Are you feeling overwhelmed every time you step foot into your garage? Do you feel like you can never find anything in there? It may be time to start organizing and decluttering your garage.
Your garage is likely the dumping ground for many items you don’t use often. Because of this, garages become cluttered and dirty quickly. By following some very simple garage organization tips, you’ll be able to get your garage under control in no time!
How to Begin Decluttering Your Garage
The garage is often one of the most cluttered spaces in the home. However, it can also be a great place to store belongings and organize your space. If your garage is cluttered and cramped, it may be time to clean it out. But where do you begin?
Here are a few tips to help you get started when cleaning out your garage:
1. Remove unnecessary items: Begin by removing all the things that don’t belong in the garage, such as sports equipment, tools, and lawn care items. These items can be stored elsewhere, freeing up space in the garage.
2. Sort remaining items: Next, sort through the remaining items and decide which ones you want to keep and which ones you can get rid of. Donate or sell any unwanted items.
3. Create an Organization System: Once you’ve sorted through everything, it’s time to start organizing the remaining items. Create a system that works for you, whether labeling everything with labels or using bins and shelving to keep things organized.
4. Use the system: Finally, keep up with your new system by regularly putting things back in their rightful place. A little bit of upkeep will go a long way in keeping your garage clean and clutter-free!
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the clutter in your garage, start small and take it one step at a time. Tackle one corner or one shelf at a time. And remember to celebrate your accomplishments along the way! Soon enough, you’ll have decluttered your entire garage and can enjoy the extra space.
What Can and Can’t Be Stored in a Garage?
When it comes to storage, garages often get forgotten. But they can be a great place to store seasonal items, tools, and other equipment.
What Should You Store in Your Garage?
There are a few things that you should store in your garage to help protect your possessions from the elements and keep them organized. Storing your stuff in the garage can make the most of your garage space and keep your belongings safe and out of the way.
Items you should store in your garage include:
1. Household items such as garden chemicals, cleaning supplies, and motor oil should be stored in your garage. Many of these items could be flammable or toxic, so it’s essential to keep them out of reach of children and pets. If possible, store these items on high shelves or in enclosed cabinets.
2. Seasonal items such as holiday decorations and camping gear can also be stored in your garage. These items are often cumbersome or difficult to store elsewhere in your home. You can free up valuable storage space elsewhere by keeping them in your garage.
3. Tools can be stored in your garage. Storing tools in the garage w help protect them from the elements and keep them organized. By following these tips, you can make the most of your garage space and keep your belongings safe and out of the way.
4. Your car. Garage storage will help protect your vehicle from the elements and keep it safe.
5. Lawn care equipment, such as a lawnmower or garden hose. Storing will keep it out of the way and prevent it from being stolen.
What should you not keep in a garage?
Many homeowners use their garage as a catch-all storage space for everything from holiday decorations to boxes of old clothes. However, you should not store certain items in the garage due to the risk of damage from heat, cold, or moisture.
You should not store these items in your garage:
1. Paint: Paint cans can leak or become damaged, causing a mess in your garage. It is best to store paint in a cool, dry place inside your home.
2. Flammable liquids: Gasoline, kerosene, and other flammable liquids should not be stored in your garage due to fire risk. If you keep these liquids, make sure they are in a well-ventilated area and away from ignition sources.
3. Food: Food can attract pests into your garage, and it may not stay fresh in the warm temperatures typically found in garages. It is best to store food in a cool, dry place inside your home.
4. Propane tanks: Propane tanks should not be stored in your garage as they can leak and cause a fire hazard. If you have a propane grill, ensure the tank is kept outside, away from potential ignition sources.
5. Electronics: Electronics are sensitive to heat and moisture and can be irreparably damaged if stored in the garage.
By taking care to store only appropriate items in the garage, homeowners can help to keep their belongings safe and free from damage.
Here are some tips to keep in mind when deciding what to store in your garage:
- Seasonal items should be stored and labeled in bins or on shelves. Keep them off the floor to prevent moisture damage.
- Tools should be organized to make them easy to find and use. Hooks and pegboards can be helpful for this.
- Hazardous materials should be stored safely away from any flammable materials. These materials include things like gasoline, paint thinners, and chemicals.
- Don’t forget about your car! Ensure there’s enough space to park comfortably and access any storage areas you need.
By following these guidelines, you can ensure that your garage is a safe and adequate storage space for your belongings.
14 Tips To Help Organize and Declutter Your Garage
If you’re like most people, your garage is full of clutter. You might not even be able to park your car in there! These 14 simple tips will help you organize and declutter your garage quickly and easily.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to find what you need and use your garage for parking your car again. So come on, let’s get started!
