Over the years, has your garage become a retirement home for old computers, printers, TVs, and gaming systems? It’s one thing if you’ve set up an office or an entertainment area in your garage…it’s something else if you’ve just stashed old stuff in there because you’re not sure what else to do with it.
If you’re hoarding things because your instinct is that you shouldn’t just throw your electronic waste in the trash, you’re right. Your “e-waste” can contain hazardous materials like lead, mercury, and cadmium – as well as valuable ones like copper, silver, and gold. When e-waste goes to a landfill, the nasty stuff can get into our air and water. And the valuable bits go to waste, instead of being recycled.
So what can you do with the e-waste in your garage? Various municipal and not-for-profit organizations, as well as manufacturers and big-box retailers, have established e-waste programs that help people donate and recycle their goods. If you’re looking for e-waste help near you, check the EPA’s Electronics Donation and Recycling webpage. You’ll find links to programs as well as e-waste facts and advice.
When you’ve donated or recycled your e-waste, you can take satisfaction in having done a good deed. And with less junk in your garage, you can take pride in reclaiming your space.
Better organization means less waste. It’s that simple.
If you want to make a difference this Earth Day, start with what’s probably the most disorganized room in your home: the garage.
A cluttered garage makes finding your things inconvenient, awkward, and sometimes, downright gross. This leads to a lot of wasteful purchasing.
How many times have you bought a new bottle of weed killer, a new can of paint thinner, or a new tub of car wax because you couldn’t find the one you already have in your garage? Or didn’t even want to look for it? You grabbed a new one off the shelf at the store, knowing that the old stuff was hidden up in some corner of your garage, out of reach, covered in dust and grime. If you managed to dislodge it from its spot, you’d knock over a dozen other things in the process.
This is how we end up over-buying all sorts of household goods, and accumulating so much household hazardous waste (HHW). Paint, cleaning products, batteries, pool chemicals, automotive fluids, pesticides…a lot of what we keep in our garage is potentially harmful to us, and to the environment.
So for your own sake, and for the earth, make a little time to go out to your garage and round up all those cleaning, gardening, painting, and automotive chemicals. Organize what you’re going to keep and use. Make it accessible to you, but out of children’s reach. Then take what’s left over to your local HHW recycling center, and dispose of it safely.
“Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.”
William Morris, leader of the Arts and Crafts movement in England, proclaimed this golden rule in 1880.
Your house can benefit from Morris’ wisdom today. And your garage is probably the part of your house that can benefit the most.
Chances are your garage is full of things you’re just not sure about keeping.
- The miracle cleaning product you used once
- The gardening gizmo you never got around to assembling
- The sports equipment your kids have long outgrown
- The holiday decorations you keep forgetting to put up
We all accumulate things that we’re not sure we’ll ever use again. But we save them, just in case. It feels like the wise thing to do. But is it really just the lazy way out? It sure seems easier to close the garage door on your clutter and forget about it, than to make a good decision and take action.
What if, at least once a week, you chose an abandoned item in your garage and asked yourself: Do I know this is useful? Do I believe this is beautiful?
You could decide that the funny gadget for cleaning your gutters is pretty useful after all. And that your neglected pink flamingo is indeed a thing of beauty. Great. Keep them. Start using them. Enjoy them.
You could decide there’s not much use in keeping a tricycle now that your toddler is a teenager. And that the Thanksgiving wreath your aunt made in 1982 isn’t getting any less ugly over time. Okay. It’s time to let these things go. It’s time to reclaim your space.
Now you have to make another decision: donate, sell, recycle, or throw away? Following through will take a little bit of effort. But it will be worth it. Getting rid of clutter that isn’t useful or beautiful feels good.
Will you take the challenge, starting today? Head out to the garage, grab something you haven’t used in years, and ask yourself if it’s useful or beautiful. If it’s not, let it go.
Here at Gladiator, we know that starting to organize your garage can be tough. Tackling the mess takes determination, and it’s not a one-time deal. You’ll dig in and make some good progress, but soon enough you’ll have to call it a day. To get the job done, you’ll have find more time, reignite your determination, and start again. The truth is, it’s going to take a few starts before you finish.
So rather than just declare a National Garage Organization Day, we decided that America needs a National Garage Organization Month. Because turning your garage from cave of clutter into to a place you can be proud of takes motivation, commitment, and frankly, a bit of time.
We chose April because it’s the first full month of spring. As the weather improves and the days get longer, it can be a lot easier to tackle the big projects than it was over the winter. Well, a little easier, at least.
It’s a whole month dedicated to your garage, and to everything it can be. A real opportunity to take the project on, and to see it through. One month from today, you could have a garage that is actually a pleasure to spend time in. A place where you can easily find what you need. A place where you can accomplish things: fixing something old, building something new, passing skills down to your kids. And yes, showing off to the neighbors.
