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Develop a plan to cut the clutter, organize storage

By Glenn Haege

The Detroit News

November 11, 2011

Both Benjamin Franklin and Mark Twain have been credited with the famous quote: "The only two certainties in life are death and taxes." However, if you are a homeowner, you could easily add another. The longer you live in a house, the more stuff you accumulate.

Unfortunately, the more stuff you accumulate and store, the smaller your house seems to get. That's why it is vital to get your storage situation organized so you can eliminate the clutter that makes it feel like your house is shrinking.

For most of us, the areas of the home that need the most organizational help are, in no particular order, the basement, garage, closets and the kitchen. No matter what area you need to organize, the first thing you should do is to get rid of anything you don't use by throwing it away or donating it.

Once you have rid your home of unnecessary items, then you can start to develop an organization plan that ensures you can easily find items when you need them. For example, if you are storing things in the basement, using stackable boxes or containers to store things and labeling them on the side with the contents can decrease the amount of space needed for storage and make it easier to find things.

But remember, boxes don't protect your items from moisture or a flooded basement. Instead, spend a little extra money and protect your stored items by putting them in plastic storage bins with lids such as the ones available from Rubbermaid, (888) 895-2110, www.rubbermaid.com.

Another way to maximize your storage space is to use shelves to stack boxes and bins. Not only will it get your boxes or bins off the floor to avoid potential water damage, it will make it easier to find things. A Michigan company that offers plenty of shelving products for all the rooms in your home is appropriately named the Shelving Store, (800) 637-9508, www.theshelvingstore.com.

For closet organization, you also may want to consider shelving and organizing systems available at many home and hardware centers. A Michigan company, Easy Track, (800) 562-4257, www.easytrack.com, also has a popular and easy-to-install organizing system that features a variety of closet solutions and accessories.

This time of year, storing outdoor furniture and other warm weather items in the garage can put a real crunch on the amount of space you have to park your car. Shelves can help minimize the amount of floor space you use to store and stack things. In addition, there is plenty of wall space available to hang garden tools and sports equipment. One inexpensive option is put up pegboard and use hooks that fit into the holes to hang up everything from rakes to hockey sticks. There also are products designed specifically to help with garage organization. For example, Whirlpool's Gladiator Garage Works, (866) 342-4089, www.gladiatorgw.com, offers a complete line of garage organizing and storage systems.

Another site to find garage storage products is Garage Werks, (866) 999-3757, www.garagewerks.com, based in Ada, which offers everything from ceiling storage units to racks for bikes, sports equipment and tools. Gear racks also are great innovations for garage storage and are available from online retailers like RedLine Garage Gear, (877) 624-2332, www.redlinegaragegear.com.

In the kitchen, hanging and stacking dishes, cups and food items really can make small cupboards and shelf spaces work more effectively. In addition to the kitchen-organizing products you can find at home centers, check out these three websites for kitchen organization products: Organize.com, www.organize.com; Space Savers, www.spacesavers.com; and Get Organized, www.shopgetorganized.com.

So while you are searching through stacks of boxes and overflowing closets to find your winter clothes or holiday decorations, consider getting organized before you put everything back this time. Comedian George Carlin may have said it best: "That's all your house is: a place to keep your stuff."

If you would like to suggest a question for this column, e-mail askglenn@masterhandyman.com. If you want to talk to Glenn Haege personally, call his “Handyman Show” on WJR-AM (760) at (866) ASK GLENN, (866) 275-4536 between noon and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The “Handyman Show” can be heard on more than 130 radio stations nationwide.

 

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