1. Take a Before Picture
Taking a before picture gives you a reference to see how far you’ve come. Whenever you feel discouraged or are not making any progress, you can pull out your “before” picture and pat yourself on the back! You’ll be able to see a difference immediately and feel great about your progress.
Imagine how satisfying it will be to see the finished result! It would be best to take an “after” picture to show off to your family and friends and remind yourself of your hard work.
2. Go Section By Section
There are a few reasons you should clean your garage section by section.
First, it will help keep you motivated if you can quickly see the changes in your garage. Whether you start with the back corner or the left wall, you’ll have a point to compare the rest of the garage with. Seeing one tidy corner is such a relief when you’re getting discouraged!
Second, it will keep you from feeling like you bit off more than you can chew. One wall is less overwhelming than the whole garage! If you need to work over several days, you’ll feel like you got something “done” when using this method.
If you feel like doing the whole room at once, you might want to go category by category. Get the trash out first, then the donation items, etc.
3. Take Things Out of the Garage to Sort
The garage is a small, dark, and dusty place in most homes. It’s easy to lose track of what you’re doing when working in those conditions, and it’s easier to justify keeping something you’ll never use if it means you can put it on a nearby shelf! Taking items out of the garage and onto the driveway gives you a chance to put them in a donation box or a trash bag.
Additionally, taking items out of the garage allows you to clean under where the items were! Nobody likes touching things sitting in inch-thick dust and spiderwebs, and you’re probably not an exception. Give the garage a perfect dusting while your stuff is somewhere else.
The last great reason to take things out of the garage is marked as #6 on this list. Making piles will make later organization easier! Plus, you might find you’ve got some duplicates. Using the driveway to sort will give you the space you need and the visual space you didn’t know you needed.
4. Take Out the Trash
Take out the trash. Get a big black garbage bag, some gloves, a pair of tongs if you’re nervous, and hunt down all the garbage. Use extreme prejudice when deciding what is or isn’t trash, and bag it immediately.
You will be shocked at how much better most garages look when the little things are gone! Empty water bottles, napkins that fell out of cars, and empty wrappers are soul-sucking little garage goblins when they’re scattered around, and you just won that battle. Good job!
5. Sweep Out Your Garage
This is the same concept as the trash-goblins! Your garage is not a witch’s cave, and it will eliminate that haunted-house feeling. A suggestion is putting on a face mask, opening the door, and then attacking the dust in one corner with big, sweeping motions in the direction of the door.
Don’t stop to pick up the tiny things! You can rescue those from the big pile at the end while the dust settles.
The bonus of this step is that you’ll bring down the spider population along with the dust, so you’ll have fewer unwanted surprises later on.
6. Make Piles For Categories
Write down a category name and tape that documents to a spot on your driveway. Nest puts everything that goes in that category on the location. Please don’t stop to think it over at first! If it feels right, put it there.
When the garage is swept, dusted, emptied, and ready to have things moved back in, you can go through one pile at a time. The categories will make it easier to decide what stays and what goes, where it will go, and what you will do.
7. Have Someone Present Who Can Motivate You
This person does not need to be physically helpful! They might not do anything but sit and chat while you work.
However, they should be able to mentally motivate you, cheer you on, and help you stay focused. This person can stick with their essential duties of getting you water and picking up a pizza. A kid, a grandparent, and a friend with online work are great people to choose for this important job.
Try listening to an interesting new podcast if you don’t have a cleaning buddy. A podcast feels like somebody is talking near you, and you can get lost in it while your body goes on cleaning-autopilot.
This can keep your stress levels low enough to hit maximum productivity, and you can get through a few episodes of that podcast you haven’t had time for!
Other alternatives are audiobooks, premade playlists, and the radio. Whatever you pick, make sure you don’t have to stop and change it often because that can derail your focus and slow your progress.
8. Purchase Sturdy Shelves
You’ll be exhausted and frustrated if you wait until after the garage is empty to build the shelves. If you make the shelves first, or if you can leave the shelf-building to your Motivational Person, housemate, or spouse, you’ll have a nice place to put your garage things when you’re done.
These shelves can be whatever size you need! You could have some beefy enough to hold tires or heavy tools, some small enough for boxes of screws, and anything in-between.
The important thing is that they’ll make your garage accessible, organized, and fit with your system.
Check out this article I wrote recently on whether it’s cheaper to build or buy garage shelves. In it, You’ll find a complete cost breakdown to help you make the best choice for your budget.
