Garage Storage

10 Tips for Cleaning Out a Hoarder’s Garage

Cleaning out a hoarder’s garage can be a difficult and emotionally taxing experience, especially for the loved ones of the hoarder. Hoarding is a complex mental health issue that can greatly impact a person’s daily life, often requiring professional intervention. While cleaning out the garage may seem like a simple solution, it is essential to consider the challenges and complexities of the task. Before taking it on, evaluate whether you are emotionally and physically equipped to handle it. If you feel ready, here are 10 tips to make the process smoother:

  1. Plan Ahead

    Before starting the cleaning and decluttering process, it’s crucial to create a plan. Take stock of what needs to be done, and break the process down into smaller tasks.

  2. Set a Timeline

    And make sure to stick to it! Setting a realistic timeline is key to avoid feeling overwhelmed during the cleaning process. By sticking to the timeline, you can avoid burning out and ensure a productive and effective cleaning process.

  3. Sort Items Into Categories

    Divide the items you find in the garage into categories such as “keep”, “donate”, “sell”, or “throw-away”. This will help you stay organized and focused.

  4. Create a Workspace

    Designate a specific area in the garage where you can work on sorting and organizing the items. Make sure to keep this space clean and free of clutter.  Garage Storage Solutions

  5. Use Storage Solutions

    To maintain an organized garage, consider investing in storage solutions like shelves, cabinets, and storage bins. These items can help you maximize your space and keep items easily accessible.

  6. Dispose of Items Properly

    Make sure to dispose of items in an environmentally responsible way. This may include recycling, donating, or properly disposing of hazardous materials.

  7. Keep the Hoarder Involved at Every Step

    Involving the hoarder in the cleaning process is crucial, as it can provide them with a sense of investment in the outcome. Moreover, by working collaboratively, you can create a more supportive and empowering environment for the hoarder.

  8. Be Patient

    Cleaning out a hoarder’s garage can be emotionally challenging, both for the hoarder and for those assisting with the cleanup. It’s important to approach the process with empathy and understanding and to be patient with yourself and the hoarder.

  9. Maintain a Clutter-Free Environment

    Once the garage has been cleaned out, make sure to maintain a clutter-free environment. This may involve setting up regular decluttering sessions to prevent hoarding behavior from resurfacing.

  10. Seek Professional Help

    Hoarding can be a very complex issue, and it may be helpful to get assistance from a professional organizer or therapist who specializes in hoarding disorder.

Deciding whether to clean a hoarder’s garage yourself can be an emotional and overwhelming decision. However, it’s important to consider the complexity of the task and the potential impact on your loved one’s mental health. Calling in a professional can ensure that the job is completed efficiently and with care, providing you with peace of mind and allowing your loved one to reclaim their space. Contact ClutterBGone today to schedule a consultation or appointment and take the first step in helping your loved one live a more meaningful and fulfilling life.

organizing the garage

Organizing Your Garage: Are You Making These Mistakes?

If you have a messy garage, you’re not alone. Many people cannot get their vehicles into the garage because it is overrun with objects, from ladders to the Christmas tree and boxes of miscellaneous items. While that might not bother you most of the year, when the weather gets colder, it can be inconvenient to have to thaw out your car in the driveway because it won’t fit in the garage. To help you organize this space, avoid making these common mistakes:

Getting Overwhelmed by the Project

You might have looked at the garage recently and felt the weight on your shoulders when considering going through the clutter. That feeling alone might have stopped you from even started organizing it. But, thankfully, you don’t have to get the project done in a day or even a week.

To keep things from becoming overwhelming, take small steps toward completing the decluttering project. For example, you might spend a half-hour two evenings a week going through things, deciding what to keep, donate, or toss if it is unusable. When taken together, those small blocks of time can really add up!

Holding onto Too Many Things

It can be hard to part with items. While they may not have much monetary value, some things are close to the heart. They might remind you of someone you lost, hold special memories, or be a family heirloom.

