Tips For Cleaning Out The Garage

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Maybe the inside of your garage doesn’t look as bad as this one, but if I asked you what chore you most dread around your house (and is the most needed one to be done), I would guess that about 99.9% of you would answer cleaning out your garage!  We all put off this task as long as we possibly can.  Sometimes, the main intended use for the garage, your car, is left out in the driveway, as things pile up inside.  Items you use regularly need organizing.   You may find Christmas decorations that you don’t ever use (and probably never will), an outgrown bike that no one rides, empty boxes, cracked ceramic pots, and lawn chairs that are splitting!  It’s hard to get motivated to delve into this job, as no one will see the fruits of your labor.  At least, when you are cleaning up things inside, guests can see a difference.  But organizing your garage does truly make life easier for you and your family.

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5 Great Tips For Cleaning Out The Garage

Nicole Villalpando (follow her on Twitter here) in the September 26, 2015 edition of the Austin American Statesman wrote a great article listing tips on cleaning out your garage.

  • Select the timing of cleaning out your garage. This would involve choosing (a) either tackling the garage one weekend at a time (tools one weekend, Christmas decorations another, etc.) or (b) setting aside one whole weekend to complete the whole cleanup.  One thing I’ve found helpful is to pick a weekend near your neighborhood “Bulky Item Pickup” day to set out things to dispose of.  (Although I’ve found most items are gone before “Bulky Item Pickup” occurs.) Also, it’s good to make this a time that the whole family can get involved, as there might be toys or other children’s items that you will need the children to help decide the outcome of.  It can actually be a fun time with the kids going through old memories that have been stuck away for a long time.  Also, decide on a goal.  Some of us just simply want to make room for the car.  Others want to organize what’s there.
  • Next, you will want to take everything off of the shelves and pull out all other items. Most experts on this subject agree that three stacks are needed to organize.  These are keep, trash, and donate.  A good rule of thumb is if something hasn’t been used in one year, it’s probably not going to be.  This, of course, excludes items such as lawn equipment, etc.
  • “Zones” need to be designated. This means that like items will be put together as you go through your garage.  You could have a lawn care area, a sports equipment area, and Christmas decorations area.  Also, when you put things back, things you don’t use often should be put to the back of the shelf.
  • Decide which items to hang (paint rollers, etc.) and which to put on a shelf. Plastic bins work wonderfully for storage.  You’ll want to measure the height of your shelves to be sure the bins you buy will fit.  Labeling the bins with a label maker works great to mark the bins.  Use color coding to distinguish items, and make lettering large enough to see from a distance.  Also, remember to leave walk space and plenty of room to open the car doors.
  • Lastly, don’t forget to sweep out the garage before putting everything back in its proper place!

Another good tip is if something needs to be repaired, decide if it’s worth it or not.  If not, toss it!  And, donate quickly.  Don’t let it sit around.  That’s defeating your purpose.

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Cleaning Out The Garage: It’s Fun?

You’ve probably seen Peter Walsh on Oprah and other shows.  He’s quite the home organizer.  You might check out his article where he helps a family with their garage clean up.  It’s pretty entertaining!  He states,

“Garages are the elephant burial ground of the 21st century.  Stuff goes in, stuff never comes out!”

He goes on to say, “The garage shouldn’t be a place to store your good intentions.  It should reflect your current life.”  His rule is, “The less often a category of stuff is used, the higher up it goes.”  Good advice!

Happy Cleaning!

Hopefully, these tips for getting your garage organized and cleaned up will help an otherwise hated chore be a little more tolerable.  After you have completed the job, you’ll be so glad you did, and your life will be just a little less complicated when you need to find something!

photo credit: GarageTackle-Feb09_005 via photopin (license)
photo credit: garage via photopin (license)