Cleaning Out the Garage

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Do you have a garage? Can you get your car in there easily? If the answer is no, it’s probably time to roll-up your sleeves and clean out the garage. There are some steps that can make this process less daunting.

As the old adage goes, “Take one bite at a time.” The first bite, in this case, is organization. Not what you expected, right? Rather than just diving off into the deep end, take a hard look at what’s currently in the garage and what you ultimately want to do with it. If you haven’t been able to park in the garage for years, then getting it back in shape for its original intent may be the primary goal.

Cleaning Out the Garage

In any case, define what you intend to use the space for — perhaps a workshop area, storage, etc. Here goes…

Empty the garage. Yes, get it all out if you can. However, if dragging everything out for all the neighbors to see is not something you want to endure, then set-up a staging area and keep the mess confined to your family (i.e., your work crew).

Set-up three decision areas labeled “Keep,” “Trash,” and “Sell or Donate.” As you move through the stuff, don’t spend a lot of time deciding–you should be able to designate things fairly quickly. For instance, if you have items (like exercise equipment or old toys) that haven’t been touched in years, let them go.

Dispose of the trash pile regularly. Likely, there are old chemicals, paint cans, etc. that will need to be disposed of at a hazardous waste dump. Keep those separate from regular trash and follow the guidelines for proper disposal. Leave the other two piles for now.

Where are you going to store stuff? If you don’t have shelving or pegboards installed, now is an excellent time to get them. Look at what you want to keep and organize the storage space accordingly. Seasonal things, like holiday decorations, don’t need to be as accessible as something you’d use every month. Keep like-items together, e.g., all gardening tools grouped so that you know what you have at the ready, along with gardening gloves, clippers, etc.

Do you want some workspace for crafting in the garage? Make space at the front so that it doesn’t interfere with parking your car. Perhaps you have an old table that’s past its prime, but could be an excellent workbench. Get your craft supplies from the “Keep” pile and organize them in clear storage bins. There, you just designed your workspace with everything tidy and handy. Pat yourself on the back.

Likewise, you could also set up a gardening workspace for potting, propagating, etc. Use clay pots to store hand tools, gloves, etc.

Now, for the “Sell or Donate” pile. Decide where you plan to donate, and depending on the size of your items, check with the agency about pick-up options. Schedule or make donations as soon as possible to avoid any temptation to reclaim items. Take things to be sold to consignment shops quickly as well.

Now then, look at all you’ve accomplished! Your garage is organized, manageable, and functional. Good for you! Job well done!