Garages are designed to house our cars, but they oftentimes become a makeshift storage room for everything that we’d rather keep out of sight: old sports gear, holiday decorations, clothes that your kids have outgrown. We need to give the garage the occasional deep clean or else there won’t be enough room to park your car.
We already spend around six hours a week cleaning our home, and it wouldn’t hurt to set aside a day or two to declutter and organize your garage every other season. We get to remove all the junk and clear out space for new items and activities. To get you started, here are a few tips and strategies that will help you reclaim space and make the most of your garage.
1. Create a plan
If you haven’t cleaned your garage ever, then it’s probably full of boxes, plastic containers, and dusty tools. Dealing with all that mess can be overwhelming, which is why the first thing you need to do is to create a plan. That will help you achieve your primary goal, which is to restore order. Once you’ve finalized your plan, you can then break the project down into individual tasks.
Ask yourself a few questions about what you want to get out of this project. Do you need room for more storage? Do you have other plans for the space? Thinking about how you’re going to use your garage allows you to narrow your focus. If you want to upgrade a few things, you also might want to look at new garage doors.
2. Be realistic
A garage cleanup requires time and commitment on your part, so you need to be realistic about your timeline and what you can reasonably do. You don’t have to do everything yourself, and it might be smart to enlist the help of friends or hire a few day laborers.
Start with the easy tasks such as taking out the trash or gathering things you can donate or recycle. You want to clear out the entire space so you’ll have a blank canvas to work with. If you have a lot of time on your hands, you can declutter your garage in a day or two. But for the vast majority of people with jobs and responsibilities, it may take them a few weekends to sort everything out.
3. Know what to throw away
As a general rule, you should throw out anything you haven’t used in a year. If the rule is true for your closet, it should also be true for the garage. I’m sure your garage is full of things you haven’t touched in years, let alone used. If you’re still holding on to ski gear and you can’t remember the last time you went to the slopes, then you should donate or sell them.
Of course, some things deserve to be kept, even if they’re rarely used. Categorize the items into three different categories: to donate, keepsakes, and things you’ll use. Just make sure to invest in good storage to prevent damage. You don’t want your childhood photos to be eaten by insects.
4. Start a storage system
Take this opportunity to create a proper system for organizing your belongings. Since space is limited, you want to invest in vertical shelving such as racks and cabinets. You also may want to get mounted storage to maximize your space. That way, you’ll have enough space for your car, your hobbies, and your things.
5. Take advantage of hanging storage
Garages are big, but they often don’t seem that way with all the junk lying around. Make sure to take advantage of wall and hanging storage to free up floor space for more important things. For instance, if you have gardening tools lying on the floor, you can hang them on the wall to save space. Anything with hooks and handles can be hung, such as sports gear, bicycles, and power tools.
6. Use casters
Many people enjoy gardening but don’t have enough space for a proper shed. If that’s true for you, you can turn your garage into a makeshift gardening station. You build (or buy) a potting shelf to store your pots, planters, and other gardening essentials. Another option is to put casters on a container for better mobility.
A final word
These things will help you declutter your garage and reclaim much-needed space. You don’t have to force yourself to finish everything within a day or two. Take your time and focus on doing the job the right way.