See part 3 of our new year, new home organization guide, kitchen, here.
Cleaning out a garage is a task that many homeowners know they need to do, but one that is often conveniently put off until next month, next season, or next year. It can seem like the most daunting task imaginable, with many people wondering, “where do I even begin?” Fret not, a little thoughtful planning goes a long way. What’s more, we’ve got a simple three-step guide that should get you started with that garage clean-out:
- First thing’s first. Empty your garage of all the items that are stored inside. This might take some time, and if there are a lot of things to take out it may help to get some help (hint: there’s a Tasker for that!). Once everything is out, it’s easier to segment items into three broad categories: keep, recycle/donate, or toss. As you do this, you might be surprised how much junk accumulates over time).
- Now that your garage is empty, you can do a full sweep of the place…
- Floors: It’s not uncommon to find grease or oil stains on a garage floor. These can be remedied by applying kitty litter or sawdust to absorb the liquid, and then vacuuming it up. Be sure to scrub out stains with a specialized cleaning agent or detergent.
- Doors: These are high-use, so you should expect to find some debris or dirt on your door. First, brush your door down, and then apply warm water and detergent to achieve a sparkly fresh finish. If necessary, now is the time to apply grease to the hinges.
- Walls: Vacuum up any cobwebs. Then, follow the same steps as with your door: brush first, then apply warm water and soap to clean.
- Smells: Yes, you may encounter some rather unpleasant odors wafting about in your garage. Now that your garage is empty, it’s a great chance to air it out. If possible, keep the door open for a few hours or turn on a fan to circulate the air. Pro tip: white vinegar is a natural deodorizer and disinfectant that you can spray to keep bad smells out. Also place open boxes of baking soda around your garage – these will trap in bad odors.
- You’re not going to do this every day so you want to make sure that you organize your garage the right way. Here are a few tips:
- Group similar items together. Think sports materials, tools & drills, and winter items. By keeping them together, they become easier to find (and put away).
- Put the bulkiest gear in the corners and out of the way. This ensures that smaller items remain visible, and that you don’t have to move those bigger items as often.
- Where possible, keep things off the floor. This has two benefits: 1. You can still manoeuvre inside your garage, and 2. Clutter doesn’t build up as easily. The key here is to maximize your vertical space by hanging items (e.g. golf bags, tennis racquets, and bikes can go on hanging racks) and remembering to store “up” with racks, cabinets, and ceiling tracks.
Here’s a key question you should answer before you dive into your garage clean-up: what is the purpose of your garage? If it’s where you park your car, then wall cabinets, empty floors, and open space will be your priority. If it’s a space to store old files, sports gear, and hardware tools, then you might focus on hanging racks and labeled bins. We all have different needs, so there’s no right or wrong answer to this. But knowing the answer will ensure that your garage doesn’t devolve into a messy home for clutter and junk. Not ready to tackle this project alone? A Tasker can give you a helping hand.