A garage is for your car, right? You wish! Most people store stuff and unused items in their garage, making it difficult to access the sides of the car. Perhaps your car has even been squeezed out and is no longer in residence!
Cleaning out your garage every once in a while will reduce old junk and allow you to re-evaluate the storage. And if you know the right way of managing this process, cleaning out your garage doesn’t have to be as labor-intensive or impossible as it might seem.
Follow these steps to clean out your garage and get the job done on a weekend..
7 Steps to Cleaning Out Your Garage
An action plan speeds up the process—use the steps below to clean out, organize, and restore your garage.
1. Make a Plan
If you have been accumulating junk in your garage for months, if not years, you may not remember what’s in there.
Take time to have a good look, so you can begin to categorize the stuff on a piece of paper.
The idea is that you will take everything out over one weekend, so you have a general sense of what’s in there and what you will do with it.
Divide your categories into keep, garbage and donate – it really is that simple.
Ensure you have plenty of garbage bags, sturdy gloves, overalls, and a mask if it’s dusty. For items that you want to donate or sell, you will need storage boxes to pack them in for drop-off.
Consider renting a junk removal company if you think at least 75% of the contents of your garage are garbage.
Some of the items you take out of your garage will go back in either because you want to keep them or because you plan to sell or donate them. So, your garage should have a spring clean first. Equip yourself with cleaning materials.
2. Decide Where to Start
Start with the floor, as this will make it easier to move around in the garage and help you access shelves and cupboards without overreaching.
Take each item out and put it straight into one of your three areas, keep, dump, donate. When you have cleared the floor, take one wall at a time and work your way around.
3. Take Everything Out
This step is where many people get sucked in as they start looking at or tinkering with different items, even agonizing over whether to keep things.
If you haven’t used an item in the last year, it goes to the garbage. If it’s broken and you have been promising to fix it, then it goes. If you keep this mantra in your head, then it will make it much easier to sort the stuff into different piles.
Anything that you don’t want to keep but is good enough to sell or donate needs to be cleaned and boxed up. Yes, you might need to put it back in the garage for a while but try to find a way to get rid of it quickly.
Putting a firm date on your calendarand advertising a yard sale is a good way to thin out the clutter and save you the job of storing it.
4. Plan Ahead With Your Donations
Most charities welcome donations, but sometimes there are restrictions on certain goods or the condition of particular items. Do your research first. Otherwise, you could find yourself moving a pile of stuff from your garage to the yard and no further.
Good places for dropping off old items are local donation centers. You could look on social media and find a local group or community project which might be happy for spare tools or equipment for DIY or gardening initiatives.
5. Consider How You Will Sell Stuff
Be realistic with your plans to sell unwanted items. They must be workable and in good condition, although some people will buy a fixer-upper.
Selling stuff takes time. You have to list items and then find the space to have people come to your home to look at them. That’s why a yard sale can be a better and more time-efficient way to clear these items.
6. Clean Your Garage
Once your garage is empty, take this opportunity to give it a thorough clean.
Work from the top downwards and start by removing loose dust and dirt with a brush and hoover. Next, wipe down all the surfaces with a damp cloth and a bucket of mild household detergent.
If there is any visible mold, use household bleach to remove it. Remember, mold spores are dangerous. Follow proper guidelines as you clean and keep the garage well ventilated.
Mop the floor and then make sure the garage has enough time to dry out properly before putting things back. Otherwise, you will just encourage mold and mildew.
A microfiber cloth fitted to a flathead mop can help remove excess water and moisture from the walls, and a fan will help the floor dry more quickly.
7. Get Organized
What you keep will need proper storage and organization. Putting things in cupboards and cabinets prevents them from attracting dust and dirt, but you may also want open shelving for items you use regularly.
A pegboard is a practical and safer way to store DIY hand tools like hammers and hacksaws. Large wall hooks can hang big garden tools like rakes or shovels.
If you prop them up against the wall, they nearly always get in the way and will encroach on floor space and prove a tripping hazard.
Try and systemize where you keep things so that your storage is practical and logical. Remember the saying, “a place for everything and everything in its place.” This motto will help you stay organized and avoid clutter building up in the future.
How to Identify What to Keep
For many people, this is the tricky bit. It slows them down and turns a 48-hour purge into something that never quite gets finished, and you know what that means—all the junk goes back in as it’s Monday tomorrow, and you need to go to work.
Garbage is the easy bit to identify. It’s the ‘not sure’ items that will delay you. The best way to identify what to keep is to stick rigidly to some hard and fast rules.
- If you don’t know what it is, chuck it.
- If you can’t remember why it’s in there, toss it.
- If it’s in the garage because you don’t know what to do with it, ditch it.
- If it’s broken and not easily fixable, then it’s garbage—don’t subscribe to the fairy-tale that you will have enough time to repair it one day.
- If you have several of the same things, just keep one or two of the best and get rid of the rest.
Keep items you have used in the last year, tools that are not easy to rent or borrow, and anything in working condition.
How Do I Get Motivated to Clean a Garage?
Lack of motivation is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to getting on and clearing out your garage. The junk is not in the house, so it’s easy to shut the door and forget about it.
For some people, just the prospect of a tidy and organized garage is rewarding enough. However, they just don’t quite know where to start or how to get there without a bit of a kickstart.
For others, it’s the motivation that they can sell off unwanted items and make some handy cash.
Some people treat it like a voyage of discovery, finding things they haven’t seen for years.
Whatever the trigger, it is crucial to identify a motivating factor and hang onto it. You may find setting a date and advertising a yard sale gives you the drive.
Why not consider getting friends or family involved, with a barbeque for all at the end of the weekend for a job well done. A reward can sometimes provide that much-needed motivation.
A regular garage clear-out will keep on top of the clutter and garbage and allow you to have a thorough clean: you can’t clean a space overloaded with junk.
A tidy garage is an excellent space for storage for all sorts of items, but only if you keep it clutter-free and well organized.
If it’s time for getting old junk out of your garage and off your property, call Nixxit Junk Removal. We have multiple solutions to help you get rid of unwanted stuff, including eco-friendly methods.