If you’re like a lot of homeowners, your garage is kind of a catch-all for clutter. You may or may not have just enough room in it to park your car, or you may have entirely devoted it to storage. One thing’s for sure, though – you don’t have a lot of space to move around, and finding things in there can be a nightmare that ends in even more mess and clutter. So how can you stop the cycle and create an organized, workable space in your garage? Follow these six simple steps.
Assess the Clutter
Before you get started, you’ll need to assess how much clutter there is and how much you’ll be throwing away or getting rid of. If you don’t rent a dumpster, are you going to be left with a giant, unmanageable pile in your front yard? Your neighbors won’t like looking at that eyesore, and you won’t like dealing with it nor your neighbors.
Start With a Purge
Start by defining different areas in your driveway or in the yard adjacent to your garage where you’ll put the items you haul out. Any toxic waste or hazardous materials should be separated and dealt with accordingly. Then you should put things that you know you’ll be throwing out in the dumpster, and you can create designated areas for things that you’re not sure about yet and things you know you want to keep.
Once you’ve gotten everything out of the garage and into those designated areas, you should already see a distinct difference in how much stuff will be going back inside when you’re done. Your job’s not done yet, though. At this point, you need to make a few hard decisions about what stays and what goes.
If you haven’t used something in the last year and you don’t have a specific plan to use it soon, it should go. Keepsakes and important memorabilia should stay, as should any items you use regularly.
Organize Your Keepers
Once you’ve chosen all the things you’re keeping, it’s time to get organized. Separate them into different categories, including holiday decorations, tools, gardening and lawn care equipment and supplies, automotive care supplies, sports gear, seasonal gear, and miscellaneous (because there’ll always be some stuff that doesn’t quite fit into any particular category).
At this point, you’ll want to safely store all of the things you’re keeping, so we recommend getting enough sealable plastic bins to hold everything except larger tools and equipment. Those things can sit next to the bins, which you can place neatly in the garage if you run out of time and need to pack it in for the night and start again on your next day off.
Clean and Inspect Your Garage
After you have everything out, sorted, and organized, it’s time to go back inside your garage for some deep cleaning and inspection work. At this point, you can knock down cobwebs, sweep and mop the floor, and inspect for any structural damage or leaks. Once you’ve done this, after you repair any damage, it’ll be time to get ready to bring everything back in permanently.
Get Everything Off the Floor
Depending on the size of your garage, how much stuff you need to store, and how much effort you want to put in, you have a few different options at this point. Your goal should be to get everything off the floor and organized so that you don’t have any trip hazards, and you don’t have any inviting dark and cluttered spaces where pests will want to make their homes. Plus, when you get everything off the floor, the whole space will look larger, cleaner, and more organized. Speaking of pests, your cleaning will chase them away, wreck their nests, and pretty much scramble their worlds and they’ll go find some other cluttered garage to make their home.
To do this, you can invest in some modular shelving, add a pegboard and/or hooks to the walls, and you can even add some hanging ceiling storage options, too. Whatever you choose, your goal should be to have a place for everything so that you can easily put everything in its place. Then you can bring all of your tools, supplies, and gear in, put it where it belongs, and you’ll have a clean, organized garage that’s free of clutter.
Create an Entrance to Your Home
Finally, at the door into your house from the garage, we recommend adding a small shelving unit, a mat where you can wipe your feet, and some hooks for coats and jackets. This will give you a nice entrance to your home where you can leave dirty shoes and sports gear, take off your coat before you come in the house, and generally leave whatever you won’t be using when you get inside. Plus, you’ll have a space where you know you left all those things whenever you need them next.
With these six easy steps, you can completely redesign your garage and say goodbye to clutter forever. With your newly organized garage, you won’t need to throw things on the ground, and you won’t be tempted to keep random things that you think might be useful “someday” because you’ll have an organized space that doesn’t encourage you to pile things up anymore. Depending on how you arrange your garage, you may even be able to have a workspace and enough room to park your car, too.