, but that it STAYS clean and organized for more than a couple of weeks.

What is your organizational kryptonite?  The one area that, no matter how hard you try, you just can’t keep together….

26 thoughts on “My Garage Is My Kryptonite…What’s Yours?”

  1. To stage my house I’ve had to dump around 8 boxes into the garage worth of stuff. I’ve since taken a couple boxes and thrown them away. Feels good!

    My garage is too small to get cluttered!

  2. I don’t really have that much space to get cluttered, and I’m not big on “stuff” so I keep it fairly streamlined. That being said, my kryptonite may just be my fridge/freezer. It isn’t the biggest, and I’m a huge foodie, so I’m always cooking stuff for snacks and future meals. That, and the saver in me buys quite a bit at a time to cut a significant portion off of my food budget which makes the freezer an adventure sometimes. It was ambitious to try and keep each shelf segregated for a different category (fish, poultry, meat, etc) but it didn’t last very long. Good thing is, for the most part, I get to everything before it’s too late and have to dump it.

    • At least you get to it and don’t waste stuff. I’m sure many people aren’t nearly so lucky when cleaning out their fridge/freezer.

  3. My organizational kryptonite? This probably sounds funny, but probably my kids rooms and their toys. Not organized, and stuff finds a way of moving to the family room hourly. Very different than my own personal ways, which are to strive for organization. Hopefully it’s just that they are young, and that the organization gene didn’t skip a generation 🙂

  4. My organizational kryptonite? Me, and DH. We’re both slobs by nature. We try to keep it in check, but then something comes up and we need to clean the public rooms, so stuff gets shuttled to the garage/basement/spare rooom. We’re working on getting things under control as the spare room will be the baby’s room, but it’s pretty exhausting work, all this organizing for two people who are comfortable being disorganized.

  5. My garage is a problem too! It is real easy to put a box up on the shelf and never look at it again. I try to dump a box a year, but I admit I can not stay consistent. Yesterday, I gave my son a couple boxes of stuff he has had at our house for 14 years. Slowly, but surely, I need to work on this this too. Thanks for the reminder.

    • You’re one step further than me. At least you put stuff in a box then put it on the shelf. I just put the stuff directly on the shelf. Chaos of course ensues. Look for something, everything else on the shelf gets pushed down and around or falls off. Ugh. Can’t wait to get it re-organized!

  6. Laundry! If I were a super hero, Laundry would be me nemesis. We have no laundry “room” but a walk-through, so it’s not like I have the option to even let it pile up IN the laundry room. Therefore, it stays in the hampers until I have the time. That’s one of the millions of things I’d like to change about my house. I’d have a huge laundry room with a big sink for handwashing, a big counter for folding, cabinets for detergents and such…these are the dumb things I dream about!

    • We have a pretty big laundry room which definitely helps. No cabinets, just shelves on the wall, but I keep a lookout for some that I could put up on the cheap. 🙂

  7. Glad you realized you needed some help and hopefully your wife can provide it! I think the hardest thing for us is to just fight clutter in the house. Things always end up on flat surfaces and then we never feel like cleaning them.

    • I think she’ll have some good insight. Or at least together we’ll figure some changes that should help. Two heads are better than one!

  8. The garage is probably my number two, but the biggie for us is the pantry cupboard. I try and keep the cereals in one area, crackers in another, mixes and spices in a third, etc….and it always ends up a big, fat jumble of stuff. I can NEVER find the one thing I’m looking for (until about a week later).

    • Our pantry can get pretty unorganized as well. We try to keep stuff on their own shelves, it’s just that things get crazy within their shelves. Cereal and crackers go on the top shelf, but after while, they are fighting for space and taking out the cereal box causes two boxes of crackers to wobble around likely tumbling down on the floor.

  9. My wife & I keep our house organized most of the time. The only exception is my bathroom cabinet under the sink. I have all my extra shampoo, soap, hair products and other items just thrown in there.

    I have a basic idea where to start digging if I need something specific, but I don’t see the point in organizing all of it.

    • The biggest threat I would see here would be that you can’t find something, you think you’re out so you go and buy more, only to find out later that you did in fact have what you were looking for.

      • Guilty! That’s happened on a few occasions. Luckily, I don’t buy 100 of everything when I shop- so the money spent is small.

  10. I love it when things are clean and organized. Last year my husband and I cleaned out our kitchen pantry. Some of the stuff in there was 3 years old. While I didn’t enjoy throwing stuff out that we had paid for, it felt good to clean out the clutter. Now we can keep track of stuff better and make sure we only have what we will use in the near future.

    In terms of our garage, we had a very organized garage at our last house but since we moved here we haven’t been to fussy with it. Things aren’t badly organized, but they could be nicer.

    • Our perishables have a great system where nothing really ever goes bad. I keep that stuff organized with older stuff in the front. I wish I could apply the same principles to my garage!

  11. I can feel your pain; our entire apartment was like that a while back. I’ve put in a ton of time and effort and finally minimized (not extensively) and organized our apartment. I feel so much better and can actually find things now.

    There is this one walk-in closet that was immune to my efforts, but it’s finally cooperating now. Good luck with the garage, sometimes having somebody else help out makes it easier to figure out. 🙂

    • I have achieved organizational success in a multitude of different areas over the past few months. I’m hopeful that one big re-org with my wifes input will allow that to carry over.

  12. My wedding ring is my kryptonite every time I am around an attractive woman 🙁

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