What’s not to love about the spring? It’s a time to pack away the snow chains, break out the picnic basket, and start enjoying the fresh air again. Yes, I really do own a picnic basket but I’m not exactly sure where it is. In the garage someplace, I’m sure. Which brings me to the point of this article. If your garage is anything like my little clutter cave, you need to add “clean the garage” to your list of spring cleaning chores.
Giving your garage a thorough cleaning and de-cluttering right now means that you’ll have all of your warm-weather toys and tools organized and ready to go when you need them. As an added bonus, you won’t have to hunt for your winter gear with frozen fingers when cold weather rolls around again.
Get Started With a Clean Slate
The easiest way to clean and de-clutter is to start with an empty garage. This means hauling everything out onto your driveway or front lawn. If this just isn’t possible where you live, you’ll have to concentrate your efforts on one section of the garage at a time.
Once your garage floor is free of clutter, sweep up loose dirt and cobwebs with a stiff broom, then go over it again with soapy warm water and a mop. If you uncover stubborn stains on your floor that resist scrubbing, apply your favorite laundry pre-wash stain lifter and re-mop after a few minutes.
How to Organize the De-cluttering Process
At the very least, you’ll need trash containers for totally useless junk, boxes for unwanted but still usable stuff for donation or a garage sale, boxes or designated piles for items that can be stored elsewhere, and boxes or piles for everything that you want to store in the garage.
Each family member should have the opportunity to sort through their own items as long as they understand that they can’t save everything. The only way to make room for new stuff is to let go of some of the old stuff. Aside from sentimental keepsakes, anything that hasn’t been used or even thought about within the past year should be a serious contender for the discard pile.
Find a Place for Everything in Your Garage “Keep” Pile
Separate items to be stored in your garage into logical categories such as tools, summer toys and sporting gear, winter toys and sporting gear, paint and chemical cleaners and solvents, Christmas decorations and so on.
Store items in each category together so that you can find things quickly when you need them. To get the most out of your available storage space, think vertical: tall shelving units and pegboards with hooks will help keep your garage floor clutter-free. Label plastic storage containers with a description of the contents and stack them vertically.
Prioritize your categories in terms of how often you’ll be accessing them. Items that you’ll be using frequently should be easily accessible; seasonal or infrequently used items can be stored further back.