Decluttering your garage might not be the most pleasant of tasks. However, it’s something you definitely need to do if you’re running out of floor space. Or you must clear it out if the garage loses its main purpose – parking your car.
10 Steps to Decluttering Your Garage
Most of us tend to put into the garage any stuff we no longer want inside the house. In addition to all the other things normally kept in there, such as tools, bicycles, lawnmowers, and so on. No wonder the garage tends to become cluttered. So, here’s how to declutter your garage and keep it that way, in ten easy steps:
1 – Start Decluttering by Emptying your garage
Take out all the big items in your garage: your car, obviously. But also other things you might have in there, such as sports equipment, old appliances and furniture, tools, and miscellaneous boxes. This first garage decluttering step is essential because it allows you to sort through your stuff thoroughly, clean the entire space, and develop a better plan for reorganizing everything.
2 – Decide what’s worth keeping and what must go
Now it’s time to go through your belongings and separate the items you actually need from the ones you simply piled up inside the garage for lack of a better solution. The chances that you’ll ever use again old furniture, appliances, or electronics that you banished to the garage are very slim, so you should get rid of them. You can donate or recycle. Or – why not? – organize a garage sale.
You could set up several areas outside your garage right from the start: for the things you plan to keep, for items you intend to donate or sell, and for anything that can go straight to recycling. This way, as you take things out of the garage, you can put them in the appropriate pile, making the sorting work a lot easier.
Most of us have a tough time parting ways with sentimental items. These might be old toys, your children’s school projects, boxes with T-shirts portraying favorite bands from your college days, old magazines, travel memorabilia, and so on. You don’t really know what to do with them but, at the same time, it’s hard to let them go. However, there are ways to hold on to the sentimental value of such items without allowing them to clutter your space.
Take pictures of the items you want to remember – you can now keep them in digital form and discard the physical objects. Create scrapbooks out of old magazines and postcards for your coffee table or interesting photo collages you can display on a wall. Frame your favorite T-shirts or use the prints and the logos on them to decorate other pieces of clothing or other objects you use frequently. The choice is yours, but the main idea is to repurpose such sentimental items in a way that allows you to enjoy them regularly while also avoiding clutter.
4 – Consider renting a self-storage unit for the items you don’t use every day
Even after decluttering your garage and discarding all the unnecessary stuff, storage space inside your garage might still be an issue. From your lawnmower and snowblower to power tools, camping equipment, and garden furniture, there are many items that you certainly need but use only occasionally or seasonally. A small self storage unit can be the right solution for these types of belongings. You can keep them safe in there and easily get them back when you have to use them.
In the meantime, your garage is uncluttered, and you can comfortably use it for your regular, day-to-day activities.
5 – While You’re Decluttering Your Garage, Clean the entire space thoroughly
Now that your garage is empty, it’s the perfect moment to thoroughly clean every corner. Dust the ceiling, walls, and shelves, and sweep and wash the floors. In addition, you could also consider applying a fresh lick of paint to the walls. It’s also a good moment to inspect your garage for problems like mold or water infiltrations and to fix those if necessary.
6 – Install floor-to-ceiling shelving
Adding more storage options in the garage before bringing everything back in is always a good idea. Install floor-to-ceiling shelving, a very efficient solution in terms of how much stuff you can put there, and it will help you keep everything off the floor. However, measure your space carefully before installing the shelving, and make sure your car will still fit inside the garage easily – with a bit of space to spare on all sides.
7 – Use lidded, clear plastic boxes for your stuff
Store your items, as much as possible, in transparent plastic boxes, preferably lidded ones. This way, your belongings will be protected from dust and humidity. Also, you’ll be able to see everything you have put in there, which will help you easily find the items you’re looking for. Keeping things in transparent boxes is also a strategy for preventing the future accumulation of clutter. Since you can see everything, you’re less likely to end up hanging on to useless or broken stuff.
8 – Consider overhead storage
Overhead storage is handy in a garage. Indeed, you can easily store things like extra tires, sports equipment, or large storage bins near the ceiling. There are, of course, some precautions: you should avoid installing this type of storage directly above the spot where you park your car to avoid costly accidents. Also, pay attention to the manufacturer’s specifications regarding how much weight you can actually put on an overhead storage shelf.
9 – Install a pegboard for tools and utensils
A sturdy pegboard can hold many tools and utensils you regularly use around your home: your wrenches, screwdrivers, power drills, hammers, pliers, and so on. And the best part is that you’ll have everything on hand – no more digging through boxes to find the tools you need while you’re in the middle of fixing something around your home.
Decluttering your garage is an important part of the process, However, if you want to enjoy a nice and tidy space in the long run, you must dedicate some time to maintenance. And, since prevention is easier than fixing, deal with various belongings when the situation arises.
Let’s say, for example, that you bought a new food processor to replace your old one. Instead of pointlessly storing the latter in your garage, find a purpose for it. If it’s still working, you could sell it or donate it to a charitable resale store.
Apply the same strategy for every item. Ask yourself how likely it is you will use it again and if it’s worth storing it or not.
Follow these steps to reclaim the space in your garage – and to organize it in a smart, practical manner that allows you to make the most of it. Decluttering your garage can be a once-in-a-blue-moon job if you commit to keeping it neat.