Starting Fresh 13: Garages

Each blog post until the end of the year, I will focus on a particular area of clutter, to help guide you in removing unwanted things, activities, and people from your life. The goal is to start 2013 clutter free!

Today's blog post is about the clutter busting the garage. Things have a way of ending up in the garage and getting forgotten about. It can be the place we put things that we don't use and don't know what to do with. We have to encounter this space every time we drive home and pull into the garage. We take that chaotic and stagnant greeting into our home with us. Let's take an honest look at what's in your garage so you feel inspired to let go of what's not serving you.

1. Your car. The garage is the car's room in your home. Your car doesn't need much. A concrete floor suits it well. Your car has no need for heat. Basically your car needs to be protected from rain, sun, and snow.

2. Stacks of miscellanous stuff. Non-car space is often used as a clutter burial ground. We will put things in the garage that are no longer a part of our life, but we are not yet ready to let them go. I've seen garages when I first show up for the job where there is no room for the car because of the vast infusion of stuff. The car has to live in driveway.

Come armed with trash bags and pick a stack, box or pile. Take a deep breath, and turn on the part of you that's discerning and sensible. Select the first item and ask, "Am I still using and loving this or can I let it go?" If you find yourself saying, "I'll decide later" or "I don't know, can't I just keep it here" or "It's not harming anything out here" then that's your subtle way of saying that this thing is no longer a part of your life, and you can let it go.

If you decide you want something, ask, "Would I be okay about bringing this back in my home and making it part of my life again?" If the answer is no, or you're not sure, trust that it's outlived its use for you and it's ready to go.

3. Outdoor stuff/tools.  Maybe you like to keep your lawn mower and other outdoor products in your garage. That's not a problem. As long as they are easy to get to and nothing is on top of something else, hiding what's below, that's fine. It helps to have what you love to use easily accessible.

Sometimes people keep their tools in the garage. It's worth going through your tools and seeing what you actually use. Sometimes a client will discover they have multitudes of flat-head screwdrivers when they only need three. Do you have a jar of screws and nails? I've seen clients want to cling to these jars thinking they need them. But then I ask when was the last time they went through the jar and got out a nail or screw, and they say never, and they let it go.

4. Other people's things/previous owners. Perhaps you borrowed some things from other people that ended up in your garage. Are you actually using these things? Is it time to return them? If you're done with it, call the person right now to set up a time to return the item. This keeps the flow moving forward.

I've had a number of clients find things in their garage that used to belong to previous owners. Paint cans, wooden boards, metal parts. Sometimes these things are hiding in the rafters above the garage. It's worth investigating. Things unseen and not used create a dull and chaotic feeling. Let go of anything you're not using.

As with all the previous Starting Fresh posts, clutter bust at a rate and speed that supports you. It's not about completing it in one session. You can work a half hour, two hours, whatever you choose. The main thing is to be kind to yourself during the process.

Please write and tell me your experiences clutter busting your garage; it helps inspire people when you share.

If you have trouble and get stuck, feel free to call me at (310) 903-1041 to arrange a phone clutter busting session.

Also, if you find yourself benefiting from this Starting Fresh Clutter Busting Workshop and you want to show your appreciation, you can make a donation through the donation button on the upper right sidebar.