Heather Brett is showing me around her garage, declaring it the perfect example of one that's badly designed.
"There are only two power points," she laments.
The professional home organiser says garages need to be well designed to be functional, and well organised so they aren't the room that's equivalent to a junk drawer.
Eager to reclaim her own garage, she's spent the weekend decluttering and hauling out items past their prime. She's now got ample room, including space to hang bikes on the wall.
"If you look at the percentage of New Zealanders who don't use their garage for their cars now, we're almost in line with the biggest countries," she says.
"The percentage is getting higher of garages becoming storage only", especially if you have children.
"The more activities you have, the more hobbies you have, the more you have in your garage."
What's more, an increasing number of Kiwis don't have garages at all or are using them as living spaces.
With more of us working from home, many have turned their garage into their office, or teenage gaming rooms, which she says are becoming more and more common.
If you don't have a garage, she advises assessing what you have at your property and whether you need it.
"Can you get away with not having a lawnmower and having someone come and mow your lawns for you?"
Also consider setting up a small, removable outdoor shed, or dedicating one bedroom to your garage storage and supplies.
"Declutter and simplify down to only what you need and use, and consider hiring larger tools and sporting goods, rather than purchasing and storing them."
She also suggests popping things that you use annually - such as Christmas decor - in your attic or ceiling cavity.
Her business, Simple Happy Spaces - Professional Home Organising, helps clients from Katikati to Rotorua declutter and organise their pantries, wardrobes, linen cupboards, kids rooms and garages.
Kiwis are accumulating more and more possessions, including some that no longer serve them.
"If you look at what the square metreage of your house is worth, and how much it's actually costing you to store that stuff. It's expensive if all you're storing is things you don't need."
The same can be said for storage units. "If it's gone there, then you probably don't need it."
As a serial DIY-er (she renovated four houses in six years), she's studying minimalism and learning how to reduce her own possessions to "lift burdens", except for her house plants, which she loves.
It's up to clients what they choose to hold on to, but it can help if couples are on the same page with their overall vision, she says.
"You've got dynamics where [the garage] is hubby's space, and he doesn't want anyone touching it. I've been called in almost like a marriage counsellor in some situations to help them find a happy medium."
She works in one of three ways. The first is to create a "DIY plan", offering advice on what shelving and storage products to buy, and the order in which to declutter.
The second is working alongside the client, including sourcing and setting up shelves. She'll take away rubbish, recycling and donations.
Thirdly, she can do it on her own, with a client pre-brief and debrief.
Most garages can be sorted in a day. However, a four-bay garage has taken her 20 hours. You can expect to pay about $330 for a full day (six hours).
Decluttering your home before you start on your garage is recommended, or you'll bring more stuff back into it, and be back at "square one".
For those building a house, she suggests your garage power points are accessible and that there's ample wall space for tool benches, shelving, vertical hooks or inbuilt cupboards. Think about how windows might take away from wall space.
You don't want to have "stuff" piled up on the garage floor.
In her own garage, she has see-through, 60 and 80-litre clip-lid bins, stacked on top of Pinnacle and Rack It kit-set shelving, as well as tool bench systems, all from Bunnings.
If you don't like a visual distraction, you could use black storage bins for a more uniform look, and label them.
Have each storage bin allocated to a category and group items in the same family together: gardening; car cleaning; first aid and evacuation (Brett lives by the beach); pool equipment; cycling; tramping packs; and on top of shelves, consider putting the likes of surfboards, wakeboards or skis.
If organised well, your garage can become a valuable extension of your home.
You'll save time by having everything in its place so it's convenient to find and return; you won't need to buy duplicates of what you already have, but can't find; you'll free up space if you keep only what you use and love; and an organised garage reduces stress and burden from visual distraction.
Heather's five-point garage organising checklist
Sort how you want your garage layout to work. Consider a floor plan so you can visualise how it will look and give you the motivation to get the job done. What purposes do you need to consider? For example, car, storage, leisure, home office or laundry. Maximise storage by utilising vertical wall space and even the ceiling, if needed.
Start with removing everything that is easy to get rid of, such as rubbish, surplus packaging, shopping bags, empty containers. Then move on to decluttering what you want to keep, sell and donate.
Give space to items only once you know what's remaining. Use appropriate shelving with the goal to have as little on the floor as you can for maximum benefit.
Keep like with like, such as all the gardening supplies together, tools together, all sporting and leisure together.
After a month, see what needs adapting to suit. Review at least every season to circulate seasonal items for accessibility. For example, camping equipment in summer.