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GARAGE MAKEOVER

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  • pg 1
									   GARAGE MAKEOVER
 CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE
 Earlier versions of this story incorrectly spelled the name of Mary
 Elkind.


 Garage makeover a mechanic. If it won’t fit in the garage, call an organizer
  If a car’s broken, call
 By Jura Koncius
By Jura Koncius
 Washington Post Staff Writer
 Thursday, Post Staff 2010;
WashingtonOctober 14,Writer VA08
Thursday, October 14, 2010
 Mary Elkind's garage had become a sorry space
  crammed with things she wanted
CORRECTION TO THIS ARTICLE
                                to forget.
Earlier versions of this story incorrect-
ly spelled the name of Mary Elkind.
 The one-car garage attached to her Arlington brick
The one-car garage attached
 rambler was stacked to the ceiling with clothing,
to Mary Elkind ‘s Arlington
 dog crates and so stacked
brick rambler wassofas. There was no room to park her
 new Prius. Each no as Elkind left and entered her house through her garage, she navigated a
with stuff, there wasdayroom
 treacherous path, dodging
to park her nice new Toyota piles of tools, Halloween costumes and unopened boxes moved there when
 she Her hybrid garage was
Prius.divorced and downsized three years ago.
one half bikes and garden
supplies; other half junk she
 "There's a lot of emotional baggage for me in acknowledging I no longer need a lot of this stuff," said
never uses. So she called in
 Elkind, a part-time accountant. "I needed to get a handle on this."
an expert Pierrette Ashcroft,
a Washington professional
 She hired Pierrette Ashcroft, a Washington professional organizer and productivity coach, to work
organizer and productivity
 with her to let go of
coach, to work with her. things she would never use again and create a system for storing what was left.
 The purging would make way for the Prius to occupy its rightful place indoors before cold weather
PHOTOS BY KATHERINE FREY FOR
 arrived.
THE WASHINGTON POST



 When they were finished, Elkind's sorry space              She bikes, ladders Ashcroft, a Washington profes-
Mary Elkind’s garage had become ago-to possessions, such ashired Pierretteand tools, would be
 hanging with things of wanted to Everything else would be arranged on shelves lining the perimeter. with
crammed on the wallsshe the garage.forget.                 sional organizer and productivity coach, to work
 The two worked on the makeover for a combined 50 hours over an eight-day period. "Every time I got and
                                                           her to let go of things she would never use again
                       Pierrette would bring me another box to sort and gave me encouragement," said purging
 tired and sat down,attached to her Arlington brick
The one-car garage                                         create a system for storing what was left. The
 Elkind.
rambler was stacked to the ceiling with clothing, dog      would make way for the Prius to occupy its rightful
crates and sofas. There was no                                                   place indoors before cold weather
               like the Prius. Each
 The garage, her new attic and the basement, is our dumping ground for everything we don't know what
room to park                                                                     arrived.
 to as Elkind left and entered
day do with. You know: that busted fan, the pink paint you used in the nursery and the oak table that
 needs refinishing. Unlike these
her house through her garage, other utility spaces, however, a garage is a part of everyday life and, El-
                                                                                 When they were finished,
 when the door opens, exposed for
she navigated a treacherous path, all to see. Garages are where we store those towering cases of
                                                                                 kind’s go-to possessions, such as
                          cat food we
 water, paper towels orHalloween hoard in case of a shortage.
dodging piles of tools,                                                          bikes, ladders and tools, would
costumes and unopened boxes                                                      be hanging on the walls of the
 The whole mess is exacerbated by the phenomenon organizers have dubbed "multiples." Can't find
moved there when she divorced                                                    garage. Everything else would
 your hammer? Buy another. Ashcroft unearthed five flashlights in Elkind's garage.
and downsized three years ago.                                                   be arranged on shelves lining the
                                                                                  three-car The two
 In the Washington region, you can find a range of garages, from the suburbanperimeter. variety toworked on
                                        Homeowner          Organizer
“There’s a lot of emotional baggage Mary Elkind            Pierrette Ashcroft    the makeover for a combined 50
for me in acknowledging I no longer                                              hours over an eight-day period.
need a lot of this stuff,” said Elkind, a part-time ac-    “Every time I got tired and sat down, Pierrette would
countant. “I needed to get a handle on this.”              bring me another box to sort and gave me encourage-
                                                           ment,” said Elkind.
Garage Makeover by Jura Koncius for The Washington Post, Thursday, October 14, 2010



                                                                                The garage, like the attic and the
                                                                                basement, is our dumping ground for
                                                                                everything we don’t know what to
                                                                                do with. You know: that busted fan,
                                                                                the pink paint you used in the nursery
                                                                                and the oak table that needs refinish-
                                                                                ing. Unlike these other utility spaces,
                                                                                however, a garage is a part of every-
                                                                                day life and, when the door opens,
                                                                                exposed for all to see. Garages are
                                                                                where we store those towering cases
                                                                                of water, paper towels or cat food we
                                                                                hoard in case of a shortage.

