For most homes, the garage has become a catch-all for old appliances, once-loved children’s toys, tools, and every knickknack that no longer has a place in your home.
With each item that takes refuge in your garage, you lose valuable space.
If you want to reclaim your garage, follow these four steps to keep your garage organized.
1. Clean it Out
The first step to keep your garage organized is to clean it out.
Before you do this, create a staging area for all your things while you are cleaning; the most convenient staging area is the drive way.
You may want to place a tarp on the ground instead of placing your random odds and ends on the pavement. This will help you keep your things clean.
Next, move everything that isn’t nailed down to your staging area. From the largest cabinets to smallest screws, get everything out.
Once you have removed everything from your garage, you need to clean it.
Work your way from the top to the bottom and from the back to the front, and take a broom and remove any dust or cobwebs from your ceilings and walls.
Once you’ve done this, sweep, starting from a back corner and working towards your garage door. If you have oil slicks on your garage floor, an absorbent powder can remove them. Once the powder does its job, sweep it up.
Make sure you schedule your clean-out on a day with good weather; the last thing you want during this process is for a downpour to hit with all your things unprotected.
2. Get Rid of Your Junk
As you move everything out of your garage, get rid of as much trash as you find. Loose papers, broken tools, and other garbage belong in the trash bin.
Once you have gotten rid of all the trash, go through your belongings and see what you need, what you want, and what is junk.
Keep things that you use on a regular basis, like lawn equipment, tools, and sporting goods handy. You will want to put things that you may only use seasonally, like snow removal equipment or pool toys further back or away.
The most difficult part of this process is deciding on personal things you’ve been holding onto. You may want to keep high school yearbooks and old photo albums, but you should store them in a different location.
Once you have established what to keep and what to get rid of, consider having a garage sale so you can make a little extra cash on the side. or your neighbors may find a use for your old junk.
For those items that survive the garage sale, donate them to your local charitable distribution center. Giving to organizations like Good Will and the Salvation Army is a great way to give your use items a new life.
3. Create a Plan
Before you put anything back in your clean garage, make a plan. This will help you keep things clean and keep your garage organized.
Take an inventory of the items you intend to keep.
Do you have enough storage space for everything?
What will you need to do to make everything fit?
The most important part of your plan is to make sure everything has its place. Group and label similar items.
By organizing your stuff into categories, you can get a better idea where you will store everything.
This can also give you a chance to store things in other parts of your home. Take this time to move items that don’t belong in the garage.
These items may include:
- Canned food
- Clothes and linens
- Paper goods
Once you have moved these and other items to a new location in your home, consider how you will store your remaining items.
Invest in quality shelving units, cabinets, and overhead storage bins to maximize your storage potential.
You may also want to consider installing a peg board system on your wall to hang tools, cords, and miscellaneous items.
4. Use Your System
Once you have cleaned your garage and installed a storage system, use it to keep your garage organized.
Make sure everything has a place and that everything stays in its place.
When you use a tool, put it back where it goes. This way you will always know exactly where a certain item is and your garage will continue to look clean.
Keeping your garage clean and organized takes a little elbow grease and some forethought.
Other considerations you may want to make when reclaiming your garage include:
- Buying a fire extinguisher
- Installing additional lighting
- Increasing security measures
- Making sure your door works properly
- Using floor mats
These additions can improve the functionality and safety of your garage.
Don’t let dirt and clutter eat away at the usefulness of your garage. Take control of your home’s garage by performing a deep clean and creating an organization plan.