Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he has been trying his hand at being a freelance writer. When he isn't writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.
Minimalism has grown in popularity over the last several years. There are plenty of benefits to a minimalist lifestyle, including less stress and anxiety over material possessions. As a result, more people are starting to minimize the amount of “stuff” they have – including everything from appliances to clothes.
While most people think of minimalism as a way to scale back on household items, it’s a good idea to include every room in your home – even your garage.
Take a look at the current state of your garage. For some people, it’s an active workspace. For others, it’s a place where clutter goes to be forgotten while it gathers dust. If you’re trying to minimize the waste in your life or even live a zero-waste lifestyle by recycling, using high-quality items, and evaluating what you use and don’t use, tackling your garage should be a priority.
So, how can you adopt a minimalist approach to (arguably) one of the most cluttered areas of the average home?
Cutting Out the Clutter
The most obvious way to start a minimalist approach to your garage is to get rid of as much “junk” as possible. How long have those cans of paint been in the corner? When was the last time you used that rusty wrench?
Most importantly, what’s in those storage boxes that have been sitting there since 2003?
If you feel overwhelmed by the amount of decluttering you have to do, break things down into smaller sections. Start by opening any storage boxes you have and going through them, one by one. What are you actually using? What has a purpose for your home? Reevaluate every item you have to determine whether it deserves a place there.
Decluttering doesn’t necessarily mean everything needs to go into the trash. In fact, that tends to serve the opposite purpose of minimalism. One of the best things you can do with items that are in good shape is to donate them. Or, consider hosting a yard sale, or selling them online. The old “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” could ring true for you, especially when it comes to valuable items like tools and machinery.
Next, organize the things you do use. For most garages, that could include things like:
- Lawn care items
- Auto supplies
- Sports equipment
When you’ve cleared away the things you don’t need or want, you’ll have more room to display the things you use in a functional, effective way.
Starting to Organize
So, how do you manage to do that? How can you organize things in a way that makes sense without contributing to the clutter once again? The best way to handle it is to plan ahead. Yes, that means strategizing your garage organization efforts.
Take note of your space and your items. If it helps, draw a diagram of your garage and make a list of every item in it. You can use the diagram to determine where storing each item makes the most sense. You should adopt a system that works for you depending on how often you use certain things.
For example, if you consider yourself something of a handyman (or woman!), you’ll want to have your tools displayed in an area that is easy to get to. Anything that can be stored away for long periods of time, like holiday decorations, can be put in low-traffic areas or even high up on shelves.
That’s another great way to keep things organized – go vertical! Stack bins on tall shelves, store things in an attic space above the garage and use pegboards to hang tools and equipment. It’s a fantastic way to keep things off the floor and free up space so you’re not constantly running into things.
Your main goal when it comes to organizing should be functionality. No matter how you utilize your garage, it should be something that works for you, not a space that requires you to weave around storage items and lawn care tools. You don’t have to have a large space for it to be functional, you just have to know how to stack, hang, and box things up properly.
Repurposing and Recycling
We touched on it earlier, but there are many benefits to living a minimalist lifestyle. Some of the most notable pros include:
- You’ll experience less stress
- You’ll spend less money
- Things are easier to clean
- It can help you be more productive
- It’s better for the environment
- You’ll create room for the important things
Another benefit is that it sets a positive example for your kids. If you’re interested in living a more sustainable lifestyle, passing on those characteristics to your children is important. One of the best ways to do that is by repurposing and recycling some of the items in your garage. Doing so can show your kids that certain items can have a “second life.”
It’s easier to repurpose certain things than you might think. Take a look around and find items that could obviously be reused. Maybe you completed a home project a few months ago and you still have some scrap wood laying around. Get creative with it and you could create anything from a birdhouse to a raised garden bed to plant vegetables in the spring. Let your kids help you come up with ideas and turn recycling and repurposing into a fun family activity. You never know the impact of the lessons you’re teaching, just by setting a positive example.
One of the biggest keys to living a minimalist lifestyle is keeping it up. It can be harder to do that when it comes to your garage. It might often feel like an “out of sight, out of mind” situation, unlike the rest of your house. But, maintaining your minimalistic approach will make it easier to keep things organized and clean. So, you won’t have to go through the “decluttering” process all over again.
Plus, having a minimalist garage can inspire you to tackle other areas of your home with the same approach. In doing so, you’ll experience more of the benefits of minimalism while doing something good for the planet and your family along the way.