Make the Invisible Visible (Organize the Garage)

My kids call this spooky season. What’s spookier than fighting a demon you can’t even see? Is clutter a problem of what you can see…or what you can’t? Many organizing challenges are really about making the invisible visible.

Make the Invisible Visible-Organize the Garage


People leave things out on the counter, table, floor, or any flat surface so they can remember it. That works for a minute, but leave everything you own out and on display, and it starts to look like one big mess, no longer the individual items that make up the mess. Single items become invisible, but the monolith of clutter remains. Use the SORT and Succeed system to break down a big mess and turn it into a useful, organized space, like this cluttered garage.


Organize the Garage-Before

This is what remains after a household move, and it can feel overwhelming and invisible at the same time.

cluttered garage-before


It’s easy to just walk through a garage, day after day, and see it as one big mess, too big to conquer. Ironically, it becomes invisible. What’s in there?


cardboard box garage clutter

How to Make the Invisible Visible

SORT and Succeed makes the invisible…visible. It turns a monolith of overwhelming “stuff” into a room of useful and valuable possessions. It turns invisible spaces into valuable real estate again.

Five steps can get you there:

  1. Start with a written goal that’s five words or less (Clear out the garage)
  2. Organize into groups
  3. Reduce, release, and re-set
  4. Tweak the space with things like labels
  5. Succeed and celebrate (perhaps by parking the car in the garage before winter)


Organize the Garage- After

This family was still moving in in stages, so organizing this 2-bay garage took about 10 hours over a few days, but just look at the results. From this:

cluttered garage, before


To this:

organized garage, after


Instead of randomness, now we have shelving with organized groups of tools, garden gear, electronics projects, and painting supplies.

organized garage shelves

All of the keepsakes, clothes, and inside items now have designated spaces inside, too.

It may not be magazine-perfect yet, but Step-4 of SORT and Succeed allows for things like labels now, and ongoing improvements over time. We find that one-inch labels are hard to miss and help keep things organized over time.

Won’t it be lovely to reach for an extension cord and find what you need, when you need it? That’s making the visible into something visible, for sure.

organized garage with labeled bins


Turning clutter into real value comes in many forms, like when we found the car key that’s been missing for nearly a year! This costs over $300 to replace. Yes, we all did a happy dance when we found this.

lost cara key in cluttered garage

Get Help Organizing the Garage Before Winter

If you live in the Philadelphia area or in the Detroit area (our newest office), we have just a few weeks to get your garage organized before winter sets in. Contact us to make your organizing appointment. If you are outside of our service areas, we can still help you organize your garage with SORT and Succeed via virtual organizing appointments.

If you’re inspired to make organizing changes on your own, please drop us a line. We know that getting started can be the hardest part of any organizing project, that’s why SORT and Succeed begins where it does: at the start, by defining your organizing project in writing in five words or less.

Is there something in your life that’s become “invisible” that you can make visible again?

Are you trying to get your car or other important items back in the garage before winter?


Dates to Note:

Today, Oct 29, is National Drug Take Back Day. Find a center to safely dispose of your unwanted drugs here.

Check for upcoming shredding events around Philadelphia this fall.

Fall back on Sunday, Nov 6 in the US.

Be sure to vote in the US on Tuesday, November 8 or before if you received a mail-in ballot.

Come join me in person to learn about and experience ergonomic #WFH solutions at HomeWorksWell in Germantown, Nov 9, 4-7 pm. See you there.