Feeling Disorganized?

How’s your garage looking?
Someone recently asked me what projects I’ve been doing.
“Not much.” 
She didn’t believe me.
Just working on junk.

Maybe you need encouraged to work on your junk.
Maybe you don’t even know where to start.
Maybe this might help.

When we moved, the garage was the most depressing place to pack. I'd go there, look at everything. cry and leave.
My boys did most of it.
I had no idea whose junk (or precious stuff) it was, nor what it did or even if it worked.

Though we did not move most of it, some of it came with us.
Much of it I would never use, but they were great tools—rachet sets, chains (that could hold an engine), you know the assortment that comes with garages.
Some day I dream of getting rid of stuff that we don't use—
But right now, we're still in the "this is one of the boy's, don't know if he's finished with it yet, but...we should hold onto it" mode.
For example:
Jeremiah's building a hamster cage from a hutch. Bits and pieces of wood scattered everywhere....
But we won't "muzzle the ox if he's treading the corn", right? (That's a proverb somewhere.)

Or Josh's projects. Using pertain to his truck or welding. Welding is limited here. Not enough space. But when his truck needed a radiator, he changed. 

I had made 2 ft x 3 ft framed pegboards that mounted on the garage 2 x 4 frame in Squaw Valley.
They did great with magnets to organize the tools so we could see them at a glance.

Here I can’t mount anything on the walls. They’re brick. 
We borrowed someone’s mortar drill. The screws pulled out.
Someone suggested that we had drilled into the mortar instead of the brick…sounded too complicated for me when I couldn’t see where the screw was going….
Instead we had a mess.
Out of desperation I bought a piece of pegboard, painted it, attached the same magnets that worked in California. (Magnets bought from Harbor Freight.)
And leaned it against the wall.
Here’s what we got.

I’ve seen people draw the outline of what belongs on the pegboard so that it can be returned to its “rightful” place.
That never would work for us. Too much effort. But I can return it to any space where the magnet open.
I could almost throw it in the direction of the board and have it hit a spot (though not recommended).
But I have suggested it to a few people when they can’t seem to at least return it to the garage.

Jeremiah organized all the screws, hardware, etc into Harbor Freight containers. Josh welded a framed storage unit for me.
You can see that at the far right of the next picture.

We also got a small shelving unit—so nothing but the tools could fit on it, so it would not become a dumping place for everything.
Don’t look too closely at the picture, because you can see where I’ve dumped screws and loose “stuff” ‘cause there’s nowhere else to put it—yet.

But we still had a lot of “junk.”
Bought more pegboard, and magnets, and since we have brick everywhere, Jeremiah helped create this:

The shelves above them are only 4 inches wide, so nothing gets lost behind it.
Looked for ways to store spray paint. Most ideas used time-consuming plans to cut slots or build pockets—too much work–but two strips of magnets holds them.
And I will know what I have already, so I won't buy more (here's to hoping).

We still had “stuff” taking up floor space.
I put the pressure washer, shop vac and air compressor on shelves so they take up less floor space.
(People do the same thing—stacking the lawn mower and snow blower.)
Here’s that:

We’re making progress.

Maybe someday our projects will use more time doing the projects rather than looking for the tools and hardware to do the project!

My garden stuff was also becoming unruly. I bought a hutch from the thrift store.
Here’s the before and after pictures of that project. (Beside the after, is also a shelving unit for those buckets.)

Not everything fits, in fact, we put up this so I can hang my hoses when winter comes. Other chains await more hoses. (Chains are plastic.)

Feeling disorganized?
Making progress.
Not perfect.
But now we can walk through the garage without tripping over stuff in the dark.
Some day we may even get rid of tools we don't use. Maybe....

Perhaps I should start on the kitchen...on second thought, that's depressing.


If you want more ideas for children's clutter see my article Tips for Clutter Management.
Though written in 2015, it has many helps for managing toys, clothes and clutter.

Displaying all 4 comments

Next time you're in CA you can stop by and tell me how to organize my office. Bob has the garage, barn, everything super organized, being just a "bit" OCD! But my stuff is the problem and I can't seem to get on top of it. At the same time, I'm thinking that someday it won't matter, I won't be here, and someone can burn all these papers! Fortunately, Bob's late wife was also rather unorganized and he is used to it, so very seldom says anything about my messes. And if it's a choice between sorting papers or getting together with family or friends, I choose the latter. Thanks for the article, though, it does encourage me to look around my office to see what I might do to make it better. Sometimes we just need to look with fresh eyes.

Sonya, I love the solutions you have come up with! We are in a similar situation. Most of our children have moved out, but all of their belongings haven't. You wrote quite a while ago about feeling the need to downsize, but didn't know why. I had that same feeling at the beginning of this year. We put new flooring throughout our home in May which was the perfect opportunity to get rid of things since we had a 30ft bin in our driveway. The folks at the local thrift stores know my vehicle well. Now I know why I was prompted to downsize. We are moving from a 2700 Sq ft home with a 300 Sq ft shed and 2 car garage to a 1560 Sq ft mobile home with an 80 Sq ft shed and no garage! I am so grateful to be moving so we can free up our resources (time, money, mind space). Your articles encourage me regularly!😊

I write about what you---
women, wives and moms---
about your family, faith and future.
I write about what's hard, what helps and what heals.
I show you how it's done. And not done.
I hold your hand as you find what matters to the Savior.
And let go of those things that mattered to you, but not to Him.
I write about what Him.
               Sonya Contreras

Author of Biblical fiction, married to my best friend, and challenged by eight sons’ growing pains as I write about what matters.

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