You might also wonder if you might need the object in the future. But, holding onto things in case of possibly finding a use for them one day is only taking up valuable room in the garage. Instead, if you haven’t used the item within the last year (all four seasons), the chances are good that you likely won’t require it this year either. The key here is to keep what you love or use regularly and part with the other things.

Not Making Use of Storage

Once you’ve decided what to keep, the next step is to get the appropriate storage solutions. You might assume that using rubber bins is the best approach, but shelving is even handier.

Putting up shelving makes sense in most garages because it gets things off the floor so that your vehicle can come inside into the warm. Also, you won’t have to lift heavy bins to find what you need at the bottom of the stack. Second-hand shelving is often available at online marketplaces if you have a smaller budget.

organizing the garage

Not Creating Zones

Our professional organizers love creating zones in spaces like a garage or basement. Sorting items into categories and storing them together makes knowing where to look for certain items easier and faster.

For example, you might devote one side of the shelves in the garage to your kids’ sports equipment. The other side might be for gardening supplies. Over time, you might find that you want to create a new zone or change where you store things, and that’s totally doable!

Creating A Multipurpose Garage

Imagine having a garage where you can park a vehicle (or two) and store items you love. By serving this dual purpose, the garage is more likely to be a space that brings personal satisfaction rather than a lot of stress to look at day after day.

For help with organizing the garage or another part of your home, reach out to our team today. We have unique insights and help you avoid mistakes like those mentioned above.

Outdoor Fall Organizing

Outdoor Fall Organizing Done Right, Finally!

If you are tired of heading into fall and then winter feeling like you haven’t gotten everything accomplished outdoors, this guide is for you. Find out how to organize your home’s exterior so it is not only great for autumn but also ready for the colder months that follow.

Pack Up Patio Furniture

Rather than keeping them out all year long, pack up and store the table, chairs, and umbrella, if possible. That way, these items will stay like new longer, rather than getting weathered by the wind, rain, and other elements.

If you decide to keep the bigger furniture on the patio throughout the year, though, then clean them well to help prevent the growth of mildew and mold. Then put a protective cover on top to deter rust. Ideally, keep cushions in the storage shed or a closed unit on the patio so that any harsh weather doesn’t ruin them.

Outdoor Fall Organizing

Fall Cleaning of the Home’s Exterior

Just as you did spring cleaning, now you will do fall cleaning to ensure the garden is ready for winter. Among the to-do list items are raking leaves from the yard, washing windows, and cleaning the dryer duct.

Another task is to clean the deck. For example, you may decide to weatherproof the wood patio by adding a sealant that protects against mold and mildew.

Before applying the sealant, though, thoroughly clean the deck to remove any debris and leaves trapped between the boards that can otherwise lead to rot. Sweeping and then scrubbing the wood with an appropriate cleaner will be a must in most cases (except if it is a new deck).

Organize the Garage

Now is a great time to clear away any clutter in the garage. By donating, selling, or tossing items that are not used any longer, you will have more physical space for storing the patio furniture. Plus, you will ideally be able to fit your car, rather than having it outdoors in the cold and snow that comes soon.

Plus, organizing the garage will remove any stress you might have otherwise carried with you through fall and winter every time you looked in there. Seeing the clutter would have been a constant reminder that you still needed to clear it out.

Taking the Time Now to Organize

Spending time on outdoor fall organizing activities will help to make life a lot easier come springtime. As you do the tasks mentioned above, think about what you need to remove or make ready for the harsher weather over the next several months.

For example, pick up any toys and yard tools that are outside in the home. Store them in the shed or garage to protect them.

Get more tips, including how to organize a tool shed or garage to make it a more effective use of space by contacting ClutterBGone. Our professional organizers have storage ideas that you won’t find anywhere else. They make the area look great too! Call today to get the outside of your home ready for the harsher weather ahead.

Organizing and Decluttering Your Garage for Spring!

garage organizing

The snow is gone, the air is milder, the buds are starting to appear. All the signs of spring are here! So why aren’t you excited?

Are you having a tough time getting into your garage to find your gardening tools and patio furniture? Well, you’re not alone.

Your garage is a space that’s largely neglected during our cold winter months. Come spring, it needs a good old de-cluttering and organizing just like any other area of your home.

