Is your garage overflowing with odds and ends leaving no room for its intended purpose – storing your car? Then you are in the same boat as many other homeowners. Garages can be such a tempting to place to hide stuff that doesn’t have a place, after all out of sight out of mind. If you are ready to clean up your garage to make things easier to find and maybe even finally fit your car inside of it again keep reading.

Start by clearing out your garage. Go through everything and sort items into giveaway/sell, toss and keep piles. Get rid of anything that your children have outgrown, you haven’t used in years or household chemicals that have since expired (be sure to responsibly dispose of these). This step can be a weekend project in itself so don’t worry if you don’t have the organized garage you envisioned before Monday.

When you have settled on what will be staying in your garage sort the remaining items into categories. Typical garage storage usually contains categories like seasonal items, tools, and sports equipment. When reorganizing you will want to make sure everything stays organized. You can do this by giving everything an assigned place and preferably a clearly labeled one. When possible assign items their places in a way where they will be off the floor. This prevents clutter from building up and forces you to give everything a home throughout the process and in the future.

When you have emptied out your garage and organized your remaining items into categories you will have given yourself a clean slate to work with. Set yourself up for future success by investing in shelving units, large plastics bins, small glass jars and maybe even a label maker. Slat board, peg board, and track based organizational systems are other great ways to keep items off the floor, organize smaller items and hang up tools. Garages are also a great place to utilize ceiling space by installing overhead storage. Since you have already decided on categories and what is staying you should have a good idea of what kind of storage solution will work best for your garage.

Once you’ve created a storage system in your garage with assigned places for each item you should have that coveted room to park your vehicles inside again! Take the time to choose where you will be parking your vehicle and hang a tennis ball from a string to signal when you are parked in the correct place. The ball should gently bump the windshield when you are in the right spot. When choosing your new parking spot allow for space to walk between the vehicle and the back wall as well as the side walls. If you have a two car garage ensure that there is plenty of room between the two cars so that when doors are opened it doesn’t risk bumping the other car.

Depending on how cluttered your garage is organizing it may be longer than a weekend project. However, by investing the time into creating a smart storage system you will be able to use your garage not only easily but also stress-free. Happy cleaning!

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Are you beginning your house hunt as a first-time homebuyer or looking to buy a larger home that fits the needs of your family? No matter your situation, purchasing a home is a large investment and one that should be approached with caution and the use of your head, not your heart. There are multiple types of homes that one can purchase: condo, duplex, multi-family, single-family, etc. And one of those types will be the right fit for you. Let’s take a look at the pros of purchasing and owning a single-family home.

Space: Single-family homes provide more space­—more outdoor space, more indoor space, and more parking space. Of course, there are exceptions, but generally this is the case for single-family homes. Take advantage of this luxury of more space by entertaining and fully utilizing it all. Since apartments and condos are usually in complexes, personal space can be minimal, where shared space is generally larger. Decks and backyards (if any at all) are small so that each renter or homeowner has their own space. This also goes for the inside; square footage will be less in the types of properties listed above, especially if they are located in a city.

Privacy: Privacy is extremely important to many, and for good reason. With a single-family home you will have much more privacy than when owning other types of homes. Condos and duplexes share walls with other owners’ properties, which means your neighbors are always close by. You may hear them through the walls or be enjoying your separate deck spaces just feet apart. It may not sound like it’s all that terrible, but you never know who your neighbor will be; they could throw parties every night, vacuum at 4 am, or even have triplets that never stop crying.

No restrictions: Unless you are purchasing a historical home, there are likely no property restrictions. A single-family home gives you the opportunity to completely turn it into your own and do just about whatever you want on your land (check with your town before renovating/building additions). Condos can have multiple restrictions that include parking, outdoor work, and BBQs.

If the pros above sound like what you are interested in, then a single-family home may be the option for you. But be sure to research the market you are looking in to make sure that you can afford this type of home. If you are looking in a very desirable location with a smaller budget then this option may not work for you at this time. But fear not, continue saving and in the future you will be able to purchase that single-family home you’ve been dreaming of.

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