How to Organize Your Garage (and park your car inside)

how to organize your garage

 

With spring is here now is the time to tackle the garage. Organizing the garage can be a giant project, but you will be giddy when your garage is clean and organized and you can easily park your car and find gardening tools, bikes, and other items you use in warmer weather.  Use these 6 steps to organize your garage this spring.

 

1. Make a Game Plan: Planning ahead makes every tasks easier. Write down what you want to accomplish in the garage and how you plan to accomplish it. What are my goals? How will things be stored? Will I use boxes or bins? Where will things be stored? Will I need to invest in a storage system?  When will I do this work? How will items be donated? How will heavy trash be picked up? Be practical and keep the end in mind in planning your project.

2. Enlist Help: Working as a team makes everything easier. It can be you and your family, you and a team of teens, or you and your paid helpers. Your team helps you decide what to toss out, helps you move large and heavy items around, and offer perspectives on how to best store and organize things. A team also makes the work more fun!

3. Move Everything Out: Plan to move everything out of the garage. You can use your lawn blower to blow out all the cobwebs and dust that have accumulated. This gives you a fresh start to your project.

4. Sort & Toss: As you are moving items out, determine what you will be decluttering and letting go.  Deciding what to keep and what to toss is usually the most difficult part. Decisions can be based on how often an item is used or if it is broken or unusable. Items can be donated that are still working to local philanthropies. Consider placing items that are to be given away on the curb depending on rules in your neighborhood or listing free items on local social media sites. Be sure your plan and timeline align for trash pick up.

5: Categorize: Once you’re left with your “keep” pile items, it’s time to group like items together. Some typical garage storage categories include:

  • Landscaping and yard tools
  • Power tools and repair tools
  • Automotive items
  • Holiday decorations
  • Sports gear
  • Children’s outdoor toys

Items that should not be kept in the garage are technology or photos. These deteriorate with non-climate controlled conditions.

6. Store:  Plastic bins are best for stacking and durability. Use clear bins so you can see what is in each. Add labels to the bins to be specific.

Choose a specially designed tool box for your tools. With drawers, you can categorize your tools. Label each drawer to know what is stored inside.

Instead of stacking bins and other items on the floor in the corner, take advantage of the vertical space your garage has to offer. Sturdy shelves with ample durability, large hooks, and ceiling racks are great for storing and hanging everything up off the floor, creating a clean, organized look and opening up floor space.

Place items back in the garage with an eye toward frequency of use. More frequently used items should be stored in a visible area and within easy reach. Less frequently used and seasonal items should be stored out of the way. Kids bikes and riding toys should be to the front of the garage, near the garage door.

 

Look back on your project and the work you have accomplished each day as you pull your car into your newly organized space.

10 Day Spring Organizing Challenge

Start any day you like this spring with this 10 day organizing challenge! Here are 10 days of challenges to organize your home, office and life!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Get Organized with Cyber Security

 

get organized with cy

We have all recently heard about an Instagram or Facebook account being hacked.  Maybe you have experienced a situation where a family member or friend accidentally gave access to a bank account to a scammer. Cyber security has become a necessary part of life. Cyber security is protection of computer devices from information disclosure, theft of or damage. This includes your online financial accounts, social media and any information accessible online. There are simple steps and a checklist you can use to safeguard your information and save yourself time, energy and frustration. This requires organization and maintenance for you to stay safe.

 

Setting up devices with security.

Set up is the first step to secure your information. Know that all devices have these settings.

  • Set up privacy settings on your devices as soon as you purchase. Look in the settings-> mail -> privacy protection.
  • Set up two factor verification. This is where you get a text or a phone call with a code before a log in can happen for any account.
  • Be sure to have virus protection on your computer. Antivirus software prevents access to your information on your computer.
  • Update devices regularly. These updates include fixes and patches for security.

Password Protection

Passwords are the gateway to all information for us. This is especially difficult for us because these extra steps seem to be a barrier rather than protection.

  • Use passwords with a trusted tool such as Last Pass. No one needs to remember all their secure passwords and a password manager keeps your information safe.
  • Use unique passwords for every account. It is easy for all your accounts to be comprised with similar or same passwords.
  • Turn off Password Save for your computer and online access. You easily access your password manager instead.
  • Share your passwords only with those you trust. If you are helping a senior member of your family or community, encourage them to use a password manager for this reason.

Recognize scams and fraud early.

We are seeing more and more online scams and fraud. These are not always easy to spot so having a healthy dose of skepticism is necessary.

  • Be aware and suspicious of interactions of any sort with unknown inquiries. That includes whether a bill has been paid or a purchase has been made. These inquiries can occur through email or phone.
  • Know that social media captures information about you. From the movie, The Social Dilemma, we know that social media uses information we share. Be alert to this while sharing your personal information online.
  • Be wary of emails from unknown sources. Never under any circumstances click on unfamiliar, unrequested links.

 

Being organized about your cyber security can help prevent long lasting issues with finances and personal security. It takes time, just like other tasks, but the pay back is well worth the investment.

