Here’s a riddle for you: What contains everything from painting cans to cars, from toys to tools, and from treasured memories to trash bins? Give up? It’s your garage. Having a space to store all of your excess junk is extremely helpful, but you also have a whole room of your house that is completely going to waste. It could become that woodworking space or workout room that you’ve always wanted–but how? What if we told you that it’s possible to make your garage a fully functional space without sacrificing your storage abilities? Here are the top ten ways to get the most out of your garage:

Organized Garage

1) Conquer Clutter

If you’re considering re-organizing your garage space, it’s likely somewhere between a hodge podge of miscellaneous items and a borderline hazardous waste dump. Before you figure out how best to divide your space, you have to sort through what you have. Figure out what’s needed and what goes straight in the trash. Start by creating three piles for your things: keep, donate/sell, and trash. A good rule of thumb is that you should only be keeping items that you’ve used within the past two years. The only exception to the rule would be any items that have sentimental value (within reason).

As you’re starting to figure out what you’re keeping, begin to sort those into piles too. So, for example, hockey equipment in one area, workshop tools in one area, workout equipment in another, etc. The categories may become more specific or broad when you get into sorting, but this will help you see what you have and the potential for various storage options.

2) Organize into zones

Now that the clutter is removed, think about the specific different functions you’d like for your garage to have. Would you like a part gym/part workshop garage? A part parking spot/part band rehearsal space? Write down all of the various functions you’d like the garage to serve. Next, draw up a small diagram of your garage space. Think about which corners or spaces would be good for storing the equipment needed for each activity or function. Use your diagram to sketch out various sections of the space for the storage of the various items. This will also help you figure out what equipment you’ll need to create the adequate storing space.

3) Clear the Air

One of the main reasons you haven’t used your garage as a functional space in the past? The air. It’s either too hot, too cold, or too stuffy down there- it’s hardly a space that you could spend hours of your time. Well, even if you remodel the space, you’re not going to use it if you don’t feel comfortable. Purchasing a heater or air conditioner (or both) for the garage will easily transform it into a much cozier and more habitable area.

garage shelves

4) Use the walls and ceilings for storage

When it comes to getting the most out of your garage, guess what is your worst enemy? The floor. Yes, the floor is there for a reason, but cluttering up the floor space with items leaves you much less room for the functions and activities you’d like your garage to hold. You have many options in this regard, from purchasing some shelving units to building your own shelves along your wall. And, if you’re someone who’s constantly changing your mind about spacing, you can create pegboard walls and use hooks to add or remove your shelving. Don’t waste any space in your garage- that includes your ceiling. You can either purchase or build your own ceiling shelving units as well. Ceiling storage can be used for anything from storing small tools to a sturdy bike rack. After utilizing these techniques, you’ll be shocked by how much bigger your garage looks.

5) Fold-away furniture

Another important technique to utilize for a multi-functional garage is to purchase fold-away supplies. For example, if you’d like for your garage to be a part workshop/part gym, purchase or build yourself a fold-away workbench. And buy workout tools like adjustable weights, which can easily be rolled up and stored away efficiently. If you’re currently storing equipment like a ladder, look into purchasing one that folds up and is easier to store than your current ladder. You’ll create so much more space simply by modifying the items that you build or buy.

6) Outlets and Wiring

In all likelihood, if your garage is multifunctional then you’re going to have more plugs and, by deductive reasoning, more outlets. If there are open studs in your garage, you can run wire and add outlets as long as your garage stays up to code. This means making sure you’re doing things like using the right circuit breaker, using a neutral wire, etc. In addition, when you’re using large amounts of wiring the garage can very quickly begin to look cluttered. Try to strategically place items that need to be plugged in near any outlets available. And, if there aren’t many, run the wiring necessary around the perimeter of the room or over the ceiling and make sure it’s secured. This way it won’t interfere with the floor space and you’ll be able to use all of your devices.

Wall storage

7) Protective covers

In order to make sure every function of your garage space doesn’t interfere with one another, you’ll need to make sure they’re each sectioned off in the best way possible. For example, if your garage is doubling as a wood-working space, things can get pretty messy very quickly. That isn’t an easily contained activity so, even if you section off your other items, it’s likely they’ll be buried in wood dust within a fortnight. Use shelf coverings to make sure your items stay clean and undisturbed by the various goings on in your garage.

