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A True Garage Opener

A True Garage Opener

By Melanie Vanderveer - Pocono Record WriterOctober 21st 2008

Do you have a "no-car" garage? Is it filled with clutter and everything but the car?

You are not alone if your garage is being used as a huge walk-in closet.


Organizing the garage and getting the car back into its room is something that many people tackle in the fall. Cleaning up before the winter chill arrives seems to be on the to-do list of many garage owners. Most people do not enjoy cleaning the inevitable ice and snow that Mother Nature drops on the Poconos in winter, so getting that car in the garage will eliminate the need for an ice scraper.


Organizing isn't as hard as it sounds. Mike Gillenkirk of Kitchen Tune-Up in Pocono Pines helps homeowners organize their garages as well as closets. "Most people that come to me want to make room for their car in the garage and decrease the clutter," he said. "We can decrease clutter with shelving and horizontal work space."


People tend to struggle with the thought of organizing because they don't know where to start. The thought might be scarier than the process itself. "People need to sort of look at their garage and determine what they want to do with the space," Gillenkirk said. "Maximizing the use of the space is key."


The first step is to figure out what can stay and what needs to go. "Sometimes, people put stuff in their garages that shouldn't be in there," Gillenkirk said. "Certain things can't withstand the swings of temperature, such as good wine."


"A good place to start is to look and around and realize why the garage has become crammed with stuff. I compare the garage to purgatory. It is the holding spot for stuff," said Barry Izsak, author of Organize Your Garage in No Time, "until people decide what to do next."

 If you haven't used something for two years, maybe it is time to get rid of it. Keeping only what you need will ease up a lot of space. Things with sentimental value should be moved into the home's closet or attic. The garage shouldn't be used as a museum of family treasures.


Izsak is an garage organizing guru, whose company, Arranging It All, provides organizing solutions in Austin, Texas. He should know.


"Look around the garage and get rid of all the easy, unemotional decisions like the broken weed trimmer, puppy training crate from the now 5-year-old dog, or the crib that is 10 years old and doesn't even meet safety standards," Izsak said.


The next step is figuring out how to store the things that must stay in the garage. Designating a specific area for things such as sporting equipment, tools and lawn-and-garden supplies and equipment is a good place to begin the organization process. "Creating zones and isolating items into these areas is important," Izsak, the organizing expert, said.


Gillenkirk finds it amazing that so many people with two- or three-car garages can only fit one or two cars in them. "If you have a two-car garage, both cars should fit. There shouldn't be anything on the floors other than heavy stuff, which should be in the corner," Gillenkirk said. "You can organize all three walls with shelves."


When Bushkill resident Karey Conklin had her house built, she decided to add on a one-car garage. "We never intended on using the garage for the car. We use it as a big storage bin," she explained. "We have the kids' bikes, lawn tractor, snow blower, tools, gardening supplies and a freezer in the garage."


The Conklins' garage may not house the car, but it is organized. "It's an organized mess. We know where everything is located." The Conklins aren't alone. Plenty of folks look at the garage as a storage place for the bigger items that cannot go inside the house. Stroudsburg resident Teresa Hicks has a three-car garage but can only fit two cars in it. "We use part of the garage for storage — the junk that doesn't fit in the house, like garden equipment and toys," she said. "We organize it once a year and then the rest of the year it gets a little out of hand. Like everyone else, we use every square inch of space that we have."



According to Barry Izsak, past president of the National Association of Professional Organizers, here are five easy ways to free up some space in the garage:


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