How To Organize A Garage Like Wes Anderson

Professional organizing brings me into all corners of people’s homes: closets (often people’s first guess when they hear my choice of careers), kid’s play spaces, home offices, attics, kitchens, medicine cabinets, and one of my favorites: garages. Garages can be one of the most intimidating spaces initially, because they are often the modern’s home dumping grounds (“What we do with this?/”I don’t know, put it in the garage for now, I guess”) but, they can be one of the most satisfying to organize because often at the end of six hours you can stand back and see a HUGE difference in a BIG space.

You know what else, I like?

(Don’t worry, I’ll tell you in the next line.)

I like: the movies of Wes Anderson and Mike Rhode‘s sketchnotes.

In all of Wes Anderson’s movies, the characters share their creator’s affection for maps:


And written plans:

bottlerocket notebook


And this affection even comes through in his films’ special edition DVD packaging:

rushmore map


Mike’s sketchnotes are a similar idea, visual note taking, that focuses on “ideas, not art!”

So that got me thinking…how would Mike and Wes plan a garage organization? Maybe like this…

2014-04-10 - Garage Organizing Sketchnote -


When you organize a garage, one of the great benefits is that you often have a huge staging area: the driveway. Look at the sketch above, it even looks like a raked stage. (My theatre background peeking through.) So the steps illustrated above are:

1) Clear your driveway. Park cars on the street.

2) Create your driveway stage. Put trash cans at the bottom of the driveway for recycling, garbage, and e-waste. Section off areas for items to keep, donate, and review. You can create clear sections with sidewalk chalk or blue painter’s tape.

3) Begin to move everything out of the garage and onto the driveway in the sections they belong. Within the keep and review sections (give yourself the most space here) begin to create categories like sports equipment, gardening, holiday decorations, etc.

A little bit of planning and map making before your garage organizing can save you  lot of sanity and increased clarity on a day that might seem overwhelming at first but will end with a satisfying visual:

Single car garage after


And then you can unwind with your favorite Wes Anderson movie:

Posted in: home organizing