Most people seem to need a compelling reason for cleaning and organizing their garage. Sometimes, a beautiful summer weekend offers the perfect opportunity for what may seem like a daunting task. But summer is gone and fall is upon us.
Other people choose to wait until January 1, “guaranteeing success” with a New Year’s Resolution. Well, that’s a lame excuse.
According to a 1989 study by John Norcross at the University of Scranton, a mere 25% of those who make New Year’s resolutions keep them for even two weeks (really!).
Ready to get organized? Read on…
Get Organized. Just Do It!
Long before Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign became popular, my grandfather always told me this: “If you want to do it, do it.”
If that’s not a good enough reason, here are 10 great reasons to organize your garage in the fall. Maybe one of them will work for you.
- Park Your Car InsideThe weather is changing. Wouldn’t it be nice to park your car in the garage?If you park your car on the street in front of your home rather than in your garage, for example, you may pay higher car insurance. Even if the savings is minimal, parking inside your garage reduces the likelihood of theft, vandalism or an accident—and it might even lead to peace of mind.More importantly, it’s great to come home from the grocery store, pull into a clean, well-organized garage, and walk your groceries into the house without having to deal with rain, snow, hail or other weather events. Even if the Arizona and Southern California readers might not care about this one, those of us who live in rainy or snowy areas tend to care a lot.
- Throw a Holiday Party In The GarageIf you have never had a Halloween party in your garage, you are missing out. Imagine yourself (or your kids) bobbing for apples, competing in a pumpkin carving contest, strutting their stuff in a costume contest, or even having a dance.Spilled food in the garage is a lot easier to clean up than it is in your house. Ever played the doughnut on a string game, where participants have to eat a doughnut hanging on a strong? Imagine the mess it would make in your house.
- Beat the New Year’s Resolution RushNew Year’s resolutions are overrated. Seriously. How many times have you made and broken a New Year’s Resolution? The very thought of it makes me cringe. If you need hard facts, re-read my opening remarks for this article.This year, just decide you are going to clean and organize your garage and start today. Don’t make a “resolution.” Just make a choice and get busy. You can save your resolution for diet attempt number 29 or something.
- Create a Place For Your Winter WorkoutExercise is important, but few do it on a regular basis (another broken resolution). Sometimes it’s due to laziness, but sometimes it’s because we don’t feel like we have a place to exercise.Even if you have a gym membership, maybe you hate battling traffic there and back, as well as waiting in line for a machine. Adding an exercise mat or a few weights in your garage is a quick and easy solution to this problem.Try bodyweight exercises, a stretching program, or a yoga workout. You might even find that you exercise more at home and you can cancel your gym membership, saving you money as well as time.
- Have a garage sale and pay for Christmas!Think about it: every year when Christmas rolls around, we have unexpected or unbudgeted expenses that linger far longer on our credit card bills than they should.Try something different this year. Clean out your garage and sell the c.r.a.p. (stuff, junk, shizzle, etc.) you aren’t using or no longer need. You might be surprised at how much of this year’s Christmas haul you could pay for . . . in cash.You don’t want to have a garage sale? No problem. Sell your stuff on ebay or Craigslist, or to a friend. The point is to clear it out and pocket some cash in the process.If you haven’t used that electronic keyboard you were going to learn to play, or that inversion table you were going to hang upside down on, sell them. Seriously. Put the money in your pocket and pay for this year’s Christmas gifts in cash.WARNING: Don’t spend your new-found money on a load of new stuff that you won’t use.Buy something useful. Like a parking mat for your car. Or a vacation. Or a pet rock.
- Build a WorkshopIf Ana White can make stuff in her garage, so can you. It doesn’t take much space and your husband or wife will love that new book shelf they always wanted you to build.The first thing I ever built for my wife was a bench that sits in the entry of our house. It has three storage bins below, where we store shoes, dog leashes, reusable shopping bags, etc.My wife loves her bench, and our friends think I’m pretty talented (it wasn’t that hard, but I don’t need to share that with my friends).
- Start a Hobby or Rekindle an old one.When was the last time you actually participated in a hobby-like activity? You know, that thing you would enjoy if you weren’t at work or binge-watching old episodes of Seinfeld on Hulu.If your garage was clean and well organized, you might actually be able to find that remote-controlled model airplane you always wanted to build. And then build it.Maybe you would start tying flies for that fly fishing thing you used to do. Then, maybe, you might actually go fishing.C’mon, you know you would enjoy a hobby if you had a place for your stuff. Just do it.
- Be the envy of your neighborhood.Wouldn’t it be nice, just once, to have your neighbor stand outside your garage and say something like, “Wow, your garage looks great! I wish mine wasn’t filled from wall to wall with everything but my car.”Maybe this is too shallow a reason for you, but it works for me.
- It’s just easier when the weather is still nice.If you live in Phoenix, Arizona, or Palm Springs, CA, this doesn’t apply to you. In fact, I’m hoping you will invite me over this winter when it’s raining in Portland and you are enjoying 80 degree weather (sorry, I just love the warm weather in those towns and I can’t help but poke a little fun).For the rest of us, it’s much easier to move everything out of the garage (the best way to thoroughly clean and organize it) when it isn’t raining or 10 degrees outside.You might even have a chance to meet the guy who lives next door. The guy who, two weeks later, will walk by and say, “Wow, your garage looks great! I wish mine wasn’t filled from wall to wall with everything but my car.” Yes, that one.
- Organize Your Garage. Free Your Mind. Enjoy Your Life.This could be the most important item on the list. Clear the clutter and clear your mind so you can enjoy the precious gift of life.
“. . . physical clutter in your surroundings competes for your attention, resulting in decreased performance and increased stress.”
That’s a quote from this article on Life Hacker, with ample source material from Princeton University, UCLA, and others.
Some may argue against it, but it’s no secret that managing too much stuff in our lives leads to stress, poor cognitive ability (fuzzy thinking) and a generally lower quality of life. And it can all change with one long weekend of cleaning your garage.
We have “one wild and precious life” to live, and we don’t have to live it in the midst of our piles and piles of useless or unused stuff. Take a chance, invest a little time in organizing your garage, and it might just change your life.
Turn over a new (fall) leaf, take one small step in the right direction, clear out your garage, get rid of what you don’t want or need, pay for Christmas in cash, and start enjoying life just a little more.
And quit watching so much Hulu. Sheesh.