May resolution wrap up and an introduction to June’s resolution

It’s difficult for me to believe that today is the last day of May. While I’m certain my calendar isn’t lying to me, I’m still confused as to how the time passed so quickly. Where did you go, May?

My resolution for May was to cut back on my media intake. I only watched two shows in real time and unsubscribed from three magazines. The battery on my cell phone stopped holding a consistent charge, so I was forced to cut back on my phone and application usage regardless of if it was my intention. Also, I was pretty consistent about using a timer to keep me from wasting time on the computer. Overall, I think it was a resolution that was kept well and will be easily continued throughout the remainder of the year.

My goal for June is to get our garage in gear. Our new house has a double car garage and it is incredibly tempting to abandon stuff in there. I tried diligently to not let it become a place where “I don’t want to deal with it right now” items were set during the move, but, alas, some of those things slipped through the doors.

My first goal is to get rid of all the clutter. Anything we don’t need will find its appropriate home on Craigslist, be taken to charity, be recycled, or be thrown away. All the clutter will be gone by Friday, June 10.

My second goal is to organize the remaining items so I can find things immediately when I need them. The items also must be organized so two cars can fit in the garage, even though we only have one car. We have friends and family who come to visit and their cars should be able to join ours. This goal should be met by the end of the month of June.

My mantra: Garages are for cars, not clutter.

If you have a garage, can you fit your car inside of it? Would getting your garage in gear be a good resolution for you for the month of June? I know I’m eager to get rid of the clutter and have a garage that really fits my family’s needs.


Erin’s 2011 monthly resolutions: January, February, March, April, and May.

42 Comments for “May resolution wrap up and an introduction to June’s resolution”

  1. posted by Sue on

    Our garage easily holds our car. It’s detached, so it’s not so easy to just throw things in the garage to “deal with later”. We also keep our riding mower, my husband’s tools, and my garden supplies in the garage.

    We used to have a pile of items left over from a previous yard sale. About a year ago, we threw most of it out. It was liberating to just put it out on the curb rather than try to make some money on it. And it was fun watching the trash pickers clean it out. Not much was left for the actual trash pickup.

    I’m always amused at the number of houses where the expensive cars sit outside in the elements while the worthless junk fills up the garage.

  2. posted by DawnF on

    @Sue: “I’m always amused at the number of houses where the expensive cars sit outside in the elements while the worthless junk fills up the garage.” I know, right? It’s CRAZY!!

    We love the fact that our full-size truck and our small SUV fits comfortably in our garage. We have one wall that has wall-mounted, adjustable shelving for our car care products, lawn/garden products and outdoor toys. On the back wall, we have 2 rolling tool chests and 1 work bench.

    Oh, and the greatest feature of all are our 2 sets of ceiling-mounted, adjustable shelves from Lowe’s. They are so cool! We have our outdoor Christmas lights and seasonal wreaths stored on one and our extra empty storage totes, a fan and some wood pieces (for woodworking products) on the other one. They are insanely awesome – I highly recommend looking into them if you are tight on space.

    Is it weird that I love to organize garages? Maybe I need mental help… LOL!

  3. posted by Sky on

    We are in the process of re-doing our garage. DH is repairing the walls and painting then will add shelves.
    We did away with our shed and will fit everything we need, including the car in the garage and I VOW to keep it clean and keep everything in it’s place.

  4. posted by Karen Goodman on

    I love this idea of having a monthly resolution. I do something similar for business. I meet with a group of other people who are doing the same amount of business as I am and are dealing with similar challenges, and we brainstorm solutions to 2 issues each month. Then each person sets 1-2 goals to accomplish before the next month’s meeting.

    But I have never done anything like it for my personal life. I think it’s time to start.

  5. posted by Jen on

    We have an interesting dilemma with our garage. It used to be a repository for un-broken-down boxes, which one of us would break down for recycling a couple of times a year (terrible, I know), and it would really fill up with empty boxes during those times. I’ve managed to stop the madness there, and there are no more boxes in my garage. Technically there is now room for a car in there (it’s a 1-car attached garage). However, I would think the most useful time to park a car in a garage would be wintertime when it snows. We have a pretty big driveway that is sloped, so we have to shovel it EVERY time it snows, even if it’s just an inch or so, when you might be able to just plow through a flat driveway. So we typically park the cars side-by-side at the top of the driveway so that we won’t have to shovel out the bottom. Add to this that the garage is a bit narrow so it would be tough to get in and out of my car (just a mid-size sedan) if I parked it in there, and it’s hard to get in the habit of parking in the garage. So now it’s mostly just wasted space. I’ve thought about finishing it and making it real indoor space so that it’s usable, but I feel that would hurt our property value….

