written by: Joli Ballew•edited by: Jean Scheid•updated: 6/28/2011
Running out of room in your home office? It happens to just about every home office worker eventually. Use your garage to help you manage your home office gunk, and make your workspace more productive.
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Make Room in the Garage First
You collect stuff, or, your home office does anyway. Old monitors, old printers, duplicate scanners, tax papers from years ago, and computers you don't use but can't get rid of pile up. They take up valuable space you really need to reclaim. You can move quite a bit of this to a garage or outbuilding, if you have one. The trick is, how can you place these items in a garage when it's already filled with lawn equipment, storage boxes, old toys, and bicycles? It's hard.
If you have a full garage but not enough office space, and you really need to reclaim that office space by moving items to the garage, consider these options. First, organize what's in the garage:
Put lawn equipment you use don’t every week on a hook attached to the ceiling. Fertilizer spreaders and snow shovels are light enough for this option.
Purchase or build a rack for hanging garden tools. These are inexpensive at the local home improvement store. (I got mine for under $10).
Store fertilizers, sprinklers, bug killers, extra sprinkler heads, work gloves, and plant foods and sprays together on a shelf safely out of reach of children and pets.
Store small garden tools in a plastic container or hang them from the wall. You can stack some of these items and even mark on the outside what's in each container.
Place larger items like the mower and edger against a wall.
Give away or sell large items you don’t use including broken lawn mowers. You won’t need a part from it, trust me.
Hang bulky items such as weed eaters and leaf blowers on the wall from large hooks.
Consider an outbuilding, detailed below.
Consider using overhead rafters in the garage to store items. There are racks and bins at the hardware store especially made for this area
If you have too many home office supplies to store or not enough space in a garage or attic, consider an outbuilding, there are lots of options, including some buildings that snap together requiring no building knowledge at all. Others can be purchased on the cheap if you can put it together yourself, including an 8 X 10 foot metal building for under $200 I saw recently at my local home improvement store. You may be able to find a used one too, by looking in the classified ads of your local paper. If you have the money, and you don’t have enough room for your lawn equipment, this might be the perfect solution.
Tip: Outbuildings that are tall enough to be seen over your backyard fence may require a building permit. Check with the local authorities before you build anything that is permanent.
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Move Unwanted Office Items into the Garage Second
Now that you've gained a little room in the garage for your "stuff", you can begin moving it there. Before you do though, seriously consider getting rid of old printers you don't use, scanners you don't need, and even old computer towers that aren't quite dead, but will be soon. There's no reason to store items you won't need later.
With that done, consider what needs to be moved out of the office. Box items together in see-through plastic bins if you can afford them, and write on the outside what's in them. You can have one large bin for old tax papers, one for old contracts and reciepts, and one for cables you only need to access rarely (Ethernet, Coax, USB). These bins, once filled, can easily be moved and stacked, so they take up very little room in the garage.
Now you can start moving the larger items. If possible, purchase shelving (or free an existing shelving unit) to hold only office-related items. You can put extra paper here, old computer towers, photo printers you rarely use, and similar items. While you're in the zone, take a look at what's in your office that's not office-related and move it too. Just because that's where you've always stored the cat food, the extra linens, winter coats, and the like doesn't mean that's where it has to stay!
So spend a day getting organized; trust me, you'll work better, be more relaxed, and produce better work! There's nothing like a clean office to inspire!