Let’s face it, the winter is cold and it makes it a lot easier to just store items in your garage and forget about them until you’re forced to deal with it head on. Who wants to work in an unheated garage during our cold Canadian winter? This causes you to dump things in the garage over the winter and you eventually must deal with it come spring.

Believe it or not, your garage is not the best place for storage.

Garages typically have solid concrete floors and despite the age of the garage, concrete still creates moisture. Moisture eventually finds its way into your possessions and can create mould. Many of our clients have had their possessions ruined by mould created from this type of moisture.

Do it right!

When storing and organizing items many should be contained so there’s no chance of anything falling on to you, your possessions or your car (for those of you that can fit a car into your garage). Containerizing is also important to protect your belongings from pests and moisture that can be severely damaging.

garage organizing GTA

Sporting goods should all be stored within easy reach and systematically according to seasonality. ClutterBGone has the experience and knowledge to use the right tools and items for easy and safe retrieval.

Time is precious

Depending on the volume of clutter you may need more than one day. A lot of our clients don’t have the time or simply understand and acknowledge that their time is worth more. Many of our garage projects take a minimum of 6 hours and can sometimes exceed 24 hours with a team of two depending on the size of the garage and the sheer volume of items stored (dumped) inside. Remember, it’s not just tidying up, it’s creating a system of organization so that you will never have to do it again.

Make a clean sweep.

Once everything is up and out of your way, you can be sure that we will leave your garage in a clean, tidy and organized manner. Everything will be within reach and easy to put back and retrieve once you’ve invested in a system of organization for your home.

I know most of you are itching to get into your yard work and get back into the garage. Contact us here to find out how ClutterBGone can help you organize your garage in Toronto so you never have to feel the fear of Spring.

Get Organized Month

ClutterBGone is a proud member of the POC (Professional Organizers in Canada) and the National Association of Professional Organizers in the U.S. who have declared January “Get Organized Month”. Many of us here in Canada are also promoting this month long event in order to promote the benefits of living and working in an organized environment.

How organized are you?

Did you know that the average person spends just under one hour looking for things? That’s a lot of time every day that you will never get back.

Organized people know where things are and spend just a fraction of that time looking for items.

This may shock you.

Almost 80% of what we own we never use. We NEVER use!! Take a look through all of your closets, drawers and cupboards with this in mind and see if that number compares to yours. If not, I’ll bet it is very close. Now think about the space you can save and the money you have spent on these items. When purchasing something ask yourself “do I love it?”. If not, take a second to think about it.

Do you pay bills late?

Almost a quarter of adults surveyed (23%) admitted that they regularly paid bills late because they lost the bill. And almost all of these had incurred late fees as a result. A system needs to be set up so you have instant access to your unpaid bills and you know when they are due.

After that, a filing system needs to be in place to file these paid bills. Save money and protect your credit score by paying your bills on time.

The clutter impact

Clutter has a significant impact on the stress in your life. It distracts you from what you need to focus on. It makes it almost impossible for you to relax. It creates feelings of guilt and embarrassment restricting you from being social. It can just plain be a downer. Get organized and see your stress levels drop.

This statistic comes up every year. Almost 90% of us are planning on organizing a part of our life this year. The majority of you are doing so because you’re tired of clutter and its effect in your life. I’m not one for making New Year resolutions but this is one I can get on board with. A new year and a new clutter free environment will improve your productivity, give you back some much needed time, save you money and reduce your stress. Who wouldn’t want that? Let’s start the new year by getting organized. Let me know how you make out and, as always, we are here to help.

Organizing Your Garage – 4 Things You Must Do


I hate to say it, but winter is just around the corner and it’s time to get the garage ready to put your car in there for the winter. I can’t tell you the number of garages I see with possessions stacked to the ceiling.

It can be the absolute worst place to store items due to the condensation coming from the concrete floors and walls and the changing temperatures. I see a lot of garages turned into man caves (smoking rooms) too with fridges, heaters and big screen TV’s.

