My Garage is Now . . . Organized! (With "After" Pictures!)

organizing my garage Day Two at Spring Spruce Up

Here it is.

My final garage post.  Final . . . because it’s done!

Monday, I shared about my attempts to “at least do something.”  Tuesday, I recounted the day when I really got going on this monstrous project.  Yesterday, I actually got excited as I wrote about the momentum I was gaining. 

The final day, Tuesday, began with me doing my Bible Study in the dining room, waiting eagerly to see if all of our trash would actually be removed.  Unlike everywhere else we’ve lived, we’ve never seen anything about a limit on how much trash you can put out in one day here.  We had. . . . are you ready for this . . . sixteen bags.

Mmmm-hmmm.  SIXTEEN.

And a rickety ladder. 

Thankfully, they took every last bit.

(Disclaimer/explanation: A few bags were household trash not put out while we were gone last week, plus this week’s trash, plus quite a few bags from all the work hubby did in the backyard while I worked in the garage.)

After I cleaned the kitchen, I donned my workclothes and tennis shoes and dust mask and headed out to (hopefully) finish up the garage organization project.

Here was what I saw:

I began straightening.  Just putting each and every little last thing where it needed to go.

You know, like putting the rarely-needed-but-when-you-do-need-it-you-don’t-want-to-search-through-a-crazy-disorganized-garage windshield scraper . . . . in the Suburban.

Work gloves went in the newly created . . . work glove box. 

I put all of the mysteriously-on-their-own storage container lids together.

I even got TOTALLY crazy and put the few Christmas decorations I’d uncovered . . . up in the attic.  Somehow, in my mind, that is a hubby-job, so for me to do it was a much bigger deal than it should be.

I moved one of the now-completely-unneeded-in-the-garage shelves onto the back patio.  If it’s not useful there, I guess we’ll get rid of it.

Okay, are you ready?

Here’s the overall before picture:

And the overall after picture:

The right side before picture:

And the right-side after picture:

Another view:

The left side before picture:

And the left side after picture:

On one of the never-before-seen-due-to-the-crazy-amounts-of-clutter chests, I put all of my (for the future when I learn how to sew) sewing stuff:

(And a book that my normal friend who reads my blog loaned me a very long time ago.  She stresses every time I write a decluttering post, fearing that I’ve chucked it.  I’ve known it was in that spot forever, so I’m leaving it there until I remember to get it back to her . . . even if that’s another five years.)

And, I have to show what a fabulous little space I uncovered for our needed-but-always-in-the-way chairs:

Oh . . . and I also must include the very last thing I did .  . .

I labeled.  

I used to be scared of labels, because I know how unnatural it is for me to actually put things back where they go, even when I know where they go, and even when there’s a label.  But as I learned through this process, labels help me know/remember where things go, and that just makes life easier.

Even if I don’t put them there immediately.

This project was soooo much work.

Every day of this series, I’ve been sharing advice.  If you’re a regular reader, you know I generally only share what I’ve learned, and try not to phrase it as adviceI’m just a real-life slob who is determined to change, and is making real-life progress. 

But here’s my advice for today, and I’m not going to feel bad about sharing it:

Don’t let yourself think you can’t do it.  Don’t believe the all-too-easy-to-believe lie that you aren’t capable of organizing. 

My garage definitely won’t be written up in an organizational magazine.  It’s not pretty.  My “storage containers” don’t match, and some aren’t even meant to be storage containers.  My labels aren’t made with a fancy machine.  They’re hand-written on mailing labels with a too-fat permanent marker by someone who can’t seem to judge how much room she’ll need before she starts writing.

But I did it.  And it totally works for me.

Yes, a part of me is scared that it will fall back into disarray like it’s done before after I cleaned it out.  And it probably will to some degree.  But this time is different.

My brain is different than it was before I started this deslobification process. 

I get it now. 

I get that if there isn’t a purpose for keeping something, I shouldn’t keep it.  I get that if there isn’t a place for something, I need to either make a place, or not keep it. I get that organizing is not just about finding an empty space to shove every last thing.

And I truly believe that getting it . . . is the most important thing.

Now I can’t wait to see everyone else’s Spring Spruce Up projects!  Link up below so we can cheer you on!  And remember that linking up below means that your link will also show up on the blogs of all the Spring Spruce Up bloggers!




  1. 1

    Great job! And I have to ask–is that a cake plate on top of the fridge? Enjoy your clean garage!

  2. 2

    As always, thanks for sharing with such candor. I am always inspired when I read your blog. This series is particularly inspiring because we desperately need to de-clutter our garage. We cannot even get a car in ours. Thanks for the encouragement that it is possible!

