When it starts snowing, a lot of your time and attention will be spent on dealing with the snow. Clearing the driveway, scraping the car, cleaning the mudroom, cleaning rugs near the front door, and running snowy clothes through the laundry. These tasks can distract from other chores or projects you want to work on; like organizing areas of your home. . Among these areas is the garage.
A typical garage in winter is full of snow-covered tools left leaning on the wall. In order to get to holiday decorations, other items are often displaced with nowhere to go. Outdoor items that need to be stored in a dry environment in the winter, like some outdoor furniture cushions, take up more space. During the colder months, it’s normal for things to get a little more cluttered, especially when it comes to the garage.
Since we don’t typically spend substantial time in the garage, it’s an easy space to forget about or we tell ourselves, “I’ll get to it later.” What originally might have been a proper storage space can quickly become a disorganized dumping ground.
“Why Not Park the Car Outside?”
This might be a rhetorical question we ask ourselves to procrastinate decluttering the garage. Unfortunately, leaving the car parked outside uncovered all winter is not the same as any other season. While it’s not immediately harmful to your car, a lot of snow can take a toll over time.
Keeping up with the snow also adds another morning chore to your day. Here are some things to be aware of when you leave the car outside during Minnesota winters:
Scraping all the snow and ice off the car can eat up precious time in the morning. Constantly scraping the car increases the chance you may accidentally scratch the paint.
Batteries are weaker and die quicker in cold weather. At 0 degrees, a car battery loses 60 percent of its strength and needs twice as much power to start.
After a large blizzard, allowing a lot of snow to build up on the car can block the exhaust pipe and force harmful carbon monoxide to the inside of the car.
Snow and ice caked onto the wheels can make the drive more slippery.
Leaving a lot of snow and de-icing salt and chemicals used to melt snow sitting on top of your car can ruin the paint job and rust any unpainted areas on an older vehicle.
Snow and moisture can seep into the brake fluid, causing it to freeze in cold temperatures.
Ways To Get Organized
To help get your car ready to drive each morning and make it last longer, here are five tips we have for clearing enough space to fit your car in the garage this winter.
Declutter and consolidate items into labeled containers
Loose items spread out across the garage takes up more space than keeping it all together. Evaluate any items you haven’t used in the past year and sell/donate/toss out anything that you don’t need. Categorize all remaining items and allocate them to clear plastic bins.
Overhead storage racks to clear up floor space
The most effective way of opening up floor space is using a system that doesn’t require a floor. Ceiling mounted racks allow you to stack bulky items and containers above your head while leaving plenty of clearance for your car.
Store summer items up top and keep winter gear within reach
This reduces the amount of mess made when accessing your belongings. Depending on your system, you may need the summer items on the top shelf or at the bottom of a stack of bins. The point is storing the summer items away so that the winter stuff is easy to grab.
Use a tool rack to keep snow tools handy
You’ll probably use the snow shovel and ice scraper on a regular basis this winter. Storing them on a wall mounted rack keeps them off the floor and easy to grab and go.
Keep driveway salt in an accessible place
If you use driveway salt, keep it on a shelf near the garage door so that’s easy to open and use when you need it. Make sure it’s covered so children and pets don’t get into it.
With winter holidays coming up, the last thing you need is more stress caused by extra clutter. Though many of us are only in the garage around twice a day, it’s an invaluable storage space and you can enjoy the same benefits of keeping it orderly as any other room in the home.
Hopefully, these ideas make your organization tasks easier this winter, so you can have the time and space to focus on other things. We recommend starting with tossing out the things you don’t need or use anymore. This will open up more room than you’d think and make the remaining steps much easier to do.
Michael Nokes works for Garage Solutions Minneapolis, a garage storage and organization dealer in the Twin Cities area. He enjoys organization, home improvement, and following the latest in business and market news.