Is your garage a dumping ground?

A well-known professional organizer named Barbara Hemphill says, “Clutter is postponed decisions.” Let’s think about what this means. Here are a few examples of postponed decisions.

You have a pile or bin of shoes that you don’t wear often, but you cannot make up your mind which ones to keep.

You purchased a comforter for the spare bedroom, but you did not like the color and now it’s too late to return it.

You have a box of supplies for a former hobby and you think you might go back to that someday.

You have boxes of old financial records, which you brought from your old house when you moved (twelve years ago).

So, what do you do with these “think about it later” items? You put them in the garage, of course. 🙂 What happens when your garage is too full? You park your car in the driveway.

Today, I want to challenge you to think differently. Don’t think of your garage as a dumping ground. Think of it as a combination of tool storage, long-term storage, maybe laundry and…car space! Take a good, hard look at the things that you have stored there and ask yourself these questions:

For the garage in general:
Is my garage functional?
What activities need to be performed in the garage?
What have I dumped there that does not fit those activities?
Can I locate the items that I need?
How do I want to “spend” my space?

Deciding whether or not to keep an item:
Does it still fit my life?
When was the last time I used it?
How would I feel if an item were gone?

Organizing a garage is not a fun project, so I recommend that you break it down into very small projects. Try looking at one box or shelf at a time, and weed out things that you have postponed. I realize that some of these decisions can be difficult, or we would have acted on them earlier instead of dumping it into the garage. But, the box of financial records will not get any easier to purge, nor will donating the comforter get any easier. Aim for a gradual reduction of your overflow and eventually your car will fit in the garage again. Going forward, try to make those difficult decisions as they arise, instead of using your garage as a dumping ground.

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