Sort your garage out

A garage full of clutter.

As we’ve seen on Three’s Sort Your Life Out NZ, the garage can become a dumping ground for all sorts of household items – “out of sight, out of mind” as they say. Imagine having a garage so tidy you could use it for storage, for your hobbies, or even for parking your car. Sort Your Life Out NZ is a makeover show on Three that follows eight Kiwi families, overwhelmed by their possessions, as experts empty, sort and organise their homes, challenging them to part with half of their belongings. If the show has inspired you to bring order to your house, here are a few of our favourite tips to help you declutter your garage.

Where to begin

  • Define your vision: do you want to use your garage to park your car or as a storage space? Making sure you have a clear goal in mind will help steer the process you go through.

  • Have a game plan: draw out a step-by-step plan of how you’re going to tackle the work. Experts suggest discarding first so you can immediately see the results, then organising what’s left. Don’t forget to factor in the time it takes to get rid of the unwanted items, especially if you’re going to try and sell them.

  • Make it fun: getting the whole household involved can not only make the day more enjoyable but will ensure that everyone is invested in keeping the garage tidy in the future. Put on your favourite playlist or podcast and take before and after pictures so you have something to show for your efforts.

Time to declutter!

  • The five boxes: prepare five boxes for 1) stuff to sell, 2) stuff to throw out, 3) stuff to donate, 4) stuff to recycle and 5) stuff to re-organise, that is, stuff that belongs elsewhere.

  • Be honest: if you don’t need it, want it or use it regularly, it may be time to free up that space and give the item away to someone else.

  • Save the important stuff: if you use the garage to store paperwork, make sure you keep hold of or digitise any important documentation, as it may prove useful in the future. For example, purchase receipts or valuations of high value items can be used as proof of ownership if you ever need to make a claim on your contents insurance. As well as serving the primary purpose of proving ownership, these types of documents can provide specific details about your lost or damaged item so you can be properly compensated for the loss. Read our blog to find out more about proof of ownership.

Organising your garage

  • Storage solutions: can you add shelving around the walls of the garage? Can you bring in some storage bins to keep things organised? Can you hang things like bikes from the ceiling? Vacuum storage bags can save space when storing bulky items like spare duvets, pillows and bedding.

  • Categorising: think about how you can organise your items into logical categories, such as gardening equipment, home cleaning, children’s toys, sports equipment etc. Adding labels can help you find things easily in the future and can be a fun activity to keep the kids engaged.

  • Be realistic: if, at the end of the process, you still have more stuff you want to hold onto than there is space in your garage, you might want to think about renting some storage space.

Forward planning

  • Your garage can be a fire hazard, so it’s important that you install a heat alarm in your garage and test it regularly to ensure it operate effectively. As you tidy, always make sure there is a clear path to an exit should you need to escape in the event of a fire.

  • Get a fire extinguisher and learn how to use it. If you already have one, check it each year to see that it’s in good working order. For more ideas on fire safety in the garage, read our blog.

  • Now that your garage has been whipped into shape, the real challenge is to keep it that way. A little work from the whole household every so often can go a long way in keeping the garage spick and span.

And finally...

As you start on your decluttering project, you may, like many of the families on Sort Your Life Out, be surprised by how much stuff you own. You might not think your stuff is worth much, but it could cost you more than you expect to replace all your valued possessions at once. hat's where contents insurance comes in. At AA Insurance, we have two levels of contents insurance available to suit your needs and budget. You can use this handy contents calculator, independently provided by Sum Insured, to help you calculate the value of your contents so you're ready in case you need to make a claim. If you have an existing contents policy with us and you need to amend your cover, you can do that online through My AA Insurance, or over the phone on 0800 500 213.

Find out more about our partnership with Three’s Sort Your Life Out NZ.

Any questions?

Now’s a great time to review your insurance. We recommend checking your details are up to date and ensuring the policy and cover you’ve chosen is right for you and your insurance needs.

If you have any questions about your insurance, need to update your AA Insurance policies or would like a quote, don’t hesitate to contact us. We’re open from 8am to 8pm weekdays and from 8am to 6pm weekends and public holidays.

This blog provides general information only and is not intended to be a recommendation or personalised financial advice. Excesses, terms, conditions, limits and exclusions apply to AA Insurance Limited’s policies. Please check the policy wording for details of cover. The provision of cover is subject to the underwriting criteria that apply at the time.

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