6 Steps to Organizing Your Garage

The warm weather is here and we have been thinking about organizing the garage. The patio furniture, lawn mower and bicycles need to be more accessible, and the snow shovels, sleds and road salt can be packed away. Organizing a garage can be a daunting task but breaking it down into smaller steps can make the process more manageable. We share six steps to organizing your garage:

1. Declutter

The first step is to sort through all the items in your garage and decide what to keep, donate, sell, or throw away. You may want to categorize items into piles based on their function or purpose.

2. Clean and prepare

Before you begin organizing, it is essential to clean the garage thoroughly. Sweep the floors, wipe down shelves and cabinets, and dust off any cobwebs. Make any necessary repairs, such as fixing broken shelves or repairing damaged walls. It is ideal to completely empty a space to thoroughly clean it.

3. Group by Category

Sort the items you have decided to keep into categories such as sports equipment, gardening tools, automotive supplies, etc. Grouping similar items together will make it easier to find what you need.

4. Storage solutions

Based on the items you have and the space available, decide on the type of storage solutions you need. Consider using shelves, cabinets, pegboards, or hooks to maximize space and keep items organized. Clear bins are helpful for finding and putting away items.

5. Label and arrange

Once you have your storage solutions in place, label each container or shelf so that you know what goes where. Arrange your items by category or frequency of use, with frequently used items easily accessible.

6. Maintain

Maintaining an organized garage requires ongoing effort. Regularly assess whether items are still needed and adjust your storage solutions as needed. Try to put things back in their designated spots after use, so they don’t accumulate and clutter the space again.

At Top Shelf Home Organizing, we take pride in our ability to organize garages to make them the best use of space for you and your vehicles. If getting your garage summer-ready is overwhelming, please reach out to Jayme for a consultation.

This article was written in collaboration with our newest organizing expert, Open A. I. 

Unofficial Benefits to Being Organized

Whether you are a neat and tidy person or more of a free spirit, there are benefits to being organized. Educated as an engineer, I know I don’t know anything about the medical field. What I do know is how getting organized has health benefits. All of the busy people we have worked with have reported the following benefit of getting their homes and offices organized:

More Energy

Having clutter drains energy.  Stagnant energy builds up around clutter and causes tiredness and lethargy.

Improved Health

People with limited clutter look and feel better.  They are typically more active and have a fresh face.  Clutter congests your home and your body.

Reduced Depression

Stagnant energy surrounding clutter pulls you down.  Feelings of hopelessness can be relieved by clearing the clutter.  Clearing the clutter allows you to make room for something new and fresh.

When you are organized:
You’ll be able to relax more
You’ll have more time for yourself
You’ll have more time for your loved ones
You’ll feel good about your environment
You’ll be an even better role model
You’ll be healthier, as well as your family
You’ll breathe better
You’ll do better professionally
You’ll save more
You’ll achieve more

Organizing is a process, not a destination.  Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you on your journey. Let’s chat about how Top Shelf Home Organizing can help you feel the benefits of getting organized.

Simple. Life. Solutions.

We would love to put our talents to use making your home and office functional and organized. Let us know how we can help your space be the best it can be.

Meet Our Organizers


Owner and Organizer

Jayme has a passion for developing efficiencies, systems and organization for busy people. As a child, organizing toys and craft items was fun. As the neighborhood babysitter, families always came home to nicely organized kids’ spaces and rooms. Jayme looks forward to making an enormous change in your home, office and life. She has degrees in engineering and business management. Attention to detail and passion for helping others led to leadership roles in Jayme’s engineering career. In the past she designed commercial fire suppression systems, and spent years in retail and restaurant industries while in college.



Jackie is the ultimate organizer for busy families. As a mom of four active children, she knows the importance of keeping a busy family organized. Jackie understands the functionality of kitchens, she knows and understands all the kids toys, and is a whiz at closets, basements and garages. You will love to see Jackie’s wisdom and talent in action. 



Susan made her way into professional organizing after many years as an IT Project Manager. She enjoys helping clients streamline their home and work spaces so they can spend time on the things that matter most to them. For Susan, it’s collaborating with clients to identify their needs, and then devise and execute organization projects. Nothing beats seeing the “after” of a space that was previously a source of client discomfort and distraction! Susan is a champ at making decisions and keeping projects moving forward.

Simple. Life. Solutions.

We would love to put our talents to use making your home and office functional and organized. Let us know how we can help your space be the best it can be.

Organizing Paperwork

Are you stressed by unmanaged paperwork around your home and office? Searching for important documents may seem hopeless. Interest charges and late fees can pile up quickly on misplaced bills.  Deadlines are easily overlooked. Getting on top of your papers and developing a good paper management system will reduce stress. Here are some tips on how to get your paperwork organized, and regain control of your home and office.

Convenient Location

Where you manage your paperwork should be convenient. Going to a secluded area of your home may not encourage you to manage your paperwork. If it is not an area you enjoy being in, you won’t go there. 

The workspace should have ample surface area, basic office supplies (envelopes, pens, address labels), computer and printer, paper recycle bin and shredder.

Remove the
unnecessary, immediately

Sort your mail as soon as it comes in, with a recycle bin and shredder within an arm’s reach. Junk mail should be recycled immediately. Refer to a document retention guideline for guidance on what documents to keep and for how long.