This is why, for the eighth year in a row, Gladiator is celebrating National Garage Organization Month. Join us in the celebration. Rethink your garage. Imagine what it could be, and go for it. This time next month, you could have the garage you’re imagining today.
The first day of spring is here at last.
What do you look forward to each spring? The start of baseball season? Your garden in bloom? Firing up your grill again? The combination of all of these? Whatever you like most about spring, it comes down to new beginnings.
Our favorite new beginning every spring? You guessed it: spring cleaning.
Sure, spring cleaning can sound like a chore. But we think of it as a voyage of discovery. When it comes to your garage, spring cleaning is a chance for you to rediscover things you once had a use for, or had fun with, and to give them a new beginning. Either in your own home, or by selling or donating them to someone else.
Spring cleaning can also gives your garage a whole new beginning. It’s a chance for you to reclaim your space.
Maybe you’d just like to be able to find – and reach – everything you keep in there.
Maybe you’d like a little more room to maneuver, so that unloading groceries from the car to the house doesn’t mean going through an obstacle course, knocking over bottles of car wax, and getting a rake in the face.
Maybe you’d like to go further, and reclaim your garage as a workspace, a game room, a studio, or a man cave.
Spring’s a great time to do it. Check the weather forecast, find a sunny day – or at least a dry one – and clear out your garage. Move everything to your driveway or your lawn, sorting it into piles: what you’ll keep, sell, donate, or toss.
When you’ve narrowed down what you’re going to keep, it’ll be easier to think about how you’d like it to be organized when it’s back in your garage.
And while your garage is empty, measure it so that when you’re ready to plan your storage strategy, you’ll know the space you’re working with.
Whatever new beginnings you find this spring, we at Gladiator GarageWorks wish you the best. And if any of those new beginnings happen to be in your garage, we’re here to help.
By Nick Light
My dearest garage,
Today is Valentine’s Day, and I love you. From the moment I laid eyes you, I knew you were the one for me. That’s not to say that things were perfect. Though your heart was full of love, it was also full of clutter. I was well intentioned but I allowed the Christmas decorations, sports equipment and tools to pile up like shipping crates in a shipyard. It wasn’t fair to you, to me, or to the car out in the driveway.
But because we were both committed, we took it in stride. So, instead of flowers and earrings, I got some Gladiator GearTrack and wall solutions, Rack Shelving, a Chillerator, a beautiful bamboo-top Storage Bench and a few Floor Packs. We installed them and worked at it. I organized the items into zones, hung the bikes on your ceiling, organized the shoes in the Storage Bench and parked the lawnmower on the new flooring area.
Since then we’ve been so much more than what the term “a man and his garage” conjures up. When the holidays came (and the snow with it) I quickly found all of the decorations (and shovels) and moved the car inside. When the NFL playoffs arrived (and my buddies with them), you transformed yourself into our entertainment room and played gracious host. Soon the mercury rose sky high, and you were perfect in how you dealt with Aunt Debbie, her kids and the grill at the Fourth of July party. Lastly, when I got really into CrossFit you were better than any commercial gym.
Because you always make space for me, there will always be space in my heart for you. Happy Valentine’ Day, my garage.
By Nick Light
By now you’ve heard the news – America’s most famous groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil, did not see his shadow this past weekend, meaning we’ll have an early spring. But you know what this means for us non-groundhogs, especially those of us who are constantly thinking about organization? It means spring cleaning might be coming earlier than we had hoped.
But Instead of giving organization tips or ideas for this spring (don’t worry – you’ll get those eventually), we thought we would just take this time to appreciate that fact that spring cleaning, like Punxsutawney Phil, heralds spring itself. Regardless of whether or not Phil’s prediction will come to fruition, spring will be upon us soon enough.
Where I grew up, there’s no such thing as spring. Winter goes from Halloween to April, then mud season, then summer. My buddies and I had a good time anyway, putting on our shorts at the first sign of the sun feeling warmer (usually around 50 degrees or so). We’d inevitably end up riding our bikes around or playing a game of pickup football, and coming home with sunburned cheeks and chapped lips. But there’s no denying the anticipation one can feel in the spring (or mud season) air.
If this sounds anything like your spring (or even if it doesn’t), take a few minutes this weekend to shake off your winter hibernation mentality, throw open the garage doors and tell your organizational shadow to just wait a couple weeks. Believe us, it’ll still be there later, and it might even be a little bit shorter when the sun gets a little higher in the sky.
Nick is a Gladiator PR guy who grew up in the Adirondack region of Northern New York State (Yes, people do live up there). In his off-time, he enjoys cycling and generally any activities on or near mountains or lakes. His secret superpower is that he can play many musical instruments, regardless of his proximity to a garage.