  3. 3
    Rebekah from Simply Rebekah says:

    It looks great! I also have those "it's my hubby's job" thoughts about things. For my own guest room project I considered it finished even though I still needed to show hubby the trash for him to deal with and the boxes that needed to go to the attic. 🙂

  4. 4

    THAT is an ENORMOUS job that would have caused me to need a nap just thinking about. WAY! TO! GO!! I simply cannot imagine facing it. Just curious — I can't tell from the pictures if the wooden shelving on the right side is completely empty or has one box on top. Why did you decide to keep it? Seems putting those things on the floor would take up less space and give you less room to store "future clutter"? Just wondering if I had missed your thought process on what those were for.

  5. 5
    Anonymous says:

    It looks lightyears better! I am a sucker for "before and after" pictures. love it 🙂
    Just two questions:
    1. Why not get rid of that empty wooden shelving unit on the "right side" of the garage (next to the lawn mower and stroller)? It seems like it would free up even more visual space to just get rid of it and that keeping it is just an open invitation to yourself to clutter it with more crap. Same with the unit put on the back patio. Shelves just invite collections. I have found that one of the biggest things that helps me purge on a regular basis is getting rid of extra storage after I've purged. Because if it's empty I WILL fill it up again but if it's not there I will be forced to reevaluate whenever I need to store something and either decide I don't have room and get rid of it or else decide something else is unnecessary and get rid of that so I can use its spot.

  6. 6

    Way. to. GO!!! It looks amazing in there!! Thank you SO much for posting about this. I've got a huge project coming up. We're going out of town for a week and I offered to our single youth pastor that he could stay in our house while we're gone since he works nights and lives in the dorm at Seminary. I thought he'd appreciate a couch and some peace and quiet. BUT we don't have a guest room, so that means I have to clean my master bedroom…you know that hasn't been really clean since before my son was born, my son who just turned 3. I figured two weeks is enough time to clena out dirty clothes and get the floor picked up. I haven't even started yet…the fear is paralyzing! so thanks for those encouraging words!!

    I have a question: was your hubby happy to "beat" the neighbors in the amount of trash this week?!?!

  7. 7
    Nony the Slob says:

    I figured I would have to answer a few questions!

    Kelly, I think that's a cake plate. It has something to do with a flower arrangement. My mother is a master flower designer, and often tries to beautify my home with her creations. The only problem is getting that stuff back to her (I think I've had that thing for at least a few years). So, I decided to put anything that goes back to her on top of the freezer, and she can get it when she comes here. That way it won't get broken or mixed in with other stuff.

    Sarah and Anon, I totally agree about the shelf. HOnestly, I just didn't know what to do with it. It's huge and heavy and can't be easily hauled away, so I was waiting. You're so right about inviting future clutter. Actually, I just thought of a use for it this morning, so it should be moving out of there in the next few days.

    Becky, I can totally relate to your fear!!! And it's so funny that you ask about hubby's competitive trash streak. Honestly, he wasn't as excited as I thought he would be because he was quite nervous that they wouldn't take it all.

  8. 8

    That looks great!! 🙂

  9. 9

    What about putting that shelf in the playroom? Or is there one in there already?

  10. 10
    Nony the Slob says:

    That was both hubby's and my first thought, but we have a cabinet in there with doors that close, and after the big playroom-cleanout a few weeks ago, it seems to be enough.

  11. 11
    Shannon L says:

    Awesome job! Way to go!

    I have a use for the spare shelf. Last summer, you took the kids to the pool often. Why not place your wet bathing suits and pool stuff there in one place? That way the suits will be dry and you won't have to remember finding one of the two flippers(experience talking). How does one shoe, or flipper, land in one room and the other on the other side of the house? 🙂

  12. 12
    Nony the Slob says:


    I did create a pool shelf on one of the other units, but having a place to dry the towels and suits is very intriguing.


  13. 13
    Martha (MM) says:

    What a great job! 🙂

  14. 14

    Bravo!!! Its still too cold up here in ND to clean the garage but I cannot wait!! Thanks for the encouragement and inspiration!

  15. 15

    wow you did an awesome job way to go !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  16. 16
    Mama Laundry says:

    Nony, girl, this is about 50 levels of awesome. And a ridiculous amount of hard work! You should be so proud of yourself!

    Totally impressive.


  17. 17
    See Jamie blog says:


  18. 18
    BusyMommy says:

    Just can't get rid of that stroller, huh?

  19. 19
    Jill Stanish says:

    How about the wooden shelf on the wall with the door (back of garage)? Each child could have their own shelf for shoes/sporting equipment/hobby stuff.

