There are countless benefits of owning a garage. Not only does it provide you with a space to keep your vehicles safe from harmful elements, but it can also serve as a valuable place for storing things like tools and equipment. And although there are undoubtedly advantages to having a garage, these big, open spaces are often prone to attract clutter and get disorganized quickly.
With these three tips, you can clean and organize your garage to ensure that you make the most of this space and utilize it in the best way possible.
1. Purge Your Belongings
The first step in getting your garage in tip-top shape is to take out all of your belongings and completely empty the space. Not only will this help you get rid of things you don’t use anymore, but it’s also the best way to take inventory of your belongings. Keep an open mind about what can be given or thrown away. As a general rule of thumb, if you haven’t used a tool or piece of equipment in the last year, chances are you probably don’t need it anymore.
This is also a great opportunity to start categorizing your belongings so that, when it comes time to put things back, you’ll have a general idea of where things can go in the garage and what should be relocated. Some items that don’t belong in the garage include:
Paint: Store paint in a temperate location. The extreme cold or heat of a garage can quickly ruin paint.
Propane: Keep all propane tanks outdoors and away from wood siding to prevent small sparks from starting a big problem.
Paper goods: Paper products tend to get moldy and soggy in a very short amount of time and are also a safe-haven for roaches and other bugs. Keep paper goods inside.
Refrigerator: Consider relocating your fridge or freezer if your garage isn’t air-conditioned as they will only drive up your energy bill if your garage isn’t temperature regulated.
Pet food: Pet food is a magnet for possums, rats, mice, and other critters. Instead of the garage, keep pet food in an airtight container inside your home.
Though this process takes time, it’s worth it when you have an organized, functionable garage in the end.
2. Do a Deep Clean
Once you’ve got all of your belongings out of the garage, it’s time to give the space a thorough cleaning. Rent a concrete degreaser or pressure washer, or invest in a hard-bristled deck brush to effectively clean the garage floor. If you have painted garage walls, you can also make a simple, quick cleaning solution of warm water and a bit of liquid dishwashing detergent and give them a good scrub.
You should also clean the items that are going back into your garage. Use a hose to spray off items that can withstand water and use a wet rag to wipe down the rest. Again, though this may seem like a tedious task, you’ll thank yourself when you go to return items to the garage and aren’t putting back muddy equipment, dirty tools, and dusty storage boxes.
3. Make a Plan
By making a floor plan ahead of time, you’ll find that creating an effective, organized space is much quicker and easier. Start by measuring all of your garage’s dimensions and make a note of where all the doors, windows, switches, outlets, and receptacles are. If you intend on using your garage as a place to park your car, you should also make sure you know just how much space it will take up.
From here, it’s time to make a plan of where things are going to go. By installing a customizable garage organization system, you can develop a functional lay-out with access to all of your tools and equipment. Store similar items together such as lawn chemicals, gardening tools, etc. From here, you can make a note of where things will go. Put big items like lawn mowers and grills in out-of-the-way locations so they won’t get in the way of the car, and give frequently used items a place close to the garage door so you don’t have to dig through clutter to access them. Dedicate an out-of-the-way place to store seasonal and other rarely-used items.
Lastly, when making your plan, try hard to keep things off the ground. Use hooks and hangers for things like bikes, shovels, hoses, rakes, and ladders, and put sporting equipment in hanging baskets. Shelving units are ideal for things like ski gear, shoes, golf clubs, and storage boxes, and cabinets provide protection for items you don’t want out in the open.
About the Author: Hayden Beck is a freelance writer who writes for a variety of publications including Flow Wall. When not working, you can find Hayden hiking with his dog or spending time with friends.