There is nothing so frustrating as having your lawnmower break down during that last patch of grass in the front yard. You know what needs to be fixed, and only if you could find the Phillips screwdriver that you thought was sitting on top of your work bench. Perhaps your wife’s car is burning more oil than normal and you wanted to add an extra bottle of oil to her car before she left for work, but couldn’t find where you had left the extra gallons of oil that you had used to fix your own car.
Generally, men are not seen as masters in the art of organizing. Our clothes closet and the one bathroom drawer that we are allotted tend to be a little on the messy side. While being a neat freak simply won’t square up with everyone’s personality, it is necessary to have a little order in your life. The garage, as the prototypical man space in the home, is a man´s responsibility to maintain.
The difficulty, of course, is that most garages (along with the attic) tend to be places where any “extra” items get thrown. While you might have dreamed of using your extra-large three car garage to get into a new hobby such as wood working or to have space during the long winter months to fix up your motorcycle so that it is ready to go on the first day of spring, chances are that your garage has been overrun with all sorts of cardboard boxes and useless instruments.
If you feel that you need a place to call your own in your home but your garage is simply too cluttered for you to be able to get anything done, check out these top five clever decluttering hacks to make your garage a space you love.
The Importance of a “Man Space” in Every Home
So why is it important for men to have a man cave? There are a number of reasons worth exploring, but perhaps most importantly is the fact that inside the home, women have traditionally taken it on themselves to do the decorating and design.
When it comes to the bathroom, chances are that between your wife, daughter, mother, or other women in your life, you are lucky if you still have at least one cabinet where you can store your toothbrush and deodorant in the bathroom. Despite the recent increase in interest in male grooming products, many women continue to feel that the bathroom is, by divine decree, a women’s space. Following from this mindset, men are only supposed to use the bathroom for a quick shower and shave and then move on as quickly as possible to allow for women to have the necessary time to do what they need to do.
A recent photo book written by Craig Wetjen titled “Men and their Sheds” looks at how having a place of one’s own within the place where you live is essential for the mental health of men. While it is important for men to be involved in the chores of housekeeping, it is also good for them to have a place of their own where they can feel a sense of freedom to let loose after a long day.
If you have way too much stuff hanging on hooks and nails, piled up in corners, and literally overflowing out the un-openable back door to your garage, the first step toward creating a little bit more order is in creating niches, or specific places for each category of things to be stored in your garage. Take a day to gather up all your old hand tools and put them in one corner of the garage. Cardboard boxes of old clothes can be placed on some upper shelf so there out of the way. All your gear for survival prepping can be organized along the shelves that suddenly begin to look a little bit emptier.
Taking the time to separate things by category is the first step for any sort of successful organizing, and this will allow you to then find other ways to move forward with the decluttering process.
Though it might not sound like a “manly” thing to do, finding a plant that you like to place somewhere around your garage actually might help with the decluttering process. The presence of another living thing in a room with you will make you aware of where you place things. For example, after finishing changing the oil in your car, chances are that you won’t throw the dirty, oily rag onto the counter if a large plant is already placed there “taking up” that place.
Furthermore, having plants around can also help to keep your calmer during the day. One recent study in the Landscape and Urban Planning Journal found that more green space, even just one plant, can help mental health by keeping your stress levels down, something that is needed when toying with your car or other tools.
Don’t Try to Do It All at Once
Looking at a massive pile of junk in your garage can definitely be intimidating. Instead of trying to tackle the chore all at once (and lose a complete weekend during the task), consider writing down a list of 10 to 20 tasks that need to be done, and try to accomplish a couple of the tasks each week. The transformation will be slower, but the decluttering will be done little by little.
Take a Trip to Your Local Thrift Store
One of the most important tasks associated with decluttering your garage is the actual process of getting rid of things. While it can be difficult for some people to throw away items that have been a part of your life for years, try asking yourself when was the last time you used that particular item or how much you would pay for it if you were buying it new. Every item that hasn’t been used for more than a year or that you wouldn’t pay more than a quarter for, should probably be boxed up and driven down to your local thrift store.
The Four Box Method
Some things of course, you simply can’t donate or give away. When decluttering your garage, it might be good to have four large empty boxes with you labeled: Trash, Relocate, Donate, or Keep. The ball glove that your grandfather gave you as a child might be impossible to trash or donate, but it might be a good idea to relocate that item to the attic until your own son is old enough for you to give it to him. Using the four box method can help you identify each object individually and consider where it best belongs.
Decluttering Your Garage to Reclaim Your Man Space
After several weeks of decluttering and organizing, you might just find that instead of stopping by the bar for a drink or two after work, you are wanting to get home as quickly as possible to continue working on your son’s bicycle or finish up that most recent wood working project you have almost finished. By reclaiming your man space in your house, you should feel more relaxed, less stressed, and have more desire to spend time at home, both in your own space and in the rest of the home.