  20. 20
    Nony the Slob says:

    Ha, Busymommy! I was about ready to, but now I'm using it several times a week to make the 3 mile round-trip walk to pick up the boys. My 4yo just can't walk the entire three miles.

    Jill, I'd love to put a shelf on that wall, but our humongous Suburban needs, quite literally, every inch of space from the front to back of the garage.

  21. 21

    Nony you are amazing!! I have a few projects like that that are bugging me… but I haven't had the nerve to start working on them… You inspire me!!

    Thank you!! Great job, it looks wonderful.

  22. 22
    Mara @ Kosher on a Budget says:

    Very inspirational! I love your before and after shots – even more so b/c it's not all matchy-matchy with vinyl wall decals and polka-dotted baskets! I mean, that's lovely, but it's not real… at least not my real. I was completely LOL at your description of your labels by the way. I have the same problem of not being able to judge my space. Hence my investment in a label maker!

  23. 23
    Mary @ Giving Up On Perfect says:

    Wow! Our garage needs a major overhaul. It's just a one-car garage, but we haven't been able to park inside for…um…quite a while. Thanks for the inspiration. If our warm weather ever returns, I'm getting out there to CLEAN IT UP!

  24. 24

    Wow. I totally agree with Mara; it gives me real hope to see that another slob actually made that big a difference without the aid of Neicy Nash or that nice guy with the Australian accent or even a chunk of change spent on adorable matching "systems". I feel much better about tackling my spaces with my ugly white containers (free from my husband's job) and roll of masking tape.

  25. 25
    Tara @ Feels like home says:

    You, my friend, are awesome. Well done!

  26. 26
    Hopewell says:


  27. 27

    Hi my name is Jodi, and my garage is WORSE than yours was… You’ve given me some inspiration, though, especially the “Don’t let yourself think you can’t do it”. That’s been my biggest hang up. I feel like I need help out there, because I just DON’T want to be out there by myself, when my husband used to be the garage cleaner… He’s seriously slacking, and I can’t even PARK in my garage at this point. Hopefully, I can find some motivation soon, and get mine done. OH, and also, the part about the second half going much more smoothly because you already had space for things to be moved to is GENIUS… I totally need to get some sort of shelves going first, just so I can start getting stuff off of the floor. 🙂 Wish me LUCK… or motivation.. or anything 😉

  28. 28

    Welllll. Our garage is much worse than yours. 😛 We couldn’t park in it if we wanted to, and we probably could two of our size car in there. 😛 😛 We have this, um, situation where before we moved here (but already owned the house), my brother and sister-in-law stored some things in it, mostly furniture. Also, my other brother has a collection of stuff out there that was supposed to be shipped to him in Australia after he moved there. Between the money issue, time, the lack of urgent need and lack of effort, it just hasn’t gotten done. More significantly, a bunch of my parents’ stuff that wouldn’t fit in their new down-sized house is in there. Lastly, my husband and I have some things in there. Soooo, it is majorly full – though actually slightly improved as I’ve been picking away at it fitfully. Your blog and reading a book on getting rid of stuff is helping me a lot in various areas, though, so I’m hopeful that eventually even the garage will get done. (Did I just say that?) But, yeah! I want to see even more improvement out there. 🙂 Today I conquered the lower half of the fridge, a much more pressing need. 🙂

  29. 29

    P.S. You did a good job on this! I’d gladly go for this goal in our garage. 🙂

  30. 30

    Wow. You did it!!!! It looks great.

  31. 31
    Jennifer Reed says:

    As someone who is watch season one and season two of quarters and not really understanding why, I’m so glad I found your blog. Seems like you have a sponsor so I will go and try to figure out who he is and what that $35 buys. About the guy on hoarders I’m always amazed at what they can do. And you do a great job too! Thank you very much for your site.

  32. 32
    Jennifer Reed says:

    “Has watched season one and two . . .” Using iPhone. Could make that edit, please? I sound so stupid!

  33. 33
    Karen Luebke says:

    Someone already mentioned it but:

    You won the neighborhood trash contest! Hope hubby appreciated all your work and contribution! 🙂

  34. 34
    Katie Ann says:

    I am itching to tackle the garage! Hubby too. Sadly, it seems we only see each others things when we go in there….. Garages are so tough. You did great, and give me hope. 🙂

  35. 35

    New here, and a few years late, but impressed with your garage organization efforts. We can barely walk through ours! I’m focusing on the inside of the house, one little mess at a time. I’d have to put some kind of cover on things like the sewing machine or paint rollers. They’d get so dusty I’d have to pitch them! I’m great at re-using the plastic bags comforters and blankets come in. They last for years, and are usually clear so you can see the contents.

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