You know you need to do it. But life keeps getting in the way. So your garage keeps getting more and more cluttered. There’s so much stuff you barely have room for your car. So, you’ve finally reached your breaking point and vow to get the job done. Then reality hits: Where do I start?
Like any decluttering task, the best approach is to tackle it in stages. First, let’s discuss how to clear your garage out, clean it up, and prep it for the next phase–organization. Plenty of advice is available from the experts, but we’ve found some great tips that should help pave the way for you.
- Set aside a full weekend for the job. Involve all family members who can pitch in, and assign them tasks, like removing everything from the walls, or sweeping out leaves and debris.
- Set up areas for items you can keep, throw out, sell, or give away/donate.
- Remove large items, such as worktables, tool chests, shop vacuums, and ladders to give you more cleaning space.
- Pick up small items, such as tools and decorations, and separate them.
- Throw out anything you never use, even if you paid a lot for it. If you’re not using it, it doesn’t matter what it’s worth. Adopt the attitude that if it hasn’t been used for over a year, you probably don’t need it.
- As you go through all your stuff, organize it into major categories such as tools, holiday decorations, collectibles, pet supplies, etc. The more things you place together in related groups, the easier it will be to see which you want to keep, which are duplicates, and which you no longer want or need. (You might even find something you’ve been looking for for months!)
- Consider selling anything with commercial value. Look up similar items on eBay, Craigslist, Offer Up, or other online sales sites to see what the potential value might be.
- When you’re done, you may find a few items that you have borrowed from friends and neighbors over the years. Call anyone you need to return things to and arrange to drop them off or have them picked up. If they don’t want them back and you have no use for the items, add them to your donation/sell pile.
- Do you want to keep some items that need repairs? Decide whether it’s worth the trouble and expense. If not, put them into your throw-out pile. If you decide it is worth the trouble, set those items aside and get them repaired as soon as possible.
- Take the items to donate to your charity of choice immediately. Don’t let anything linger.
The objective of this job is to create space and organization, so things you don’t want or need shouldn’t stay in your garage anymore, or anywhere else around your house for that matter.
Now it’s time to sweep out the garage, clean or paint the walls and ceiling, seal the floor, and patch any holes. After that, you’re ready to get organized, which we’ll cover in Part 2.
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