Get Organized with Contacts, Email and Snail Mail Addresses

organize your contacts, information and addresses

 

No one remembers your 7 – 10 digit phone number or your Venmo account name. Happily this is all automated for us now.  Your contact list is a combination of your closest connections and lots of possible vendors and business people. Keeping your list up to date makes it easier to work together and also saves you time trying to find information. Here’s how to organize this area to make it easy and seamless for you.

 

Consolidate

You want your information in one place. Currently it could be in many different locations such as icloud, gmail, or any other email system. This might be the hardest part of this project. Where do you want to keep your contacts? If you have used Outlook, it’s often the easiest place to keep this information.  Google and gmail are a good choice if you use gmail as your native email account. Google syncs with all phones and transfers easily.

 

Name

Consistent naming helps you remember who and what to look up in your phone. You might be storing contacts for a new roof or doctor. Or you could have met a contact at a recent event and want to connect later. Having a consistent practice for entering information into your contacts helps!  Decide if you want to enter Name, Business (business name and what that business does).  That would be Ellen Delap, Professional-Organizer.com, paper organizing. Keeping consistent also helps you keep the clutter in your contacts to a minimum.

 

Edit

Editing is a tedious job, so it’s a task we can do while sitting in a carpool line, waiting on a prescription or when we are low energy. Look through contacts and delete those that are not used or you can’t remember when you last contacted that person.

 

Update

When it comes to updating, it is best to take a minute and update as soon as you see new information. It’s easier to do this right away because your contacts are always current.

 

Backlog

Before you add new contacts from business cards or other scraps of paper, be sure you review first. Adding names and businesses just in case will not help you.

 

Power up

According to SalesForce, “Contact management is the process of recording contacts’ details and tracking their interactions with a business. Such systems have gradually evolved into an aspect of customer relationship management (CRM) systems, which allow businesses to improve sales and service levels leveraging a wider range of data.”  If you are overwhelmed with contacts in your small business, it’s time to power up to a CRM to help you with contacts and leverage this information.

Financial Apps Make Organizing Your Finances Easy

 

financial organizing

Getting organized with your financial information can feel like climbing Mount Everest and the side of the mountain is quick sand. There is alot to look up at, the peak seems far off and there is consistently sliding back and forth. Money brings with it many emotions too. Check out these many automated tools that will help you gain control and get organized with your finances.

 

Cyber security first

We are all aware of the online dangers, phone and text scams, and dark web. Every account needs a strong, unique password. LastPass offers online security for you with easy access. If you are more of a paper person, use a paper address book listing the user name, password, and security questions. If you receive any kind of request about purchasing or payments, go directly to the source of payment. This is a time to be overly cautious.

 

Bill paying

Solutions: Many of us have been using automated bill paying online for a long time. The easiest way to pay is using your bank app and adding account information. You can pay directly from the bank to the vendor. The next easiest payment plan is with your credit card. Keep a list of automated payments, the vendor account numbers in case there is a gap in payment. Maybe you want to know more about your spending and how much you spend on different categories.  Quicken offers online bill pay with a tracking dashboard. This tools helps you analyze and strategize about your money.

Solutions: There are always random bills that need to be paid that arrive in the mail. There are quarterly payments for taxes too. Establish a command center where mail is opened and bills are paid. Set aside a weekly or bi-monthly time to pay bills. Keep your check book here with envelopes and stamps to efficiently pay with paper.

Routines: Set aside a weekly time to open mail and pay bills. Check your bank and credit card balances weekly or monthly to be sure all bills are paid and the amounts of payment.

 

Budgeting

Solution: There are two favorite budgeting tools Mint and You Need A Budget (YNAB). Both offer you consolidation of information to make financial decisions. You will need this tool to analyze where and what you are spending.

Routine: Review your spending monthly, quarterly or annually with a strategic planning meeting. With your consolidated information you can make good decisions on your next financial steps.

 

Credit

Solution: Your credit score helps lenders decide whether to give you a mortgage, credit card or other line of credit as well as the interest amount you will pay. The score is an assessment of you are a credit risk at the time of application. This score goes up and down monthly as you pay bills, get new credit and pay off loans. A good credit score saves you money, gives you options for better loan rates, and more. Credit Karma offers you a free monthly view of your credit score. Many banks offer this as service. 

Routine: Review your credit score annually or before a major purchase.

 

Taxes

Solution: Gather your paper or digital documents in January, February and March. Follow these instructions here. Can’t find your most important tax papers? Look online for your property tax payments and mortgage interest expense.  It’s easy to locate these records on your mortgage or banking websites. Medical expenses are easy to track online at your medical provider’s website.

Routine: At the beginning of February, mark your calendar for a 2 hour tax session with yourself! Go through your checkbook, bank statement and files to find important items to copy for accounting purposes. Three weeks later, mark another 2 hour tax session to wrap up those loose ends and file your documents in your master file. If you use an accountant, you are ready to send in your papers.  If you file yourself, break your filing sessions into manageable chunks like 2 hour sessions too!  You can always break these sessions into one hour segments too.  Most importantly marking these on your calendar commits you to work.

 

Bringing it all together

Make your financial organizing a priority with a weekly or bi-monthly review of your automated tools. Dig deep and think what you want to know about your spending and your goals. Create a dashboard with the information you want to know. Use your financial planning time to feel confident about your financial success. Add bookmarks to access each site easily and your ready!