Tips on Decluttering Your Garage

Spring season has always been a symbolism for renewal and rebirth. It promises that one may begin again by letting go and embracing something new. Cliche and cheesy lines aside, spring is the right time to actually clean up and let go of your winter mess. A good spring cleaning is an opportunity to refresh yourself and your home.

Spring cleaning is important because of the following reasons: First, it helps you breathe easier. Houses are usually closed and insulated during winter, this means that dust settles, and air becomes stagnant. Spring cleaning improves not only the quality of air inside your home, but it also improves your mood and makes you feel better. Second, winter in general feels people heavy and gloomy, spring cleaning helps you declutter and escape winter doldrums. Lastly, it can serve as a treasure hunt and may open up new possibilities – decluttering a space may make room for something new and finding things that you no longer find useful may turn into gold.

Clean-ups may take up a lot of your time but a big chunk of it is usually spent cleaning that one place where we dump just all kinds of things – the garage. Luckily, below are some tips to get you started.​

Have the right tools in place.

This includes heavy-duty trash bags, strong vacuum or a broom; and catch-all basket for odds and ends.

Take everything out.

Before you declutter your garage, you must first find out what’s in it. Ideally, you should take everything out of the space. However, sometimes there is not enough space in the driveway to that. What you can do in this case is to pick a section of your garage, a zone, or a wall (whichever you find most effective) to start with and pull everything out onto the driveway to sort through. This step will help you see how many of a certain item do you own. You may be surprised to see how many items your garage can store!

Decide on Your ‘Keep’ Criteria.

Now that you’ve pulled everything out, it is time to set some criteria for deciding what to keep. Ask yourself “Is this item in the garage for a reason, or because I didn’t know what to do with it?”  If it’s the latter, either find a use for it or get rid of it. This cleaning tip will speed up the process by preventing you from agonizing over each item. Here are the common things you should keep: items you’ve used more than once in the past year, things that are in working condition, and tools you can’t easily rent or borrow.

Organize Your ‘Keep’ Zones.

 Since the we technically dump everything in the garage, there are so many types of items that can be found. We can begin sorting through these items by grouping them i.e. Car supplies, sports equipment, tools, children’s toys, etc. Once you have everything sorted, begin assessing how much space each zone is going to take up, and then plan accordingly.

Decide What to Do with the Garage Clutter.

Whatever doesn’t make your “keep” list is, by default, clutter. With your “keep” items set aside, you may now go through the rest of the stuff you pulled out of the garage and identify what to do with them. You may either want to donate it, sell it, or pitch it.

Donate it – It is always a good idea to have a “donate” pile. You may take these items to your local community or charitable institutions. Salvation Army or Habitat for Humanity are a good place to start.

Sell it – If you’d like to make a little money off your garage cleanout, you can consider hosting a yard sale or selling it online. Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace are great places to list your items or advertise your yard sale.

Pitch it – For those items that cannot be sold or donated, it’s probably time to get rid of it.

Deep Clean the Space.

 While you’ve got your garage emptied out, it might be a good idea to scrub it down before putting things back. In general, the best way to clean up a garage is from top to bottom. Start by dusting off and wiping down the tops of your cabinets, and shelves. Then, wipe down your garage walls and cabinet doors with a warm, damp cloth and a mild household detergent. Next, sweep the floor to get rid of the dust you’ve shaken loose. Finish up by mopping and hosing off the floor. Allow the floors two to four hours to dry before putting things away.

Plan Garage Storage and Get Organized.

 Now that you have sorted out your “keep” and “clutter” list, you may now assess your garage space and start organizing. Listed below are some organizing tips that can help you.

  • Utilize vertical space

  • Use shelving units to keep frequently used items within easy each.

  • Use cabinets or closets for items you use less frequently.

  • Use a pegboard to organize hand tools such as hammers and hacksaws.

  • Use wall hooks to hold larger tools such as rakes and shovels, or stand these items up in a large, sturdy bin

  • Make sure and dangerous items (chemicals, tools) are stored in a locked cabinet if children are in the house

  • Group items by your “Keep” zones so that you always know where to find what you need—and can easily put it back where it belongs when you’re done.

Maintain Garage Organization.

Once you have organized your zones, you will feel a well-earned sense of accomplishment. The last step is to keep this organizing scheme going by doing a quick sweep as often as you need to.

Cleaning your garage can feel a little too overwhelming, hopefully with these tips, you can tackle it step by step. Tidying up may be exhausting but as Karla Emery, a decluttering enthusiast in Charlotte, N.C said ”Having the opportunity to declutter is a privilege.”

“Working through a large quantity of items is a tangible example that you have a life that may be a dream to others.” Happy cleaning!

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