What’s in your garage? Did that question just make you cringe? Many people see their garage as a dumping ground. It’s dirty, cluttered and full of things that just don’t matter much any more. So WHY should you clean out your garage and how do you get it done? Read on to find out.
1. Realize the important of cleaning your garage. Your car is a five figure investment. Why is it outside in the rain, getting dirty and fading in the sun? It’s time to really think about protecting your investment and making your life a little easier. In the heat, snow and rain, isn’t it much nicer to get in the car where it’s warm and dry? Only 30 percent of people store their cars in their garage so while you might be in good company, it’s time to make a positive change.
2. Set aside at least one full day to organize the garage. A weekend is preferable. This will ensure you can complete all the tasks and allow for drying time if necessary. Check the weather and try to pick a weekend where it will be warm or cool enough to be outside, with no rain or snow.
3. Gather supplies. It’s a good idea to have some tarps on hand. Boxes for donations and garbage bags for trash are also important to have one hand. Cleaning products and tools such as brooms are key. You may want to have a face mask for dust and gloves to keep your hands clean.
4. Lay out the tarps and create categories; toss, keep and donate. Go through every single item. Open all of the boxes and divide the items up into these groupings. Don’t simply move the boxes around, really go through the contents of each. Check to make sure any labeling is accurate. If you didn’t remember what was inside of a box or even remember you still had something, that’s a good reason to donate it.
5. When you know what you want to keep, create categories. Common and useful groupings are: sports equipment, gardening supplies, automotive care, outdoor play things (including bikes), holiday decor (exterior), extra house hold supplies such as paper towels, and snow removal gear.
5. Drop off donations as quickly as possible. Arrange for a pick up if possible. Otherwise, load them into your car and drop them off the next day.
6. Keep in mind that the garage is probably not temperature controlled. Items that are sensitive such as candles, photographs, memorabilia and even paint should be stored somewhere else.
7. If you have a LOT of stuff to get rid of, rent a dumpster in advance.
8. If you don’t have storage in your garage, it’s time to install some. I love these inexpensive shelves from Sterlite. At the time I wrote this they were under $30 on Amazon. You can also install shelving ABOVE your car.
9. Putting down a floor mat will make the garage seem more like part of your home. It will also help you keep the space clean. Use a parking mat like the one below or paint the surface with a specialty kit.
10. Enjoy! Enjoy your new space! It will take a little while to get in the habit of NOT dumping things into the garage. But, you’ll love coming and going from the garage and into the car so much better than braving the elements.
Your Turn: Your first step is to pick the weekend to get your garage organized. Start there and you’ll be shocked at how quickly the process takes off. Tell me how it goes in the comments below.