  6. posted by dixid on

    I just signed a lease on a townhouse that has a 1 car garage. It will be the first time I’ve ever had a garage, and I’m temped to use it for a workout room instead of a parking spot. It also houses the washer and dryer. I’m not certain that I can store my outdoor equipment (camping gear) a weight bench, and the car; but I look forward to the challenge.

  7. posted by Quilting Bibliophagist on

    Ha! It would take me more than a month to organize my garage.

    When I moved, I packed up a bunch of stuff that I didn’t want to deal with at the time and put it in my garage, figuring that I’d deal with it after I settled in. (Yeah, I know that’s a bad technique, but since I’d been recently widowed, I really wasn’t up to making decisions about a lot of “stuff.” Plus, my new house was much smaller than the old one, and I seriously overestimated how much would fit in it. So a lot that didn’t fit in the house also went into the garage.

    The washer and dryer are out there too, so my car lives in the driveway.

    It seems so overwhelming that it’s hard to even contemplate starting the job.

  8. posted by Sue on

    @Jen: a garage comes in handy more than just in the winter. In the summer, it keeps the interior from heating up like an oven. If you live in an area with severe storms, it can also protect the car from large hail or falling tree branches. Plus, it protects the car from bird droppings, falling leaves, pollen, and the like.

  9. posted by Susan on

    Oh, it is WAY to hot to be in the garage in June! But I could bring a box of stuff here and there back into the house and deal with it……. I have to admit after years and years of parking the car in the drive when I got a new car…. probably not my last but close…. I decided it had to go in the garage….. and with effort and the curb pick up….. it does….. and I LOVE my car in the garage……… no more worring about spring HAIL, windows UP, going to drive through in my jammies… dogs walk to car rather than bolt down the street, all in all, very nice.

  10. posted by Jen on

    @Sue – I have considered the benefits in the summertime in that the car won’t be super hot. That’s definitely a plus. But, again, it’s so hard to get in and out of the car because there’s not a lot of room on either side (plus I have a 5 year old son and I just see him slamming the car door into the wall every time he opens it). Also, I forgot to mention, the entrance from the garage ino the house is into a room with very light carpeting – not ideal either. You do make a good point about protecting it from falling branches during storms and things like that though – a rare but preventable occurrence. It’s not preventable for our second car, but that one is 12 years old and not as critical to protect I guess!

  11. posted by timgray on

    I’m proud of my garage. It’s a 1950’s era 1 car garage that holds 1 sports car, 2 motorcycles, 2 recumbent trikes, 2 engines for the sports car (side project, yes the sports car runs), my two rolling tool boxes, and the lawn equipment.

    I had to get rid of a lot of junk that was in there, and be the enforcer of “dont leave it in the garage” for the items that seem to stop and live in the garage on their way into the house.

    And yes, the garage is useable, we can easily walk through it and I can pull the sports car out at any time without moving things. The motorcycles though are too big to fit through the doorway without pulling the sports car out.

  12. posted by Minneapolisite on

    We’re really proud of our garage. We live in a town home development and we’re the only people on our block that can fit two cars in their garage…and we actually have THREE vehicles in there: a Mercury Mariner, a Honda Civic, and a BMW motorcycle.

    I think the trick is using vertical storage (mount storage from ceiling, install shelving/cabinets, hang things on walls). A bonus: the less stuff on the floor, the easier it is to keep it swept clean!

  13. posted by lafou on

    The garage is on top of my agenda for June. A junk hauling company just removed an aluminum garden shed. In the process much was tossed, but garden equipment is now in the garage. The garage needs to be in ship-shape before the winter to fit the car. I bought a Rubbermaid garden tool rack which is was not that expensive, light enough to move and sturdy.

    I cut back on media & life goes on without the news bombardment.

  14. posted by Sue on

    @Jen, how tight is your garage? Is it tighter than your typical parking spot? If so, then I can see why you are reluctant to use it. If not, then it may be good to start teaching your son not to throw the door open, anyway. You don’t want him to damage someone else’s car by being careless in a parking lot. You don’t want him to take out a passing cyclist in a street because he flung open his door (or have the door ripped off by a passing car). So maybe you could pad the wall of the garage by his door until he gets the hang of opening a door more carefully.

