From athletic equipment to holiday décor, the garage often ends up being the dumping ground for storing big, bulky items that don’t have anywhere else to go … but that doesn’t mean it has to be overrun and unruly. Start here to get that mess under control.
- Give yourself room — and time — to declutter. Start in the morning on a day with good weather. Pull everything possible into the driveway. As you clear the garage, group like items together: automotive products, tools, holiday items, sporting equipment and toys, etc.
- Throw away, right away. Some things aren’t even worth sorting. Toss old newspapers and magazines into the recycling bin. Set old electronics, paint, and other chemicals aside so you can properly dispose of them later. Anything that’s broken needs to go right into the trash.
- Thoroughly clean the garage. Use a shop vac to clean up the floor, shelving units, and cobwebbed corners. Wipe down all countertops, cabinets, and drawers.
- Decide on storage. Once you’ve sorted all of your items, think about how they can best be stored. Because items in the garage are often used only occasionally, vertical and overhead storage is a good use of space. Use a variety of cabinets and bins to separate and store items, and label them clearly so you can easily locate things in the future. Use locked cabinets for household chemicals and dangerous items to keep kids and pets out. Consider storing larger items, like kayaks and artificial Christmas trees, hanging from the ceiling. You can also find ceiling storage racks at home improvement stores. Also, label everything clearly!
- Don’t put everything back in the garage — yet! As you sort through everything that was in the garage, put duplicate items and anything you no longer need or want in a separate place. These items will be donated or put into a yard sale later — but they don’t get to go back into the garage.
- Mindfully keep the garage organized. Moving forward, as you use items in the garage, put them back where they came from. Before buying another tool, garden sprayer, or basketball, make sure you don’t already have what you need. Check those new labels you created first.