Initial sorting

Create a temporary, simple filing system for the initial sorting of your paperwork. This file system could include files labeled:

File – for files to be filed

Pay – for bills to be paid

To Do – for items that require attention within the next month

Read – for documents that will required your dedicated attention

Regularly go through and pay, sort and file

Set up a weekly time to go through the temporary files. Coordinate your bill paying with your pay dates. File papers from the ‘File’ file. Review your ‘To Do’ file for items needing attention within the next week. Take some time to read through the files from your ‘Read’ file. 

It is important to always be aware of what papers, documents and receipts enter your home. Receipts can be sent via email or not retained at all. Be selective of what documents are collected at trade shows, conventions and seminars. Only accept the documents that are relevant to you. Be mindful of the mailing lists, marketing emails and promotional lists you sign up for. 

Once your paperwork system is set up, plan to set aside time every week to maintain and manage your paperwork. Staying on top of your system will reduce stress and ensure you keep on top of your work and bills.

If setting up a paperwork management system is overwhelming, a professional organizer can help you started or guide you through the entire process. Top Shelf Home Organizing takes pride in working with people to organize and streamline their paperwork. Reach out to Jayme if you are ready to get your paperwork organized.

6 Free Ways to Start the New Year Organized

The new year brings a desire to clear out the old, bring in the new, focus on goals and be more productive. Making a clean sweep through your life and home will help you focus on all your new year goals and plans. Top Shelf Home Organizing has created a list of simple organizing projects to start the new year that will not cost you anything.

1. One In – One Out

The new year brings a desire to clear out the old, bring in the new, focus on goals and be more productive. Making a clean sweep through your life and home will help you focus on all your new year goals and plans. Top Shelf Home Organizing has created a list of simple organizing projects to start the new year that will not cost you anything.

2. Cleaning Schedule

After weeks of celebrating and entertaining, your home likely needs a good cleaning. Set up a cleaning schedule that allows areas of your home to be cleaned regularly. Involve family members in the plan to share the workload. Keep cleaning supplies in a central location so everyone knows where to find them and you know when they are running low.

3. Wardrobe Refresh

Assess your wardrobe and remove clothing items that do not fit, are worn out or do not make you feel fabulous. Reducing your clothing to what you love will lift your spirits and make mornings easy. Clothing items can be donated or sold.

4. Pantry

A good pantry assessment will help plan meals and save money in the new year. Remove all items from the pantry, organize them by food type and plan your meals based on the food you have. Organizing your pantry will get you started on your healthy eating and money saving resolutions.

5. Take a Break from Buying

This month, as you plan for the new year and go through your stuff, don’t buy anything. As you remove items don’t rush out to purchase a replacement, take time to be without. You will be surprised how much less you can live with. Getting organized in the new year also does not mean that you need to spend on organizing gadgets. Reuse organizing items you currently have, or use boxes and containers from around your home. After you have fine-tuned your organizing system, then consider purchasing new storage products.

6. Don’t Ignore Your Feelings

Your home is where you rest and rejuvenate. Items in your home that cause sadness, stress and anxiety don’t belong. Consider keepsakes that bring bad memories all the way to items in disrepair that strike anxiety every time you think of them. As you clean and organize throughout your home, remove these items as they come up. The bad feelings need to go.

This list is enough to get you off to a great start this year. Decluttering is a process and cannot be done in one hour or one day. Start with areas with the biggest impact and start the snowball rolling. After years of working with busy families, we know where to focus. When organizing and decluttering overwhelms you, we are happy to help. Reach out to Jayme at Top Shelf Home Organizing to get you started on the right track.

Steps to Organize Your Photos & Bring Back Memories

When planning to organize an entire home, keepsakes and photos are typically the last category. These items are the most sentimental and slowest to organize. Photos in particular take time as they bring back memories of life’s most cherished moments. To make photo organizing manageable, break the project down into basic organizing steps.

1. Gather

Gather all photos together into a work area that can be dedicated to photo organizing for a long period of time. For digital photos, keep a notebook record of all the devices, websites, disks, drives, and apps you have photos stored to. Digital photos will be gathered in the organizing step.

2. Sort

Sort photos by date. When dealing with a large quantity of photos, you may want to sort by decade to start. Each decade can then be sorted further into years and then months. If you prefer to keep photos organized by events or holidays, you will still want to keep them chronological, but consider adding extra labels to the organizing to flag these events. For digital photos this should be relatively easy as they can be sorted by the date the photo was taken or stored.

The challenge of sorting digital photos is the multiple locations they are stored. Refer to your notes on where you have photos stored and sort photos one location at a time. Physical photos will take some time. Have some photo boxes, shoe boxes, or small bins on hand for sorting.

3. Purge

Choosing which photos to purge will be challenging. Some people will keep just good photos that represent events. Most people will take time to closely look at each photo and may not want to reduce any. The easiest photos to get rid of are duplicate photos. You may also consider reducing photos that are poor quality or blurry. With digital photos, it is easy to take many photos of the same pose. Try your best to select one or two of the best photos to keep.

4. Organize

Organize photos in a way they can be viewed the easiest. For physical photos, they should be neatly organized chronologically with tabs to note dates (years and months) and events. Photo boxes or bins work well for physical organization.

Digital photos should be stored in a common place, chronologically. Consider cloud-based storage for a central location for all digital photos. Understand this will take time to move files from all locations into a central location. You may also consider digitizing your physical photos and storing with the digital photos. Back up your photos to an external hard drive or other non-cloud-based storage method.

Break the Project Down

Organizing photos is not a weekend organizing project. It is a process that will take months or years to complete. Breaking the project down into small pieces will make it easier and more enjoyable. Keep your eye on the goal of having all your photos organized, easy to retrieve, and easy to share with others.