In our home, we have a single car garage and that’s where my car goes in the winter. My husband readily agreed to that to avoid having to clear off a second car after a winter storm. So, let’s get out to the garage and get it ready for the winter.

Get rid of what you don’t need

The garage is an easy place to dump things and get back to them ‘later’. Especially when there are no cars in there. In North America, almost half of homeowners admitted that the garage was the most disorganized area of the house. It’s little wonder that we receive a lot of calls regarding garages.


Tackle the garage with the same mindset that you do with the rest of the house. If you haven’t used an item in over a year it is time to sell, donate or toss it.

Chemical “freezies”

Now that you have gotten rid of what you don’t need any longer let’s get ready for the cold weather. Place all of your liquids in a tote or box and bring them inside. They won’t freeze or gel and will still be good for next spring and summer.

Don’t forget the garden hose. If it’s on a reel, I like to unwind it to get the water out and then rewind it, disconnect the main hose and take the reel off the wall with the hose attached and store it inside. Sometimes it’s tricky to get all of the water out of those plastic fittings in the reel but this has saved us buying a new reel.

Store it high

Most garages are nine or ten feet high or more. Give some thought to storing things high with either ceiling racks, tall shelving or using manual or electric ceiling hoists for bikes. Some affordable ones can be found at your local hardware or big box store. If you are really in a pinch for space consider a small storage box or deck box for some items.

Zone in

When arranging the items you’re keeping in the garage designate a shelf for each type of item and label each shelf accordingly. Car accessories such as windshield wash and ice scrapers on one shelf, driveway salt on another and kids winter accessories on yet another.


This will help with easy retrieval when needed. Containerizing goes a long way to keeping items in place. And labels are important!

Organizing your garage and getting it ready for winter doesn’t have to cost a lot but it will take some time to do it correctly. If you do need assistance in creating space to get your car in the garage for winter, contact us here. ClutterBGone has done that for a lot of people just like you.

Get Organized Week


Get organized week just past, being the first week of October. Now’s a great time to take part in Get Organized Week with Thanksgiving just over and the Christmas holidays approaching fast. What did you do to get organized?

Being organized isn’t just having a home that looks neat and tidy and where everything has a place. It is also about being able to easily retrieve items you need, not needlessly spending money on items you already have, not having any safety hazards in the home and not wasting precious time. Here’s a quick list of benefits that I promise you will see when you are organized.

Increase your productivity

How many hours do you spend looking for things? If you are part of the national average you are spending one year of your life looking for things. A recent IKEA survey showed that we spend 6 minutes on average looking for our keys in the morning! Newsweek says that we spend 55 minutes each day looking for things we own but can’t find. Get some of that time back and be more productive with your time by being organized.

Improve your health

We all know that stress is a killer and stress can be caused by something as easily as not being able to find something important when you need it.


When you’re organized you will have less stress resulting in more relaxation time or time to do just about anything you want to do. Sound good?

Save money

How often have you gone out and purchased something that you just knew you didn’t have, only to find out shortly after that you did indeed have that item? Now you own more than one and sometimes you will never get any use out of the second one you have.

Do you pay late fees because you can’t put your hands on your bill? You do know that late payments reflect poorly on your credit rating. Get organized and save money.

Be an example to your family

Often when I make an initial visit to a client I find out that they came from a family of disorganization.


Their parents were disorganized with clutter and they didn’t know any way else. Being organized is a skill that will benefit your children throughout their lives in school, at work, and in their own home.

This is just four of the many benefits to being organized. Get Organized Week may have just past but it is not too late to become organized. Give us a call and we can let you know of the many more benefits to being organized.

How To Get Your Car Organized and Decluttered Now

car-trunkTo many people, their car is a statement. Your car can be an extension of yourself and in fact tells others about you, your character, style, and personality. To others, their car is an investment. In either case, a car is a big-ticket purchase that you want to take care of in order to obtain the best possible sale or trade in value.

We’re taking more with us in the car and so are our passengers. Phones, tablets, books, etc. As a result, you want to keep your car’s contents organized, functional and accessible. Let’s look at some ideas and tools to get your car organized.

