How Our Garage Went from Disaster to Drive-In

As many of you know, I have been slowly (s-l-o-w-l-y) working on decluttering and organizing our home. Honestly, it’s a never ending saga – which I’m sure a lot of you can relate to.

Over the last year or two, I’ve decluttered the kitchen cabinets and the linen closet (which I later decluttered again and turned into a game closet), and even attempted to create order in my boys’ closet (which I’ve had to do two times since – talk about never-ending!).

Despite the progress, there was still one area of our home that was beyond hopeless: Our garage.

We have a one and a half car garage, and lately it had become so overrun that we couldn’t even pull our van into it.


(I can’t believe I’m sharing this picture with you. It’s truly mortifying. But hey, there’s nothing like a before picture to humble you).

At the beginning of the month, my husband got a bug in his head about cleaning out the garage. I had a million and one excuses about why we shouldn’t do that “yet”.

But in the end, his persistence wore me down. Actually, he was super stealth and just started without me, which he probably knew would be the most effective way to get me involved.

We spent five hours of muscle-aching labor in our sweltering hot garage over Labor Day.

After two hours, I still wasn’t seeing much improvement, which was pretty disheartening.

We did toss out a lot of garbage. I also put large items out on the curb as I came across them – and a number of neighbors picked them up.

Finally after another hour, we got to this. Aaaaahhhhhhh.

See that row of stuff on the left side of the wall? That was stuff to be donated, which I took care of the following day. Much of that stuff had been in a “holding pattern” for several months – or longer. It took me less than 15 minutes to swing by the donation drop-off center – which really underscored the importance of doing things when they first need doing.

With our garage mostly cleared, I got to tweak some of the zones that we created.

Along this wall, for example, we keep holiday storage. I have all my Pesach stuff, stored in tubs, along with a tub for decorations and the kids’ projects from Rosh Hashana, Sukkot, Chanukah and Pesach. On the top is our sukkah and schach. And in front – where the “half car” would go (who has a half a car anyway?) we park our bikes.

Along the back wall of our garage, we set up my husband’s “work area”. We bought a new heavy duty shelving unit, which stores our paint, tools and wood scraps.

I also picked up four of those drawer-style plastic storage units, to organize different types of tools and odds and ends.

This yellow cupboard along the back wall was actually made by my great grandfather for extra storage in his Cleveland kitchen. Today it serves as a small “work bench” for my husband in our Kansas City garage. I hope my Poppy would approve. 🙂

I also revamped a mini “mud room” next to the entrance to our home. We don’t need to use this area much in the summer, but in the winter, when we have big boots and coats, I thought this would help avoid the pile up by the front door. (Let’s hope we actually use it!)

I am so pleased that we can now drive all the way in to our garage – and get out of the van without bruising our shins. Definitely a HUGE improvement.

Even though I was very resistant to tackling our disaster of garage, I’m glad my husband nudged me in to it. Having this clear and organized space has changed how I feel about our home – it’s as if we’re sitting on more solid ground now. Now to maintain the order…

Have you tackled a major decluttering project lately? Can you relate to my feelings about our garage? What’s your home’s biggest trouble spot?


  1. I did a deep clean of my home a few months ago. All the time spent collecting, taking photos, donating, offering on craigslist and selling on Ebay. I realized what a time consuming pain it was to have all these items and I’ve never looked at material items the same again.

    I took five boxes and threw my life into them. I then winnowed it down to four. This really shows what is need and what is want.

  2. I love the mudroom zone – will be a great way to keep the mess and clutter of winter outside of the living space of your home! Enjoy the new and improved garage!

  3. The mudroom zone looks like it came from Pinterest! Love it all!

  4. Love the mini-mudroom area, we’ve been talking about doing that in our garage. Maybe before winter because the coats and wet/muddy boats drive me absolutely nuts. Our garage is a mess too, it’s a 2 car garage, but only one car fits into it. I guess that’s better than our neighbors that have a 3 car garage and can’t fit a single car inside.

  5. Lauren Rosen Gerofsky says

    Congrats! My garage is a constant struggle too. We Spiring clean and Fall clean and then do it again, but I always feel good about donating and selling a little. Can you tell me if your mud room shelves and hooks were a set you purchased? If so, did you shop online, discount store or a home improvement store? Not sure where to begin my seaerch for something like this. Thanks.

  6. I noticed you wrote about your Cleveland roots I am a Clevelander what was the family name of your great greandfather?

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