Every suburb in Calgary seems to have a two car garage these days. Yet hardly any of the garages are used to park two cars. Even fitting one car in the garage is a stretch for many. Because let’s be honest: It’s pretty common for the garage to turn into a home’s dumping ground.
Often, people stash something in the garage because they can’t decide what else to do with it. Stashed items are rarely used. In some cases, never. Many of us simply own too much stuff and tend to use our garages as storage units, which works as long as you have adequate driveway or street parking. But if you are downsizing you may no longer have the luxury of extensive garage space. Here’s how to seriously downsize the belongings in your garage and clear out your mind!
1. Sports equipment, camping gear, beach chairs and old bikes.
Take all sport related items into a staging area, and have a serious consideration if you’ll ever use them again. Yes, it was great to go bike riding when we lived downtown, but do we really plan on doing it again? The same goes for camping equipment, golf clubs, tennis rackets, and skis. Try to think long and hard about the last time you actually used these items.
Sometimes sports equipment and other outdoor gear are popular items left behind or given from other family members. If this is your case, send pictures to family members and ask whether you can get rid of it for them. For the items making the cut, try and find solutions to get the larger items up and off the floor; This MEC Bike hanger can do the trick.
2. Holiday decor.
How does one collect so much holiday decor over the years?
Picture the home you have, or are moving into. How much space will there be to decorate? Consider your decorations for other holidays such as Easter & Halloween. Do you still need to decorate for these holidays?
Start with the bulk items that have always been difficult to store. Then move onto possible duplicates. Think about the size and space you’re moving to and what can be paired down to fit it correctly. This may be the time to free yourself of an overabundance of ornaments and only keep the ones you really love. Once you twiddled down your ornaments find a good storage unit to keep the loved ones safe and secure.
3. Suitcases, tote bags, book bags, and backpacks.
For some reason, I often find old suitcases, tote bags, computer bags and backpacks stored in client garages. Maybe your children may have played sports growing up and received a new backpack every new season. A lot of people have a hard time throwing out an almost-new backpack every year. Over the years, this free stuff can get out of control.
Reflect on whether these items are adding value to your life and realistically think about the storage capacity in your new home. It’s a good rule of thumb, but try to only save items you have used over the last year, as well as suitcases you use when you travel. Then donate the rest so that someone else can enjoy them.
4. Gardening supplies.
You’ll need to ask yourself these questions in deciding what tools to keep.
- Will you have a yard in your new home?
- Will you be responsible for yard maintenance or will a homeowners association be doing it for you?
- Will you have a lawn?
- Do you even enjoy gardening?
- Will you be hiring a gardener?
If you will not have a yard or if someone else will be doing your yard work for you, feel free to donate your gardening supplies and lawn mower. If you will have a small balcony or patio where you can have containers, consider keeping a few small items such as a trowel, weeder, and gardening gloves.
5. Old shoes.
Often old, worn and out-of-date shoes often find their way to the depths of the garage. Think seriously about disposing of the unused footwear. It might be worth keeping that one extra pair, otherwise say goodbye!
6. Unwanted household items.
All those old craft projects, grandma’s china, and out-of-date frames find their way into storage. Using the garage might be a way of putting off the decision of what to do with them. For these items, I would either bring them to a local consignment store or even sell them on eBay or Kijiji.
7. Warehouse-size household products.
We all love a good Costco shop, but moving to a smaller space is a good time to think about that bulk buying habit. Products from these stores take up large amounts of precious space. Consider using up your stash, then buying normal-size products moving forward.
8. Old paint, motor oil, other hazardous waste and electronic waste.
All of these items collect up over time. They aren’t always permitted to be tossed into the garbage can. Check out the City of Calgary’s electronic recycling program or their hazardous disposal program.