Starting the car organizing process

Pick a good weather day and roll out a small tarp or blanket on your lawn or driveway. Begin by removing everything out of your car (don’t forget the trunk, behind the visors and all compartments throughout your vehicle). Place everything out on the tarp or blanket.

Keep an open trash bag on hand as well so you can place any trash you come across immediately in the bag.  Also have on hand an empty bin that you can label “Put back in the house” in which you will place any items that originated from there and should be returned.  This would include coffee mugs, food containers, etc. Once everything is out on the tarp, take a photo. You will likely be amazed at how much “stuff” was living in your vehicle without your knowledge.

Categories are cool

This next stage of organizing your car is like a game of “match” as you will be sorting like items with like items.  For instance, place all tools together, DVD’s in another pile, paper in yet another and continue this process until you have put everything in a category, like items with like items.

If you find any maps I suggest you check the dates for relevancy.  My rule of thumb is that any map over 3 years old has likely changed and may not be worth using on your next road trip unless you are looking to take an unscheduled detour. If you have a GPS system or use your phone as one, a map may no longer be necessary. This would also be a good time to update your GPS system.

Once everything is in a category begin to revisit your piles and start purging. Think about the essential items you need in your vehicle all the time. For instance, if your work requires your car to be your office as well, you may need certain office supplies. If you regularly drive kids to and from school, perhaps you may want to carry a supply of wet wipes or snacks.

Remove items that are obsolete and out dated, broken or damaged. Multiples of items should be addressed and should not be kept unless there is something special or unique about them in terms of size or shape.

Organize and corral

Now it’s time to corral all your piles.  Using separate bins and crates, load your categories of items into the best sized container. Corralling items in your trunk will save you time and frustration scrounging around in there when you are looking for something. An orderly car is less frustrating and more efficient than disorganized chaos. Don’t forget to plan a regular schedule for cleaning out your vehicle to maintain the state of organization.

The “kids” stuff

I recently received a terrific car organizer from Bearoy and boy do I wish I had one of these a few years ago. They have thought of everything. This organizer fits around the front seat of your car without any impediment to the person seated up front.

bearoy-car-organizerThis product will not only keep your kids entertained during drives but will also keep the back of your seats clean, drink temperatures maintained and keep everything organized.

The best thing I liked about this car organizer is the ability to insert a tablet into the compartment that has a clear touch-screen window so the tablet stays in place and the screen stays clean. Pockets are there for hot or cold drinks, snacks and has enough pockets for earphones, pens, and other items. There are two carabiners to keep keys from getting lost.

This very affordable, waterproof, polyester organizer will look great in any car and snaps off and rolls up when not needed. To view more details, simply click here. If you would like to purchase this organizer, go to Buy the Bearoy.  One of the best car organizers I’ve seen in a long time!

If you’re planning to travel over the Thanksgiving or Christmas holidays now is the time to get your car organized and ready for every trip. Even without holiday travel, keep your car organized for day to day use and your daily trips with the kids will be much more enjoyable!

Drive organized!

Fight Procrastination And Stay On Top Of Clutter


Fight Procrastination Day came up earlier this month and it got me thinking about how procrastination really is one of the root causes of clutter, beyond those with a hoarding tendency. There are so many comical quotes about procrastination but it really is a serious issue for a lot of people.

“Procrastination isn’t the problem, it’s the solution. So procrastinate now, don’t put it off.” ― Ellen DeGeneres

When your to-do list is a mile long or the house looks like a tornado touched down, it is so much easier to put de-cluttering and organizing off. But you have to get to it at some point. Here are a few tips to help you avoid procrastinating and staying on top of your clutter.

The two-minute rule

If what needs to get done can be done in under 2 minutes, do it now! I know you’re really busy but in the scheme of things what is two minutes compared to the results you will see? This one simple rule alone will have a life changing effect on your home. We tend to put off the smaller, simpler tasks, which ultimately build up, so applying this rule will eliminate a lot of clutter. For example, when you get home with bags from the store, empty and put items away immediately rather than leaving them lying around.

