I am sooo excited to share that our garage is organized and we have SO much more space. We can even park the cars in the garage now if we want to, amazing! It is truly all thanks to Elsa and her team from Composed Living. They were incredible in helping us with this transformation – I don’t think we ever could have done it without them! We started this project well before we had thoughts of moving, but I am so glad we did because now it also is so much cleaner for when people are looking at the house, rather than a cluttered mess.
So for starters, we have tried our very best to keep our garage organized, but that just didn’t happen. With all of the kiddos stuff, boxes from packages and all my holiday decor piling up on what felt like a weekly basis (on top of other items already in the garage), we really needed sustainable solutions to help contain all of our items. We had very little storage and cabinet space, so all of those items I just mentioned were taking up space on the floor, inhibiting us from parking in the garage at all.
When Elsa first stopped by to take a look at our space, I immediately felt so much relief. Of course we could have find a way to organize it ourselves, but we aren’t experts. There were so many little suggestions she had even in the first 30 seconds that we walked into the room that I would NEVER have thought of on my own. And they are all suggestions that make life so much easier for us now. Our main goals were to clear up the floor space and get some shelving on the walls, create an accessible earthquake/emergency area and also enough find enough space so that we could have a home gym! With the help of Elsa and her organizer Maddy, I am happy to report that we checked off each of these items!
It was so crazy how many memories we found in boxes in the garage. Like the old Bachelorette items that you may have seen on my Instagram stories! Being able to get everything in an organized spot so that we knew where it was has made everything so so much easier. Because so much of this project was completed by Elsa, she jotted down some notes about the process for me and I am going to include them here for you! All quotes in this blog will be from her.
“We originally wanted to keep the two white cabinets that were in the garage so that they wouldn’t go to waste, but once we began organizing, we realized that the size and shape of them just wasn’t feasible to repurpose for the amount of storage that we needed. (We found both cabinets new homes, so nothing went to waste!)”
These white cabinets that you’ll see in the before photos below were from our old house. Okay, so now that I have painted the picture for you of our garage, let’s get into how we fixed it up!!
Storage Bins and Decluttering
Something that I had been stumped on for months was what to do in regards to our storage bins when it comes to organizing the garage. I had found it pretty difficult to decide what bins I still needed to buy, what would go into them, and how to organize them.
“We decided to keep as many of the existing storage bins as possible, and purchased only a few to contain the remaining items. It was important to get weatherproof totes for some of the keepsakes that we wanted to protect from the elements. We could have chosen to replace all the totes to be identical, which would create a very soothing and pretty aesthetic, but ultimately we agreed that repurposing what is already there is better for the environment, and for the wallet.”
At first, we discussed getting built-in shelving for the garage, but then realized that there are super durable options that we would be able to take with us if and when we decide to move (haha, I was foreshadowing and didn’t even know it!). Elsa helped us to choose 4 heavy duty metal shelving units from Amazon, opting for the 48″ wide by 24″ deep size because we were storing primarily large totes and needed the depth. While those were on order, we began to go through our items and part with the ones that no longer were useful for us. Elsa helped us to not only get organized, but I am SO grateful that it is part of her company’s mission to give back to others and repurpose items that her clients don’t need. We often donate clothing and toys to a local spot near us, but it is so great to know of other local organizations to us that get the items right into the hands that need them the most.
“Ali decided to donate a lot of the toys the kids’ had outgrown, so we were able to give them directly to families in need. Through our partnerships with various non-profits, items that no longer serve a purpose in our clients’ homes are given a second life, which creates less waste and directly benefits those in need. We give both our time and a portion of our proceeds to charities with missions that include supporting foster children and helping homeless women get back on their feet.”
The next steps were to get our items into the bins and really organize based on what they were.
“When we finished decluttering the garage, we contained everything in storage totes, created zones for each category, and labeled! It is important to always store like items together so that they are easier to find, and you always know everything you have because you can see it all in one place. Some of the zones we created for Ali include household supplies and tools, kids’ toys, keepsakes, and holiday decor.”
Finally, labels were added to all of the storage bins so that no matter who was looking for something, they would be easy to find! This will be SO helpful for when my mom or Kevin’s parents are staying with us and the kids want to play with or need something from one of the bins! We can take the bins and storage shelves no matter where we go – and having everything labeled makes moving even easier.
“Finishing touches: always remove the original labels from the storage containers – you don’t need any added visual clutter! We chose to use large, removable labels for the storage bins so that they’re easy to read, and if you change the contents of the storage bin, the labels peel off easily, and without leaving that annoying sticky mess behind.”
You might remember the emergency preparedness post that I did at the very, very beginning of COVID. One of the things I realized is that although I had all the supplies we would need, I didn’t really have a good system. Elsa mentioned that we could have a single station in the garage where we could just grab what we needed quickly and I can’t believe I didn’t think of that idea. SO genius. With the possibility of natural disasters and the uncertainty of what life could bring us, it is so important to have this all ready to go.
“We created an emergency preparedness corner for Ali so that she has all of her earthquake prep items in one easy to grab area of the garage. We were even able to fit the generator in this spot! (We also ensured that all the shelving units are attached to studs in the walls with anti-tip straps – you can never be too careful in California, and with kids running around!)”
For this area, we used slightly different shelving due to the size of the wall and because as mentioned above, we wanted it to be really sturdy. We used the 16 inch long shelves with 80″and 84″ top shelving tracks and standards. I will link all of the pieces we used below.
Before and Afters
Here are a handful of before and afters from a few angles so you can see just how much we did! It is amazing and we are soo happy!
Moving or Not, Organization is Key
Like I mentioned, we first had the idea to get Elsa to help with our garage right before quarantine. Once everything changed, we held off but once we felt it was safe (with masks), we began organizing. We didn’t know we’d be trying to quickly move at the time, but getting organized has made us feel so good – and it will be so much easier to move with everything already separated and organized. Not to mention everything we purged and donated will not be coming with us, which will save on moving costs and time spent getting rid of items while trying to pack. I hope this inspires you to organize your garage! Make sure to check out composedliving.com for more tips and tricks for organizing!