9. Create a Donation Box, Fill It, Then Donate It Immediately
This box should be large and sit right outside of the garage door. Please put it in your car immediately and get a new box when it’s complete.
Be honest with yourself. Have you used the item you’re holding in the past three years? Do you know what it is? Are you keeping it out of guilt because it was a gift? Do you have a child whose birth is more recent than your last use of that tool?
If your answer to any of those questions was yes, or if you want to get a more excellent version of the thing, let it go. Remember, everything you donate will go to somebody who’d love to have it!
Salvation Army, Goodwill, Deseret Industries, and more thrift shops are always looking for donations. Maybe your garage helper can take the box to them for you!
10. If It’s Broken, Let It Go
This is another moment to be genuinely, brutally honest with yourself. You might be very attached to that tool or think somebody will want to fix it someday, but are they?
If the item costs more to fix than it does to buy new, if you’re only keeping it because of nostalgia, or you’re probably never going to fix it, let it go. It’s okay. You can throw it away or put it on your local freecycle page. The important thing is that you let it go and get it out of your garage.
11. Don’t Have A Garage Sale
When was the last time you bought something at a garage sale?
They’re hot, dusty, cause a lot of stress, and they don’t make you nearly enough money to make up for all the work you do. When you’re done, everything tends to go back into your freshly cleaned garage because you think you’ll have another yard sale later, and somebody might buy it then.
They probably won’t buy it then, but you probably will put more stuff on top of it, and soon you’ll be right back to where you were when you started this.
If you do have something you want to sell, try it online! Your local page, Facebook marketplace, and Craigslist might be the place for you to put that old bunk bed you don’t need anymore. If it doesn’t sell, you can lower the price, donate it, or list it.
Don’t fall for the Garage Sale’s siren call. It’s nothing but lies.
12. Organize By How Often You Use The Item
Many people fall for the trap of organizing by how good things look or how neatly things fit in a space.
A more practical way to organize is by putting the most often used items in the easiest-to-reach places. If you frequently set a particular object in the same place, set it there now! Embrace the pattern your brain already wants to develop, and you won’t lose things as often.
Ask other people in the household for their input on the organization. If they’re known to tear apart the garage looking for a drill, or if they chronically leave bins and boxes in the same corner, adapt and overcome. Make a bin corner, put broken-down boxes on a shelf, and make a hook for that drill in the spot they always leave.
Remember, you’re organizing your garage! You live here! Embrace the system that works for you, and make it something that will keep working for you. If it looks a little weird but works well, you succeeded.
13. Don’t Plan Other Chores That Day
If you think you’re going to clean out the garage, mow the lawn, make dinner, and wash the dog, you’re probably not getting everything. You’re still human, and cleaning the garage is emotionally and physically intense. It’s okay to set the bar lower.
Garage Cleanout Day is the perfect day to have food delivered, drink a glass of lemonade, and crash on the couch when you’re done. Planning for that, and knowing you don’t have to cook when you’re done, could be the relief from the pressure you need to finish the job.
Remember, you’re not being lazy if you don’t finish all of your chores after cleaning your garage. You’re prioritizing what urgently needs to be done.
Right now, what needs to be done is the garage. Give it the energy it needs, and you won’t need to do this job again for a year! Even better, the job should be more accessible in the future since it will just need dusting and sweeping, not a total overhaul.
If you find that something else on the list can’t be put off, see if you can do it first. Sometimes things come up! That’s part of owning a home, which is how you got a garage.
Give yourself some grace to do that first, then come back to the garage.
14. Order Pizza to Celebrate a Job Well Done
This last item on the list might seem silly, but it’s a helpful step in completing several other things on this list.
First, it means you don’t need to cook a meal. That can make a big difference in how the rest of your day goes and how well you can focus on the garage.
Pizza can be delivered right to your hands when you take a break! You can sit in a lawn chair, have your lunch, put the leftovers in the fridge while you refill your water bottle, and head back to the garage to continue cleaning.
Second, it offers motivation. If cleaning the garage means you get to order a treat that you don’t usually splurge on, it makes cleaning the garage more interesting.
Creating positive associations with cleaning will do good things for your brain. If you need a boost, you can follow up cleaning the garage with a nice shower, fun dinner, or a trip to the movies after you’ve dropped that donation box off at the thrift store!
Rewarding yourself for a job well done is another way to trick your brain into productivity. You’ll have to pass the garbage can, and you’ll be out and about to stop at the thrift store, so why not stop by and drop things off?
You’ve earned that pizza.