    Just an idea.

  15. posted by the other Tammy on

    I love my garage. It is one of the major reasons we purchased our house…a three car (detached, sadly) with a separate workshop. We’ve got space for our 2 cars and for all the extra garden/lawn care/patio furniture/bicycle stuff. It is very uncommon in our old neighborhood to have this kind of space…most of the garages in our area are 1 car dilapidated old sheds. I like not scraping frost or clearing snow off my car. I like the security of being able to lock it up at night.
    My goal is to clear out that third bay so all the lawn stuff is organized, get the bikes hanging up, and get the rest of the resident junk out for good!

  16. posted by Leslie on

    When we moved into our condo, my husband insisted that we be able to park our cars in the attached garage. That was a foreign concept to me since no one parked cars in the garage when I was growing up. It’s been very nice, though, to get in and out of the car out of the rain and wind–not to mention not having to haul kids in and out of carseats while standing in the rain. Plus, when we’ve done home improvement projects it’s been a great place to temporarily stash all the furniture or contents of the kitchen while the work is being done. It’s very easy to back out the car to make room–not so easy to shift a bunch of junk to make room for other things.

  17. posted by Vikki on

    I ‘could’ park my car in my garage. It would fit, no problem (though I do need to do some clearing out). I just don’t have a garage door opener so I don’t park my car there because it is annoying to have to run into the house to lock the garage after I pull the car out of it. I mostly use my garage as exercise space. I do plan to do a clear out of what is there after I finish my office sort and destroy.

  18. posted by Elle on

    We live in a neighborhood with mostly 2-car garages. It amazes me how many people can fit only one or NO cars in their garages. We fit both of ours in, and I agree with those who say that garaging is important in both winter and summer. (DC-area.)

  19. posted by Alix on

    My mom’s been saying for some time that she needs a new shed, since the old one’s falling apart. I said that if she got rid of all the unneeded junk in the shed and garage, the reminder would fit nicely in the garage, with room to spare, and no need for a new shed (thus saving $$$)

    I started helping her this weekend, cleaning out all the household hazmat stuff form the shed, garage and (most of the) basement. And suddenly it was like being in an episode of Hoarders: why do we have five different bottles of floor cleaner (it’s a small house)? Why are we holding on to batteries that expired in 1992? My brother started looking through all the boxes and saying, “Why are you throwing this out? We can use this!” Well, you haven’t used it since 1980, so put it back in the box!!!

    To the recycling center next month: 7 cartons of hh hazmat stuff, 6 *barrels* of wood stain, a TV, computer and several old phones. Whew!

  20. posted by Alix on

    Sorry about the typos above. When I get done with that garage, it will be clean, organized and spacious!

  21. posted by Karen on

    Hey, if you have only one car, in my book you’re permitted to use the second space for something else in the garage: workout equipment, laundry room, workbench, even (gasp!) neatly contained storage! That seems well-balanced and non-cluttery to me, but I can see wanting to keep on top of it as you would anything else in the house.

    Adding to the benefits of parking the car inside the garage: My various California insurance carriers through the years have always offered a discount for a garage-parked car (harder to steal?).

  22. posted by Matt on

    My experience is to get the dream garage everyone wants it takes 1- Planning 2- Persistence 3- Work.
    Every house has a junk drawer and for most people the garage is the ultimate junk drawer. Get ready to laugh because I organize garages for a living and, wait for it….. yes my truck parks in the driveway. However that is because I am addicted to water sports and decided that my boat gets to stay warm, clean, and dry next to my wife’s car. My truck gets to fight for its life outside but I think it understands. To reach this goal I had to store on the walls. Instead of doing the clutter shuffle ( move items from one corner to another) I used the square footage of your walls and stored up! Good luck with the project.

  23. posted by Sue on

    My decluttering technique is to tackle one section (or in the case of the garage–one wall) at a time. It’s less daunting, and if I run out of steam, I can complete a segment that day.

    Our garage is just in need of a fine-tuning this summer, since we had a new roof installed last summer, and during the process, a huge rainstorm came up and drenched everything in the garage. Everything came out, was spread out on the driveway and evaluated.

