Although the garage isn’t typically where we spend the most time, it’s the place where we put most of our things. The garage is a catch-all for anything we don’t want in our house, but can’t bear to part with it. In fact, I think many homeowners actually forget that their garage is a place to park cars.
The easiest way to stop your pack-rat tendencies in the garage is to sit down and ask yourself what the purpose of your garage is. Some people use their garage as a workshop, others use theirs as a man cave, and others just simply need the space for storage. Whatever your need or combination of needs, there’s no way you can get to your goal with a garage filled with a bunch of unnecessary knickknacks.
So here’s a few tips to help you clean out your garage:
1. Team up. Cleaning out the garage is not a one-person job. Enlist the help of your family, neighbors, friends, etc. to clean out the garage. This is a major project that shouldn’t be left up to one person. Plus, it’s harder to laugh at all of your old ridiculous junk by yourself.
2. Gather the supplies. Here are just a few of the things that you’ll need when you’re cleaning out your garage: industrial sized garbage bags, label maker (if you have one, or just sticky labels and a Sharpie if you don’t), at least six large storage bins, stiff broom, garden hose, and a duster.
3. Organize. Take every single thing out of its container, storage space, shelf, etc. and evaluate everything (and I do mean absolutely everything.) Make four piles for your organizational purposes:
– Seasonal items (holiday decorations, beach toys)
– Items to stay in the garage (tools, bicycles, exercise equipment)
– Storage items (old toys, books, other personal memorabilia that you will place in a safe place)
– To donate or throw away
4. Label, label, label. Remember that label maker that you just had to have? This is the perfect opportunity for it to earn its worth. Once you’ve separated all of your piles and are feeling confident about your choices in each category, it’s time to label. Put seasonal items in a bin and label each bin accordingly. Put storage items in the bins and label them, ensuring they’re ready to go to the attic or the storage unit.
5. Donate/ Throw Away. I’m a big believer in donating to charity, so if you have things that you’ve decided you can part with but are still in good shape, the best thing to do with them is to find a good donation place. If you have to throw the rest of it away, be sure there’s nothing in the pile that can’t be recycled first.
6. Find a Spot: For all of your items that will remain in the garage, make sure that everything has a proper place. Buy hooks for your bike, buy a tool kit to store your tools, etc. If something doesn’t have a place or doesn’t quite fit in a category, then you might want to ask yourself why you’re keeping it.
7. Freshen and sparkle. Now that everything has been put away and organized, it’s time to rinse the garage floor. If you have grease or oil stains in your garage from your cars or a project, the best way to lift those is to pour a bunch of kitty litter on top of it and wait about 24 hours for it to soak up. Once the stains are off the floor, take your stiff broom and sweep every corner of the garage to get all the dust and debris. Although your garage floor doesn’t need to be as clean as your kitchen floor, it shouldn’t be a health hazard either. If you feel the need, go ahead and hose down your garage floor with your garden hose and some eco-friendly cleaner. Make sure that the cleaning products that you use in your garage doesn’t contain harsh chemicals because it can damage the nearby grass and can easily end up in the sewage system.
Do you have any garage cleaning tips? I would love to hear some new ones!