So, yes, I am a day late and a dollar short. Sadly, my fall fever actually turned into an actual fever so I apologize for the delay. Cough, sniff.  If we were in Australia I would be right on time!…Oh wait, they are ahead. Blast! So we find ourselves here today, October 1st, a new month and the real beginning of fall in terms of temperature and weather. So as promised, I wanted to end this month’s blog, well okay, last month’s blog, with the final to-do list for getting ready for fall. I did say that I wasn’t going to offer you a list that was massive or a ton of work, and I think depending on your situation that could still ring true. This week it is about organizing that garage and getting everything into its place for a winters rest.

The hockey equipment and skis will replace the boogie boards and beach chairs, and the rubber boots will take the place of those sandy sandals. Finding all a good home now will make for an easy transition and one you will be thankful for when the snow/rains comes and you are digging through boxes to find that one mitten. Even if you do not have a large space, a good de-clutter and a few organizational tools can make any space more user friendly, and if you are selling your home, it will adequately show the space as it should be used, rather than looking small and unusable. You should always be able to fit a CAR in your garage to! Here are some great tips for getting everything in its place.

Since I myself and not a professional organizer, I thought to do some research and found that there is a TON of info out there for helping us all get a bit more organized. I came across a few great ideas! Thanks to the web-site SHEKNOWS. She does, by the way. She really does.

Define your Space

•    Do you want to use it just for parking the cars?
•    Do you want to use it for storage?
•    Do you want to create a play area? A mudroom? A workshop?

Once the space is empty, use masking tape to mark on the floor the zones you want for the activity areas you've defined. This will help you get a better idea of whether or not your plan is doable. If not, just rethink your space allocation.

Sort, toss and sort again

Next, give your garage-cleaning efforts a fair chance by committing to sort and purge all of your items with honest assessments:
•    Do I need this?
•    Is this something I can inexpensively replace?
•    Will I have the space to store this?

As you go through the stuff in your garage, make a plan to put every item in one of three piles: keep, donate or trash. Make firm plans to rid your garage of the donate and trash piles, and then sort all the keepers according to the activity areas you defined above.

Going Up!

Going vertical is a great way to use your space AND gets everything off the ground. Determine the type of storage that best enables you to use up as much wall space as you can.

Larger items that aren't used on a regular basis, such as camping supplies and holiday decorations, can be stored up higher -- even hung from the ceiling. Leave easy-to-access wall storage for items you'll need more often, such as sports gear, bulk grocery items and pet food.

Use clear bins and totes for storage. You can stack them and easily identify what's inside. Consider color-coding your totes -- use red and green lids for Christmas decorations, orange lids for fall décor, white lids for food items, etc. There are also some great containers out there that allow you to write right on the box and simply erase later, can be a great addition for those totes that may do double duty come spring time.

Add Interest

A garage doesn't have to look industrial with exposed beams or cinder-block walls. Improve yours as you would an indoor room to bring energy and life to the space.

Walls. Use paint to soften the room or to define various spaces, such as the play area or your workshop. Another great suggestion I came across for those with kids is to cover one wall of the garage play area with magnetic chalkboard paint. Attach buckets to the wall for chalk, magnetic pins and other art supplies on hand. Allowing you’re kids to do messy projects here rather than in the house, it can make rainy blues seem like sunny days. IKEA has great products for an area like this.

Floors. Floors can get a fun makeover, too. You can paint them -- think color blocks or stripes. Consider laying a new floor, such as FLOR mix-and-match washable carpet squares, or a durable, snap-together G-Floor system.

Lights. Pay attention to lighting. Most garages have only the garage-door opener for light, which can make it hard to find items, and leave you feeling a little underwhelmed. Consider including track lighting on the walls. It's wonderful to be able to find what you're looking for in a well-lit space.

I hope this last list will make you help you feel like you have conquered the clutter. Having all of these spaces, inside and out taken care of for the next six months will truly make life a little easier, and whole lot more pleasant. A little bit of effort, for a whole ton of reward.

Happy Fall Everyone!