A done list instead of to-do

If you feel overwhelmed with the volume and scope of work that needs to be done around the house, try starting a “done” list and mark down each task you have completed that day. You will see that although it may look like you will never get through everything, in fact, you did complete more than you thought.

Break it down

Does your room look like a wrecking crew came through? Don’t know where to start in the kitchen? Break the job down into smaller tasks to see your accomplishments as you go.


Tackle just one corner of a room or one drawer and don’t stop until you complete the task.

Know when you are at your best

We all don’t function our best at the same time. Try getting me to perform at my peak level early in the morning. It isn’t going to happen. Know your best time of the day when you are at your peak energy level and get started then. You can focus better and be more productive.

No drop zones

Do not allow any surface in your home to be designated as a drop zone. This is going to be tough to enforce with the kids and your spouse but do not let them come home and drop things on the hall table or kitchen counter to be put away later.


Remember the two-minute rule? It applies to them as well. They can put things away when they get home in less than 2 minutes.

The cost of procrastination

The obvious costs are late payment charges for late bill payment and failing grades for school assignments not handed in on time. More serious is your credit rating being down graded and not being able to enjoy a social life for fear of embarrassment or you need to stay home to get things done.

Have you ever bought a last minute gift for someone that you regretted?

“If it weren’t for the last minute, nothing would get done.” ― Rita Mae Brown

Procrastination is not a trait; it is something that is learned. I even know people who take vacation time from work to get things done at home that they have been putting off. That is no way to spend your well-deserved vacation time. A partially completed task weighs heavily on the mind. Get it done and take the weight off.

Let us know if ClutterBGone can assist you with any project that you have put off to get you back on track. Just contact us here.

Keeping Small Spaces Organized


Many of the projects that we work on involve downsizing where people are moving from a larger home to something smaller and more manageable for them. Space can often be a challenge when you’re used to an abundance of storage. The same applies for people moving out of the home for the first time to a condo or apartment.

Here’s list of tips to help keep a small space organized.

Take advantage of the space you think you don’t have

What did she just say? You may have to get creative when dealing with the smaller spaces. Do you have space above your kitchen cabinets? Decorative baskets up there will hold cookbooks or smaller appliances that are seldom used. Space under the bed can be used to store off-season clothing in clear containers. Take a walk around your space with this thought process in mind. Look up and maximize your vertical spaces.

Keep things tidy

It’s especially important to keep a tidy home when space is limited. Even a plate on the counter or a couple of magazines out of place can cause a cluttered look.


Stay vigilant in putting things away and you will be surprised at how easy it is to keep your home looking tidy and organized.

Keep your counters clear

This is mandatory. I’ve been in several small condos where kitchen appliances are left out on the counter and it has made the entire kitchen look cluttered. When not in use (and many are not used all that often), store them away. And whenever possible purchase the smallest version of the appliance that you can, especially for a condo.

Look up

Take advantage of any opportunities that you may have to store vertically. Many new homes and condos being built today have 9-foot ceilings or taller. Use this extra space to store or decorate using higher shelving or taller built-ins and multifunctional pieces.

Store it off site

In a pinch, there is a host of off-site storage companies that have appeared as they know people are always looking for space. The newer ones have all inside storage, 24-hour camera security and free use of dollies and carts.


Rates can be very competitive as well so if there are items you just can’t fit into your new place and cannot bare to part with, outside storage is an option.

Purchase multi-functional pieces

When making purchases for your new space try to purchase multi-functional items like an ottoman that doubles as a storage trunk or a murphy bed that folds away. A room divider can also act as a wall unit or bookshelf. The ideas are endless.


Finally, take a real hard look at what you have and what you use. How often will you use that ice cream maker you received as a gift? Do you really have the space for 2 or 3 sets of dishes? When space is limited you need to prioritize between what you have and what you really need or will really use.

Living in smaller quarters certainly has its advantages – less to clean, less maintenance – but it takes a little work to keep it organized and looking uncluttered.

We have assisted countless individuals in getting ready to downsize and in creating space when you think there is none. If you think you need assistance, just contact us here. We would love to talk.