  24. posted by Kristin on

    All this discussion of great vertical storage solutions makes me think that in addition to a ‘Workspace of the week’, you need a ‘Garage of the week’. I’d love to see and hear about some good garage storage solutions.

  25. posted by Brittany on

    For some reason, its so easy to forget about stuff in the garage! I’m living in someone else’s house and I’ve still managed to leave a few things in the garage… Great goals, maybe I will try the same thing :)

  26. posted by Amy Putkonen on

    This is great, Erin! We have a one car garage that is filled to the ceiling with bins on one side and every Fall I have to clean it out to fit my car in for the winter. (Winters in MN are harsh!) Every year I can’t believe I could fit the car in and every Spring I think that I will someday get rid of all the junk.

    Thanks for some great stuff. It’s inspiring!

  27. posted by Elizabeth on

    I hate our garage! We don’t have many things that are non-essential in there, and things like holiday decorations are in our basement. But though we can fit two cars and our bikes in the garage, it’s a VERY tight fit (tighter than most places I park), and my husband’s car has already been scraped once, even though we try to be very careful when we open doors. I often have to turn my average-sized body sideways to squeeze in my car, too. Vertical storage is nice for some things like camping equipment, but it doesn’t do anything for our bike problem and door-opening problem, since our children are not old enough to use pulley systems to get bikes down every time they want to ride for 10 minutes.

  28. posted by Rae on

    I deliver fliers for paid exercise and love looking at how much clutter people have in their yards and garages. One day, an automatic garage door opened as a woman drove in and revealed… a tiny recycling bin. That was it! What an inspiration!

    I’m staying with friends who have carved out exactly as much space as their truck takes to fit into their garage and that’s the only open area in a garage that could probably park four or five cars.

  29. Profile photo of

    posted by pkilmain on

    We deliberately built a carport rather than a garage, and unless something is being built or painted, we can always fit both a small SUV and a small pickup in it with ease. It also holds 2 cords of firewood, several trash barrels and our riding mower. We used to store our off-season tires in the rafters until we repurposed our small barn from animals to storage. We live in Alaska, and I still see many many homes where the cars live outdoors all year round while “stuff” lives in the garage.

  30. posted by Chaotic on

    I concur with Kristin on the “Garage of the Week” idea. I’d love to get some ideas on clever storage.

    My car hasn’t seen the inside of my single garage for four years. When I first moved in I had three x 3 metre shelves built against the back wall and one long (6 metre) shelf along the side at head height. This was more than sufficient for my storage needs. Then I moved stuff in from my old place with the idea that I was going to sort and declutter it. Well, that was four years ago and you can guess the rest. There is a tiny path that I can walk through, the rest is full of stuff – unnecessary stuff, of course.

    OK, that’ll be my challenge for June – get rid of all the stuff so I can fit my car in again.

  31. posted by JustGail on

    All but one of our cars would fit, but usually there is a maintenance or repair job going on in one of the stalls. And all would probably fit if we got creative with how we park the ones that aren’t driven often. It really needs a re-organization, as it is another example of putting un-needed stuff where ever it fits. And then there are 2 small sheds where the mowers and 4 wheeler and some other yard/garden items that are used only a few times a year live. Aiiyyyyeeeee, we gotta lotta shtuff!

    Our old house had a 2-car wide by 2-car deep garage, but on the narrow side. So the car put in on the side away from the house were backed in just a few inches from the wall. It was a bit unsettling the first few times I backed the car in. The car parked on the house side had to stay away from the wall due to the door into the house. Also, those with older garages – check the structure before loading up the rafters! It seems they often cheapened up building the garage. At least that was the case with our old house.

    As far as “garage of the week” – I like the idea. Maybe we already have it though? The blurb Erin has asking for workspace entries also says “don’t forget that workspaces aren’t just desks. If you’re a cook, it’s a kitchen; if you’re a carpenter, it’s your workbench”, so maybe garages would fit here?

    What I’d love to see is a “before-after” space of the week.

  32. posted by reenie on

    Both of our cars fit into the garage, but sometimes only barely! My husband has his shop out there, but tries–at my urging–to get things back to normal within a day of finishing a project. About half the families on our little street (6 houses) leave their cars out and use their garages for storage or workshops.

