How to Clean and Organize Your GarageNovember 5, 2009 by Blair
Filed Under Organizing
by Blair Massey
The garage is a great place to put things that just don’t belong in the house. It’s the place to store bicycles, gardening supplies, tools, sports equipment, the kiddie pool, the lawn mower and of course the car.
Sometimes, though, the garage becomes a dumping ground for things we don’t know what to do with. We tend to stash things there thinking that we will eventually find a home for them later. Unfortunately, unless the garage is properly organized, once something ends up there it tends to stay there, never to be seen again.
In some cases there is so much stuff in the garage that we have to park our car on the street. If this is how your garage looks, it’s time to grab a broom and follow these steps to cleaning and organizing your garage.
Supplies: 2 or 3 large kitchen trash bags, 4 or 5 large sturdy boxes and a broom.
1. Remove everything that is on the floor (including the car).
2. Sweep out the garage. Don’t forget to clean any cob webs from the windows.
3. Next, sort through everything. As you go through each item, decide if you need to throw it away, put it in another location, give it away or store it.
If it is broken, worn out, used up or useless, toss it in a garbage bag. Discard any old paint, pesticides, and fertilizers. Call your local disposal company or county for locations that take paint and other toxic materials.
If it is an item to be given away, mark one of the boxes “Give Away” and put the item in that box. One way to decide whether you need to keep something is to ask yourself if you used it at least once last year. If you didn’t, give it to a charity or someone who can use it. Don’t be sentimental. Only keep what you are really going to use. Of course you should keep items that are rarely used if they are for an emergency, such as jumper cables or if they are used once a year as with tree pruners and artificial Christmas trees.
If you have items that you would like to sell, mark a box “Sell” and put the items in that box. I want to caution you that unless you are really going to follow through with having a garage sale or selling these items online, you might want to just donate them. Many people have good intentions when they save things for a garage sale, however most people never get around to doing what it takes to have a sale. Don’t hang onto things you that you might sell “someday”. That someday will probably never come. Be generous and bless those that can use your unwanted items by giving them away.
If you have items that will go back into the house or borrowed items that need to be returned, mark one of the boxes “Return” and the other “House”, then put the items into one of these boxes. You can drop them off when you are done with this organizing project.
Put all the items you want to keep in a separate area of the garage. If you are storing items to be reused at a later date such as baby clothes, then you might want to consider relocating them to an indoor location that is dry and pest free.
When you are finished with this step, put the “give away” items in your car and take them to the nearest donation center. Put the “return” items in your car and return them.
Take the “house” items into the house and find a place for them. Don’t put the box in a closet or room thinking that you will get to it sometime. You know that won’t happen. Find homes for each item now. If you can’t find a home for something, you may want to donate it or give it away.
Put the garbage bags in the trash can and take toxic material to the proper disposal facility.
4. Getting Organized.
This is the step where you put back everything you are keeping. The only difference is that this time you will be organizing your garage into the following functional stations. These stations are groupings of related items.
Gardening and Paint
Make sure that children do not have access to weed killers, pesticides and other toxic chemicals locking them up or storing them up high.
Store small gardening tools on peg boards.
Store potting soil in a five-gallon plastic bucket with a lid.
Store pots, grouped by size on shelves.
Fill a large plastic garbage can 1/3 full with sand mixed with one quart of clean car oil. Place the metal end of your shovel, hoe and pitch fork in this container. The oil will keep them from rusting. Keep a wire brush nearby for cleaning off stubborn dirt.
Secure the lids to paint cans then store them upside down to prevent the paint from drying out. Clearly label them with the room where the paint was used, the color name and a dab of the paint color.
Hang up as many tools as possible on a peg board. The more you get off the floor the more room you will have.
If you have a work bench but not enough space to hold tools, consider mounting your tools on a peg board just above your work bench. You can also install a shelf above your work bench to hold drills, and other small equipment. To store very small items, try nailing the lids to jars under a shelf and then screw the jars into the lids. These make great places to store nails, screws, nut, bolts, washers, tacks, and staples.
Wall mounted paper towel holders are a great way to store rolls of tape. Just place your tape on a dowel and put the dowel into the holder.
Place car care items and miscellaneous items on shelves in clearly labeled boxes or bins.
This area is where you store your lawn mower, weed trimmer, hand tiller and other pieces of equipment. Use peg boards with heavy duty hooks and bike racks to hang smaller equipment and ladders.
Store skis, golf clubs, and other tall pieces of equipment in a tall plastic trash container or hang horizontally on the wall.
Put balls in a mesh bag and hang on the wall.
Cleaning and organizing the garage takes time and effort but the rewards are great. Once you are done, you will have a space that is functional and easy to maintain. Best of all you will be able to open your garage door with pride. No more feeling embarrassed when the neighbors walk by!
WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR EZINE OR WEB SITE? You can, as long as you include the entire following resource information at the end of the article and make the link back to our site live:
© 2002 – 2009 Blair Massey
Christian Lifestyle expert Blair Massey is devoted to helping Christian women around the world organize and manage their home, family and life. If you’re tired of struggling to keep up at home, Blair will show you how to unlock your God-given organizing ability so that you can start living the amazing life that God created you to enjoy! To learn how, sign up for her FREE newsletter now at www.christian-homemaking.com