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Angie’s List: Reclaiming Your Garage

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jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Do you dread going into your garage because it’s filled with clutter? Well, that mess may not be your only problem. In this week’s Angie’s List, Jim Donovan explains how a disorganized garage could be costing your money and shares some suggestions for getting it back in order.

“If you think about it, if you have to have your car outside because you have too much stuff inside your garage, it’s actually causing wear and tear on your car. Also, all of us hate to admit it, but sometimes we end up buying things that we already have because we can’t find — the tool, for example,” says Angie’s List founder, Angie Hicks.

But getting a disorderly garage back in shape isn’t always easy.

“If you don’t have time to get your garage organized yourself, it might be worth investing in a professional organizer. You need to talk to the organizer to determine what they can bring to the table and make sure the outcome is going to be something you’re going to be able to live with,” says Hicks.

Once your stuff is sorted, it’s a time to put it away. Wall storage is a great way to keep your floor clear. Items like this grid can be a big help.

“It’s today version of peg board. It’s a good, strong, functional, cost-effective way to hang things on the wall,” explains professional organizer, Tom Fleming.

Installing slat board is another great option.

“You can do it in small sections…or panel your whole walls, but there are lots of accessories including shelves,” says Fleming.

More from Angie:

Reclaiming your garage space

Ceiling storage: Overhead storage is a great way to instantly gain space in your garage. These storage devices consist of a wire rack that hangs from your garage ceiling. Different sizes are available based on your needs, and most are rated to hold hundreds of pounds.

Wall storage: Wall storage is great to store tools and loose items that would be lost on the garage floor. You can find kits that are specifically designed for tool storage, or you could even invest in wall-bolted cabinets or wire basket storage. When organizing, group like items together. If using boxes, be sure to label the outside so you won’t have to dig through all of them while looking for one specific item.

Epoxy flooring: This provides a clean, finished look to your floor. The hardened, high-gloss polish resists scuffing and abrasions. Epoxy flooring comes in a variety of colors.

Professional organizers help homeowners sort, purge, categorize and put items back in a way that makes the most sense to the individual. They will often discard unwanted items, either by donating them to a charity or consignment shop or posting items for sale online. Some organizers sell storage products and install them, while others handle the de-cluttering and bring in help to install cabinets and perform other tasks.

Hiring an organizer

Do your research: Typically, a license is not required for a professional organizer, so essentially anyone can say they can organize your home. Do your research to be sure you’re hiring someone with experience and a good local reputation. Angie’s list and professional organizations like the National Association of Professional Organizers can help guide you to the right local person. Ask if they specialize in garages.

Meet up: Many professional organizers offer a no-charge, no-obligations consultation, which allows you to meet the person who will be in your home going through your space. Ask questions about their experience and their ideas for how best to organize your home. If you don’t feel comfortable with them, hire someone else.

Payment: Find out how they charge, if it’s by the hour or by the project, and if there are additional charges for things like storage products, epoxy floors, custom workplaces or disposal/donation fees.

Find out if there is anything you should buy before the job begins. What tools do they use? Some organizers use 3D design software that can give you an idea of what your space will look like.

What happens to your stuff? If your organizer will dispose of your unwanted items and it’s important to you that they’re donated or recycled rather than trashed, make sure your organizer knows that and will do what you want. Also, ask about any hazardous waste, which much be disposed of properly.

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