8) Add Outdoor Storage

If you’ve added all of your wall and ceiling shelving and you’re still not getting the space you’d like out of your garage, perhaps consider adding some outdoor storage. A small shed for outdoor equipment like gardening gear can go a long way to getting out that unnecessary clutter.

9) Epoxy the Floor

If your dingy garage floor is another thing keeping you from enjoying your time there, we recommend adding an antiskid floor coating. It will resist oil stains and wipe away dirt in a much easier way. The key to accomplishing this well is doing it when you’ll have a few days of 50 to 80-degree weather for accurate drying time.

10) Magnetic Board for Small Items

If there are some smaller items or tools lying around that you’re afraid will go missing, we recommend getting a magnet board or two. It’s perfect for tacking up some tools in a workspace and smaller ones can be used for bobby pins or pins in case your garage is doubling as a sewing studio. This way, the space’s next user doesn’t get an unpleasant surprise in the form of a pin in their foot.

Typically, we come to the conclusion that our purse has reached its expiration date for one of four reasons: a) Zippers or snaps are broken, canyon-sized holes are made, and it’s just generally falling apart at the seams; b) We’ve run out of ways to store our unhealthy surplus of bags; c) Our lives have evolved to the point where the purse size no longer works for us; or d) We’re addicted to buying them and the ‘new purse’ excitement has worn off the one we’re currently using so… onto the next one. If Option C is your reasoning, we can definitely empathize with the struggle. When things like work, family, friends, relationships, etc. change, so too does your purse size. A working mother of two is going to have very different bag needs than a single college student in her twenties. We all know and abhor the struggle of switching our purses on an almost daily basis. Constantly digging through the three or four bags that you use on a regular basis because you left your favorite chapstick behind again is the bane of your existence. But how do you find the perfect sized bag for all of your needs? Here are some tips to help:

woman holding purse

1) Consolidate and Get Organized

Prior to choosing your perfect bag, you need to consolidate your belongings and figure out what you really need. This means tossing all of the three-month-old fast food receipts, loose change adding an extra two pounds, and lonely earrings missing their other halves. The last thing you want to do when you get a new purse is transfer the mess from your old one. In addition, it’s extremely difficult to tell what size purse you need when half of your current purse is lipsticks. You may even be someone who needs to go down a size in your bag to keep yourself more disciplined. If you’re someone who’s carrying a bag that’s much too big for your needs, your bag may become 50% purse, 50% trash purely so that you’re not carrying a big bag of nothing.

2) What is the bag for?

Once you’ve removed all of the excess items, ask yourself- what is this bag for? Is it an everyday purse? A bag to take hiking? Shopping? Work? To the coffee shop to work on your screenplay? All of the above? Trying to have one purse for every occasion can be extremely difficult and likely impossible. If you get a huge purse, there will still be days where there’s barely anything in it. If you get a tiny one because you don’t carry a lot day-to-day, you’ll likely need a big one more often than you think. If you’re trying to find one that you can use as often as possible, we recommend making a list of the activities you do on a normal weekly basis and what items you bring to those events. And if there was ever a time to be completely honest with yourself- this is it. People tend to talk themselves into thinking they’re more minimalist or needy than they actually are when they’re buying a new purse. This is how wrong-sized purses are bought, only to gather dust in the closet.

woman holding small bag

3) What do you need every day?

As a general rule of thumb, your purse should be big enough to fit what you need with you on a daily basis with a little bit of wiggle room in case you need to add one or two things throughout the day. So, in addition to your previous list, make another small list of the things that you need with you everywhere you go. You could be a more minimalist person who just needs their phone, wallet, and keys and they’re good to go. On the other hand, you could be someone who likes to carry their makeup bag, phone charger, and a book with them (just in case). Now consider both lists and what type of bag would suit those items. If you generally only need your phone, wallet, and keys, for example, a small purse or wristlet would be the best option for you. If there are a few extra items you need on a daily and weekly basis, however, a medium-to-large sized bag would work best.

