Greet the season with a broom: Get a fresh start this weekend with National Clean out Your Garage Day

2013-09-09T00:00:00Z 2013-09-11T16:17:10Z Greet the season with a broom: Get a fresh start this weekend with National Clean out Your Garage DayTara McElmurry Associate Niche Content Producer Tara.McElmurry@nwi.com nwitimes.com

With Labor Day over, school back in session and the breezes beginning to shift, it's hard to deny Fall is around the corner.

And with the start of a new season often comes the feeling of a new beginning or fresh start, and what better way to get there than to roll up those sleeves and clean out an area that has probably seen some heavy traffic throughout the summer.

This Saturday, Sept. 7 is National Clean Out Your Garage Day. So, it's time to clear the clutter of what might look like a mix of sports equipment store and gardening center thrown in around and between the cars.

Most folks recognize the problem. Recent discussion groups of homeowners reveal a mere 20 percent feel their lawn and garden supplies are organized, and even fewer - 12 percent - say their sports equipment is organized. Most cite lack of space as the biggest problem, and more than 90 percent seek new ways to create order.

These conditions and sentiments prompted The Lehigh Group, maker of Crawford—branded garage and home workshop organization products, based out of Aurora, Ill. is responsible for proclaiming this cleaning holiday. Now in its fifth year, National Clean Out Your Garage Day is dedicated to educating Americans about garage safety and organization.

"We established 'National Clean Out Your Garage Day' to occur on the first weekend after Labor Day, a time when much of America moves from summer to fall and items such as bikes, outdoor toys, sports and camping gear, lawnmowers and garden tools are put away for the season," said Deborah Hanson, director of external affairs for The Lehigh Group.

"We encourage homeowners to devote time that day or weekend to throw out old or unused items and organize the space to make the garage safer - and more functional," she added. "It's an easy and affordable task that, for some, may create enough room to allow them to easily park their car."

The task need not be overwhelming or expensive. The Lehigh Group offer these straightforward organizing tips:

Sort the Mess

Separate items into categories such as auto supplies, lawn and garden tools, holiday decorations, and sports equipment. Then, pitch, donate or sell items you don't use. Before organizing and storing, take a multipurpose push broom to sweep the garage floor, or wash down the floor with a water hose.

Zone It Out

After deciding what stays, separate the garage into zones for storing each category of items, and then identify the most appropriate storage method.

Go Vertical

One effective storage strategy is to use the vertical plane to keep the floor free of clutter. Garages provide ample wall and ceiling space to easily convert for storage through use of hanging shelves, pegboards, storing rails and overhead systems. For example, wall hooks that will hold leaf blowers, wheelbarrows, rakes and shovels. Flexible mesh storage products that hang on the wall are particularly suited to accommodate awkward items, from pet toys to work gloves and tennis balls.

Be an Organized Sport

Establish a solid game plan to organize the typical plethora of sports gear as well as the family's fleet of bikes. For example, Crawford brand offers complete sports organization systems - such as the Rawlings Flexible Sports Organizers in different sizes to accommodate hockey sticks, balls, helmets and more. For bicycles, screw-in hooks and flip-up bike hangers, along with pulleys, are ideal ways to keep bikes off the ground and out of the way while they're not in use.

Securely Store Hazardous Items

Place toxic materials such as paint, paint thinner, weed and bug killers, fertilizer and gasoline in high cabinets or lockable tool chests out of children's reach. Use well-supported shelves to store cleaning solutions and vehicle fluids. Be sure to secure tools and wrap up extension cords via tool hangers.

"One final critical tip: Always remember to follow all manufacturer instructions regarding weight limits when using wall hooks, rails and shelving," said Hanson.

For more information about Crawford products and organization tips and tricks visit crawfordorganization.com.

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