    We use old kitchen cupboards–free when friends and family are redecorating their kitchens–whenever we can lay hands on them, along the walls of the garage. A base cabinet serves as my husband’s work bench. My husband is something of a pack rat, but keeps the garage in shape. Now, if he’ll just tackle his office…

  33. posted by Terri on

    My car WOULD fit in my garage, but it’s occupied by our boat. LOL

  34. posted by Whitney on

    I guess that as with most uncluttering, if you’re using your garage space in a purposeful way, even if that’s to workout or park boats, or even store boxes, you’re living in an uncluttered way for _you_. It’s when you don’t care about or even know what’s there that constitutes clutter.

    Of course, there are no garages in my neighborhood, we park on the street. And people break into cars here, so we keep the car fairly empty (if not clean). This is at my insistence since my husband kept his old car break-in-proof by littering it with junk and trash. He figured that no one would go underneath that to see he also left cds or quarters in there, but it was pretty gross!

  35. posted by Tweetie on

    We use our tiny, one-car, attached basement garage as our workshop, so neither of our cars fit in there, thanks to things such as the huge table saw. We do have a carport (also only one-car) attached to it, so one of our cars can be somewhat protected from the elements. It’s a good thing we live in a very temperate climate, so our cars don’t get too hot in summer, and usually don’t get buried under too much snow in winter.

    Eventually, we plan on building a detached two-car garage, and still use one side of it for our workshop. We love building our own furniture and cabinets, and we really need a space separate from the house to do so. If not for our workshop, I think we’d probably fit one car in the garage and the other would still be protected under the carport. My parents, despite being rather cluttery in the rest of their house, have always managed to fit both their cars in their two-car garage their whole adult lives.

  36. posted by Lizzie on

    I love the heavy duty wire shelves from Target for the garage. The shelves are adjustable and will hold something like 200 pounds each. I have one shelf for sports stuff and entertaining things we only need in the summer, one for car and gardening and one for paper towels/toilet paper/seltzer/vodka and other stuff we buy in bulk. (Like how I slipped in vodka?)

    That being said, we also have a whole lot of other crap out there, so I’m glad that it’s the June project! I’m guessing that two hours will take care of it.

    My basement, on the other hand…argh!

  37. posted by Alisa on

    Because of my diligent uncluttering over the last two months, we can park our car in the garage for the first time in 5 years.

  38. posted by Jann Schott on

    We have a 3 car garage. NONE of the cars are in it. Why? Because of combining 2 homes into 1, we’re STILL organizing things. We could fit ONE vehicle in there, but that’s it. The other 2 are too long for the garage, because we have a refrigerator that sticks out too far for my van to fit in and walk around the van to get INTO the house.

    The vehicles get just as hot being on the driveway as they do in the garage. We live with it for now.

  39. posted by LGmed on

    The house that I grew up in and my dad still lives in. Aye. We moved there from a rental house when I was 1 year old. I cannot, in my memory of ~20 years remember a time when there was car in the garage. It’s a 1-car garage in a 50s era house, and there has always been the washer/dryer, a tool/work bench, shelving, a motorcycle that I have never seen running as well as a clothes line for hanging clean clothes. Most clothes live there now. I’m appalled every time I enter that garage. I would love to rent a dumpster to put in the yard and with every item that goes out, it either goes in Keep, Give Away/sell or directly in the dumpster. WOULD LOVE IT. Too bad it’s not my house, an unclutterer (obviously) does not live there!

  40. posted by Ish on

    I used to have a 3 car garage with my 3600 square foot home, complete with full driveway and street parking. Now I have a lovely 1700 square foot three story cottage with “2” car garage, no driveway and no street parking. I had to clean out my garage the first weekend after I moved in, because if I didn’t, I would have to park almost two blocks away. I was surprised how easy it was to get rid of things – but when you are physically exhausted it comes so much easier. It’s been a few weeks and I don’t miss anything I got rid of. Now, to tackle the sewing room (less than 10×10)…yikes!

  41. posted by Karen Newbie on

    Erin I’m curious to hear how you’re doing on your June 10th deadline to get the garage in shape. If you’re still in the Washington, DC area, we’ve had a few stretches of serious heat. It’s no fun cleaning out a garage in the heat. I suppose early morning and after dark are options, but the mosquitos in my VA neighborhood are vicious and enough to keep me indoors when they’re out feasting.

  42. Profile photo of Erin Doland

    posted by Erin Doland on

    @Karen — We can already get two cars in the garage. We did most of the work this past Sunday. It was hot, but there was a breeze, so it wasn’t that bad.

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