Reclaiming Your Garage

Garage Shelving

You may not realize that Goodwill experiences a dip in donations around this time of year, but it does! When summer winds down people often do not donate as much and this creates a shortage of product for Goodwill. That is why I think it is the perfect time of year to discuss cleaning out your garage and making room for your cars before the winter season approaches, while creating donations that will help Goodwill thrive during this time of year.

Pull Everything Out- The first step towards getting that garage truly cleared of clutter is to pull everything out and assess what you have. You may find that you have multiples of items like yard tools, mechanical tools, or parts and equipment for household projects. Remove any multiples you have and add them to your donation bin to help reduce that extra clutter.

While you have everything out, I like
to assess the items that get stored higher up in the garage or rafters. Are these item really something we need to be storing and just how often do we get these items down to be used? If they haven't been used in years, you likely don't need to store them!

Charlotte Clean & Green

Clear Out That Electronic Clutter- I talk a lot about getting rid of the electronic clutter on here, but electronic clutter seems to gather in every corner of our home, including our garage. You may not be aware of what electronics Goodwill accepts, but you can learn more about their program with Goodwill by reading this post on the Dell Reconnect program that Goodwill offers.

For example, Goodwill will happily process those cords and cables (power cord & USB cables) that no longer have a use in your garage. They also accept your ink & toner cartridges (either full or empty), computer speakers, telev
isions and software. They even take your old cell phones! If your garage has become a warehouse for your old televisions, cords, and outdated computer equipment, load them up in your car and take them on over to Goodwill.

Items where the glass could be broken, like computer monitors and scanners, just need to be placed into a trash bag or box and clearly labeled that they are broken and the date of your donation. Isn’t it nice to know that even those broken items in our home can be processed for donation?

Organized Garage Oct-2010 03

Sort Like Items Into Clear Bins- Once you have gotten rid of all the clutter and duplicate items, you can begin sorting the items that you want to keep into clear bins. I try to keep in mind that if I can reduce the amount of items that we need to keep, we can reduce the amount of bins we will need to buy! Label the items clearly and then place them back into your garage.

Try to be strategic about where you place the items when you put them back in. For example, seasonal items can be stored higher up, and then keep items that you need more often lower and into easier reach.

Use the vertical space and wall space for mounting shelving and sorting items upward and along garage walls to get items cleared from your garage floor.

old car

Get Rid of that Clunker- Now that all of your like items are sorted into bins, why not assess the bigger items that might be gathering dust in your garage. Is there a car in your garage that you were hoping to repair one day, but know that you never will? Why not free up the space in your garage for the car you really do love to drive!

You may have a car of humble means that you could offer as a donation to Goodwill that could give a new lease on life to someone e
lse. Even if your car is not drivable, it could make economic sense for Goodwill to take the donation to their auction site . There is no need to detail your car before donating it, just clear it of the clutter and contact Goodwill to let them know that you have a car that you would like to donate.

The vast majority of these vehicles are sold at dealer auctions and those donations help Goodwill’s mission to provide jobs, training and placement services for people with barriers to employment.

Clean Out the Garage & Join a Movement- You may see cleaning out your garage as just cleaning out your garage, but you are actually joining a very important movement of people! Goodwill has started a movement called The Donate Movement and they are encouraging everyone to participate in it. By visiting the page, you can use their calculator to discover what your impact will have on your community and the amount of hours your simple donation will provide to educate and train employees at Goodwill.

Photo credits- Please click on the photos to access the photographer's Flickr pages.