                                                                                 The whole mess is exacerbated by the
                                                                                 phenomenon organizers have dubbed
                                                                                 “multiples.” Can’t find your hammer?
Homeowner Mary Elkind unveils the garage project for professional organizer
                                                                                 Buy another. Ashcroft unearthed five
Pierrette Ashcroft.
                                                                                flashlights in Elkind’s garage.

In the Washington region, you can find a range of garages, from the suburban three-car variety to one-car wood
structures on urban alleys. For Ashcroft, garages are the second most requested job; the first is organizing pa-
pers. “I love doing garages because you pull everything out into the driveway and have lots of space to sort it
out,” she said.

That is how she and Elkind be-
gan. They dragged out skateboard
helmets, dehumidifiers, a leg brace
and some limp Beanie Babies. Out
came a stack of shoe boxes being
saved to use for dioramas. There
were surprises, too: the ashes of
Darla, the family’s Bernese moun-
tain dog who died in 2006.

It was hard to part with her grown
daughters’ dress-up trunk and a
table that belonged to her parents.
But she let them go, as well as the
purse she carried on her wedding
day. “Your whole life flashes be-
fore your eyes,” Elkind said as she
tossed an Al Green cassette into a      For Ashcroft, garages are the second most requested job; the first is organizing
                                        papers. “I love doing garages because you pull everything out into the driveway and
trash bag.                              have lots of space to sort it out,” she said.
Garage Makeover by Jura Koncius for The Washington Post, Thursday, October 14, 2010



                                                                 A few hours later, 10 piles were forming: trash,
                                                                 donate, home improvement, sports equipment,
                                                                 camping, wine, pets, garden, storage containers
                                                                 and the “action” pile of shoes to be repaired and
                                                                 bulbs to be planted. After five sweaty hours, it was
                                                                 time to call 123 Junk. For $375, a truck made two
                                                                 deliveries: to the Chantilly Habitat ReStore and
                                                                 the Fairfax County Transfer Station. Ashcroft
                                                                 scheduled a second session in two days. Elkind’s
                                                                 homework was to keep sorting.

                                                                    The costs of garage reorganization are supplies
                                                                    and fees. Ashcroft charges $65 an hour or offers
                                                                    discounted prepaid packages. Because Elkind had
Pierrette Ashcroft, a professional organizer, moves quickly as she
empties the garage, placing items in separate piles in the driveway
                                                                    containers and shelving, she bought only ladder
to be organized.                                                    hooks, wall anchors and clear plastic shoe boxes.


She splurged on a $564 metal Crafts-
man tool cart.

There are other choices for garage
redos using products made by compa-
nies such as Gladiator GarageWorks
and Rubbermaid. Custom closet
companies including Waldorf’s Closet
Factory build cabinet systems, which
start at $1,200. Peter Belman, general
manager of GarageTek in Washing-
ton, said its full-scale refurbishments
that turn garages into multi-use rooms
are $10,000 to $12,000.

No matter how you choose to reorder
your garage, it’s going to take some      Professional organizer, Pierrette Ashcroft removes one of four ladders from
                                          Elkind’s garage.
serious sorting and decision-making

                                              Tools (left) are separated
                                              into a pile in the driveway.




                                              Professional organizer,
                                              Pierrette Ashcroft (right)
                                              carries a Christmas tree
                                              to one of the piles in the
                                              driveway.
Garage Makeover by Jura Koncius for The Washington Post, Thursday, October 14, 2010


about what you can part with and
where it should end up.

Elkind took pet supplies to a shelter
and chemicals to a hazardous materi-
als disposal site. “You can’t obsess on
giving the item to the perfect place,”
said Ashcroft. “Do the best you can,
but get it out of your house.”

Last week, Elkind drove into her
garage for the first time, parked and
walked around her Prius to reach the
door leading inside. She said she felt
“energized.”

“I can’t believe I put it off for so
long,” she said. “I learned the hard        Elkind drove into her garage for the first time, parked and walked around her
part is not the physical labor; it’s the    Prius to reach the door leading inside. “I can’t believe I put it off for so long,”
mental part.”                               she said. “I learned the hard part is not the physical labor; it’s the mental part.”