Make sure you go with a size that would suit you most often according to your weekly schedule. For example, if you made your list and you see for 6 days a week you’d need a tiny bag, but on Sunday you’d need a bigger bag to take to the gym, go for the tiny bag. It’s much better to have a tiny bag that works perfectly 6 days a week than a huge bag that works for 1 day.

4) Organization, Space, or both? Get the most out of your bag’s size!

Now that you have a general idea of what size bag you need, the next thing to consider is storage space. The interior of a purse is extremely important when it comes to shopping for size. You may not believe it, but (by some bizarre magic trick) there are some tiny purses that can fit more items in them than some medium-sized ones. How, you ask? Well, it’s all about the interior.

When a purse has no interior organization, your items tend to get squashed in a weird pile. We all know the struggle of trying to re-organize your items because they only fit into your purse if they’re each in specific spots. If you’re someone who often looks like they’re wrestling their purse, we recommend looking for bags with organized interiors. They’ll have pockets for your phone, wallet, makeup, and an outer pocket for easy access to your keys. This way, you’re never wrestling your bag because there’s a place for everything and everything is in its place! Beware, though, bags that go overboard with their organization pouches and dividers end up limiting the space in the bag rather than creating it. When you’re shopping for a new bag, we recommend trying it on and putting your essentials into the bag to see how efficient its space usage is and how much is leftover. Who cares if you get weird looks if you walk away with a fly new bag?

woman holding large bag

5) Shape and Weight Distribution

The last thing to consider when buying a new bag is the shape and weight distribution. Like we said earlier, the wrong purse can make your items a weird mish-mosh of pieces. If your items fit in the wrong way, there will be weird pieces jutting out and it may make the bag uncomfortable to wear. When you try on the bag with your items inside, make sure when you walk that you aren’t getting stabbed by your lipgloss or that your phone isn’t smacking right against your arm or hip. That may seem fine initially but think about that happening every day over and over. We can almost feel the bruises. And keep an eye out for any zippers that may end up ripping some of your clothes because that purse will end up costing so much more money than it’s worth.

In addition, make sure you consider how the weight is distributed on your body. For people with a lighter load of items, for example, an over-the-shoulder bag would be an excellent fit. However, for those who have several heavier items to carry each day, possibly including a laptop or camera, an over-the-shoulder bag can be grating. You’ll constantly have to switch back and forth the side you’re carrying your bag on as each shoulder grows unevenly more painful. For those who carry heavier items on a day to day basis, we recommend a stylish backpack in lieu of a traditional purse. As they become increasingly more fashionable, there are several adorable styles to choose from and you can say goodbye to shoulder pain. For those who this applies to, make sure you bring your heavier items (laptop, camera, etc.) to shop or measure them beforehand because the last thing you want is to get home to find that they’re the wrong size.

If you take each of these points into consideration as you shop, finding your perfect purse should be a snap!

The holiday season is a hectic time. We race around trying to make the holidays perfect and it seems there’s never enough time in the day. But rejoice! There are steps you can take to get the holidays in order by first getting yourself in order!

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” Keep these tips and ideas in mind as simple solutions to get more organized for the holidays and upcoming New Year!

Space-saving stocking stuffers

It’s often hard enough trying to find the perfect gift for a loved one, so smaller items like stocking stuffers usually go by the wayside and end up being last-minute purchases. These last-minute purchases usually result in small gifts that don’t mean much of anything to that excited person reaching into the stocking on Christmas morning.

Think about the personalities and needs of the gift-receiver. Is that person a foodie? A wine connoisseur? A coffee or tea lover? There are many gift ideas to fit these personalities, including small, space-saving gadgets for the kitchen.

Declutter for the New Year

While there are plenty of kitchen gadget stocking stuffers, there are just as many stocking stuffers and gifts that relate to storage and organization for the rest of the home.

The closet is often a trouble spot when it comes to organization. There’s just never enough space! Be the best gift-giver you can be when you, again, think about the needs and personalities of the receiver. Do they collect a lot of baseball caps? Do they travel a lot and need a better way to keep clothing and accessories together?  Does mom have a million purses? Storage solutions that keep these organized and make life better for the gift-receiver show you get it!

