I have a small group of professional organizers that I hang with. You might think we get together and compare label makers – funny but not true! We talk about best practices, give organizing advice, and sometimes we refer clients to each other. I call us the Dream Team because we all have a different niche, experience, and successful businesses. My friend Lori from More Time For You originally met with the client from today’s project for a consultation but she passed the project on to me because she thought it would be right up my alley…messy garage+rat problem = kuzak’s closet, ha! During her consultation she took a few photos to pass on to me and then suggested that the client give me a call.
The client lives in a beautiful home in Atherton that has a carriage garage in the back of the house. The garage is very old so it is difficult to prevent pests from getting in, especially mice and rats. California has fruit rats that are very common and difficult to get rid of. I had them at my old house in Mountain View, you might remember be talking about them in this day in the life post. Anyway, the rats made a mess in his garage and he really wanted help getting the space cleaned up and organized.
He shares the garage with the owner of the property so he needed to have all of his items on one side of the space. He also had several boxes of old photos and slides from his parents estate that he needed transferred from paper boxes (the perfect rat snack) into durable plastic tubs.
One of the keys to garage organization is getting everything up and off the ground. Shelving is an inexpensive alternative to custom cabinets, if you don’t have any consider making the purchase. Before the session Matt and I picked up 2 Whalen shelving units. I like that the shelves are solid so nothing can slip through, they are also really durable and easy to assemble. My client had an existing shelf that wasn’t very sturdy so we reconfigured it to maximize the space under the cabinets on the right wall. It worked out great, now he has his own defined space that gives the feel of a one car garage.
Matt and I had a local college student Christina help us with this project, she wanted to job shadow me and I thought this would be a great opportunity for her to see a complete transformation in a short period of time. I thought she would sit on the sidelines and observe but she wanted to get her hands dirty. She help us pull all of the items out of the garage and sort them on the driveway. I had Matt assemble the shelving while she and I went to Target to pick up storage bins that we would need . After we shopped we worked together to arrange the shelving and rearrange the refrigerator, wine cooler, and freezer. We repacked the items that he needed to keep and found homes for all of the tools, gardening supplies, household items, emergency kit, and camping gear. I had my client help make decisions on three occasions during the session, each time he was outside for 15-20 minutes.
Isn’t Christina cute? I didn’t realize how tiny she was until I saw this picture. I’m so used to being the shorty because Matt is so tall, it would have been funny to have him on the other side of me. She really loved the project and exploring what it is like to be a professional organizer.
It does get messy before it gets organized! This is a photo of all of the items from the garage being sorted in the driveway. You can see Christina in action…
I found these great new Hefty bins at Target. They are a new product for them and I love the tan lid and the variety of sizes that they come in, there are at least 8 different sizes available in stores right now.
It might seem weird that I don’t have my clients help with the entire project but in some cases it isn’t necessary. They are paying for a service and I don’t want them to waste their energy on pieces of the project like moving items and repacking them, I really want them to be able to make clear decisions and enjoy having someone like me take care of the rest. This is from the email that he wrote me after the session…
“Thank you so much, Matt and Christina for the wonderful job you did in organizing the garage and for placing items in such a logical manner as well. The garage has never been so organized since we moved here seven years ago!”
The total project took us 4 hours and 45 minutes. We set up a systems for tools, garden supplies, and household items. My client has a fresh slate that he can easily maintain and further customize as he lives with it. I always suggest that my clients enjoy a space and continue to tweak it as they discover what works and what needs improvement , especially as space like this that has never had an organized system in place.
I hope you enjoyed this project! Have a wonderful weekend!