 Mary Elkind’s overhauled garage allows her enough room to park her car and enough organization to quickly find what
 she’s looking for.
Garage Makeover by Jura Koncius for The Washington Post, Thursday, October 14, 2010




How to start                                 4.
                                            Keep the things you use most
                                     often, such as gardening supplies
                                                                                        7.
                                                                                 Don't expect to do it all in one
                                                                          day, or even over a weekend. If you
Thinking about organizing your ga-
                                     and sports equipment, in front and   get help from your family, a friend
rage? Here are some guidelines to
                                     at eye level.                        (a really, really good friend) or a
remember as you de-clutter:
                                                                          professional organizer, the job will

1.    Before you begin, resolve
to keep only things you use on a
                                             5.
                                            Avoid cardboard boxes. Clear
                                     plastic containers are a much better
                                                                          move faster.


regular basis and to set up a system storage option because of fluctua-
for keeping them orderly.            tions in humidity and temperature.




Hammers and mallets are arranged in a
tool chest. Organizers call it “multiples”
when a person buys another hammer or
flashlight because the original is lost in
the clutter.                                 A place for everything and everything in its place: ladders, gardening tools and
                                             sporting equipment on the wall.



2.     Gather boxes and trash bags
for categorizing things to be given
                                             6.     Consider giving the floor a
                                             makeover. Concrete cleaners can
                                                                                        8.    Having a yard sale is often
                                                                                        not worth it. Craigslist and eBay.
away, sold, recycled or thrown out.          remove gunk, and durable paints            com have brought prices down
                                             will give a fresh look. Or install

3.
                                                                                        for most used items. Sell items of
                                             vinyl floor mats or an industrial          value online, offer them through
       Store as many items off the           coating.                                   Freecycle or donate them.
floor as possible.
Garage Makeover by Jura Koncius for The Washington Post, Thursday, October 14, 2010


Where to donate items after                If you want to go the charitable        accepts surplus and salvaged build-
cleaning out your garage                   route, contact the organization in      ing materials. 301-985-5180.
                                           advance about whether it can use
So, you’ve organized your garage,          your particular items, what hours       Goodwill Industries. Drop off
and now you have a pile of stuff           it accepts donations and whether        electronics, household items or
to donate or trash. What are your          it offers pickup service. Every-        furniture at a donation center or
options?                                   thing sent to a charity should be in    bin near you, or arrange for a home
                                           good condition. (Your stained sofa      pickup.
                                           or broken dehumidifier is not in
                                           demand.)                                Habitat ReStore. Check the Web
                                                                                   site for a list of ReStore locations
                                           Here is a list of charities Pierrette   that accept building materials, ap-
                                           Ashcroft uses, as well as haulers       pliances and furniture.
                                           you can hire to transport piles to
                                           the dump, a charity, or both.           Salvation Army. The organization
                                                                                   will pick up household goods or
                                           Donation Town. This Web site will       clothing at your home. It also has
                                           match your household goods and          designated donation centers across
                                           clothing with a local charity.          the area.

                                           A Wider Circle. The Silver Spring       These firms will haul items to a
                                           organization collects furniture, TV     dump or charity: 123 Junk, Junk in
                                           sets, bedding and lamps to help         the Trunk, College Hunks Haul-
Professional organizer Pierrette
Ashcroft carries a shower door to a pile
                                           furnish homes for families in need.     ing Junk and 1-800-Got-Junk.
in the driveway that will be donated or    301-608-3504.                           Arrange with your hauler to get a
sold.                                                                              tax receipt if you have donated to a
                                           Community Forklift. This Prince         charity.
                                           George’s County nonprofit group




During the regular garbage pickup,
workers clear away bags of trash and
other things that could not be donated
from Elkind’s home.
Garage Makeover by Jura Koncius for The Washington Post, Thursday, October 14, 2010




What to keep, and not keep, in your garage
What to store in a garage                                 What to store elsewhere (or get rid of )
· Cars                                                    · Extra clothes and bedding
· Car maintenance supplies                                · Papers, files and books
· Tools and workbench                                     · Indoor upholstery
· Gardening tools, hoses, plant foods and fertilizers     · Broken things you aren’t going to use anymore
· Snow removal equipment                                  · Valuables
· Bikes and sporting equipment                            · Unfinished craft projects
· Trash cans and recycling bins                           · Food, unless in sealed plastic containers
· Beach chairs and lawn furniture                         · Paint
· Holiday decorations, if in plastic containers




                                                          Storage bins for organizing the garage’s sorted contents.




Ashcroft unearthed five flashlights in Elkind’s garage.   Mary Elkind assesses the need for a new door bought for her
                                                          former home.

								
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