Another great way to declutter for the New Year is to get prepared after the holidays with items to donate. Tear old clothing out of the closet that’s now replaced by new items just received and get ready to donate. It’ll be a fresh start for you and a chance to help those in need.

Holiday storage and organization

After the New Year hits, it’ll be time to take down all of the holiday decorations (seemingly after you just put them up!). Instead of loading everything back up into those tattered cardboard boxes used year after year, consider sturdier options that are as functional as they are pretty! Our Paula Deen Holiday collection will help you look forward to putting decorations away and greet you year after year when it’s time to put them up again.

And don’t forget to enter our annual Paula Deen Holiday Collection Giveaway! One lucky winner will receive the entire Paula Deen Holiday Collection as well as an autographed photo of Paula!  Contest ends December 17, 2018.

Happy Holidays from Jokari!

Diagnosis: Chronically Messy

Definition: A person who is unable to keep a house, apartment or room neat, clean, organized, or sanitary.

Symptoms: Clothes and dishes all over the place, unpleasant odor, tripping constantly, inability to locate important items, frustration, rationalization, and procrastination.

Cure: Unknown

Sadly, there may never be a complete cure for this affliction. There are, however, steps you can take to get your illness under control and vastly improve your lifestyle.

frustrated woman with mess

1. Surround Yourself with Pro-Organizers

We’re not suggesting that you’ll succumb to peer pressure, but you’ll see how much easier their lives are and that will motivate you to get more organized, too. Not only that, but pro-organizers can be a helpful resource for pro-tips. They’re the best sources for hacks from how to fold best to how to budget and keep a calendar. Who knows, they love it so much they may even offer to help you straighten up from time to time.

2. Do One Chore Per Day (not all at once)

Doing your cleaning all at once is a bad idea if you hate doing it. It may be nice to have every single thing clean (for once), but it’ll make you a lot less motivated to do it next time. You’ll think back to when you had to do it last and say to yourself, but that took so long… and it was so terrible… I’ll do it another day. That’s why it keeps getting pushed off in the first place. Breaking it up into smaller chunks is a lot less time consuming and it keeps the place from every digressing into total messy chaos.

3. Clean Smart

Remember: Cleaning everything at once is a bad idea. So, if you’re looking for a place to start, you need to clean smart. Start with the area in your room or house that is causing the most inconvenience in your life and work backwards from there, gradually getting to the least intrusive messes you’ve made. Seeing the immediate difference that cleaning one mess makes in the convenience of your life will motivate you to keep going.

having fun cleaning

4. Make it Fun (sort of)

If you hate cleaning, you probably won’t ever describe it as something ‘fun’, but there are ways to improve the experience. What would you be doing during your downtime if you were putting off cleaning? Probably listening to a podcast, watching Netflix, listening to music- something along those lines? Well, do that while you clean. This way you don’t feel like you have to take a break from your life to clean and focusing on something you enjoy will experience more fun (or at least less painful).

5. Identify Your Worst Habits: They’re Now Off-Limits

It could be hoarding dishes in your room, leaving dishes in the sink, leaving shoes laying around, leaving clothes all over the floor- whatever it may be, it has to stop. But, again, baby steps. Just identify the top two or three mess-creating actions you do. How you want to rank them is up to you: whether it’s by what creates the biggest messes or the most inconvenient messes. Force yourself stop those habits. You may never eliminate your messiness all together, but honing in on one or two behaviors is doable and will greatly improve your lifestyle.

woman vacuuming

6. A Place For Everything, Not a Place for Anything

If you’re a disorganized person by trade, you’ve probably once uttered the phrase, I hate cleaning because then I never know where my stuff is. It sounds crazy, but even though your room might be a mess, there’s often a method to your madness. So cleaning can sometimes have the opposite effect that it should, actually making it harder for you to locate your belongings.

We recommend finding a place for everything, but if you’re worried about messing up your messy system, organize things so simply even you won’t forget it. Use labels and invest in clothing or purse racks. When you’re organizing your closet, do it by color or season (or both). Even keeping a master list of where everything important is may help, just until you get used to the new system. If at any point you find yourself asking, Will I remember that I’m putting this here? -find another place for it. Let’s face it: if you have trouble finding your things, it’s not going to be long before they end up back where they were. Mainly on your floor.