Thursday, May 7, 2009

Does your car fit in the garage?

Now when it comes to garages - ours must take the cake for the largest number of car parts with the pride of place going to the 1930 Ford. There is even a Holden/Ford battle going on in there! So if our garage is a mess we thought there might be a few more out there too. This led us to have a chat with Helen Maguire, Director or Clarity Matters, a fantastic business that specialises in organising and de-cluttering offices, homes and yes garages.

Helen's advice:
Clutter, clutter, clutter! Are you overwhelmed by too much stuff, inadequate storage places and no time to spend on putting things away? Sound familiar? You are not alone in this. Many people have challenges in the area of clutter.

Why do we keep things?
Quite often we keep things that we think we might use in the future, yet in a lot of cases have not used in ages. The reasons for this? We don’t like it; it’s out of date; it relates to a past interest; it’s not appropriate for our present stage of life or it’s broken and we’ve never got around to fixing it.

Sometimes we convince ourselves that we might need it one day – but that ‘one day’ still hasn’t arrived. Maybe we could source a new item cheaply on eBay, in garage sales, or in recycling stores.

The main pitfalls:
Having too much stuff
Not storing things in easily accessible, labelled containers
Not putting things away straight away after use
Not making decisions about specific problem items

Three ways to keep the garage organised:
1. Decide what you really need and get rid of the rest
To help yourself with the clean up process – ask yourself:
Am I really going to use this in the future?
Do I really want all this clutter?
Wouldn’t a spacious, organised garage be a refreshing change?

2. Store what you do want to keep systematically.
Use labelled containers where possible.
Have the items you use frequently in a place and at a level that makes it easier to access – according to your height for example.
Compartmentalise – in strong plastic storage containers, boxes, or on shelves that are easily accessible.
Allow yourself a certain quantity of one particular thing, to avoid having an excess of the same item.
Label the boxes – eg. Hardware items, electrical gear, kids toys, picnic gear, sporting goods – to make it easier to find, use or put away.
Train your children to use your system. Make sure they can get to (reach and position) the boxes they need access to.

3. Make yourself finish the job.
Put the items away in their designated place straight away, because every time one item is left lying around, say on the floor, it soon builds up to a mess with another and another and another. Say it, mean it, do it – finish the job!

How to keep your car tidy and clutter free:
Have a plastic bag for rubbish in the car. Keep a store of them in your garage to easily replace used ones.
Finish the job – immediately on arriving home empty the car of everything you took with you, or have bought whilst out and about and put it where it needs to go,
Have a box in the boot (strapped in) for items that need to remain in the car, for example, first aid kit, supply of kid’s toys, picnic rug.
Use the glove box for items to be kept in the front of the car. Remember to keep tidying it out, especially after big trips.

Happy motoring and safe travels! And remember, your trip has only finished when you have put everything away! You’ll be pleased you did!

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