Ready to reclaim your garage so you can actually park your car in it? These tips from the organizing experts at Sappari Solutions can help you get started. For more help with organizing, check out this free Sappari seminar coming up on May 24th.
The two most important clutter-busting tips for a garage (or any space) are to remove trash and to keep items off the floor. Doing so will leave room for your car while also making it easier to find things when you need them. Here are some more guidelines for clearing it all out.
- If your garage is large or very full, take out items in sections and stage in a nearby area like the driveway. Only take out what you can handle in the time you have available. If you can empty the garage at once great—but if you can’t, don’t stress over it.
- As you remove items, put them in groups of similar things. For example, group gardening and lawn tools together, then automotive supplies, seasonal décor and items, sporting equipment, etc.
- Once the garage or area of the garage is completely empty, sweep the floor and dust any shelves.
- Go through each group of items and sort into common piles of Keep, Give Away or Trash. If the item is a duplicate or hasn’t been used in over a year, it can go in the Give Away pile. If it is broken or expired, Recycle or Trash it.
Note: Be sure to dispose of toxic items like motor oil, batteries, paint, etc. in an eco-friendly way. Arrange for a dumpster or junk haul service like BumbleJunk to remove Trash and deliver Give Away items to charities as soon as possible. BumbleJunk makes sure everything hauled away is either delivered to a charity or goes to the proper recycling facility. And remember, you can get a tax deduction for what you donate.
- Look at what you’re keeping and consider how and where the items will be stored. Open shelving is the least expensive option and can be easily customized to fit your particular garage. Shelves are also easier to access and let you easily scan what you’ve stored. However, it may be a good safety measure to store certain things in a locked cabinet. Rubbermaid FastTrack is easy to install and very effective for long handled items.
- If you are going to use a ready-made organizing system, you can choose from track or panel systems. See our latest newsletter for a comparison of each kind. [link to email signup] Another idea: Put your old kitchen cabinets to use after a remodel by using them in the garage.
- Storage products that are very helpful in a garage include clear, stackable plastic bins to group similar items together and prevent spills on shelves; pegboard to hang things on the walls; and clear plastic containers to hold smaller things such as screws and bolts.
- Put bulky equipment, like lawn mowers, in corners, where they won’t get bumped or knocked over by your car.
- Place frequently used items like bikes close to the garage door and stash seasonal or rarely used items in the hardest-to-reach spots.
- And don’t forget to look up! Consider installing a ceiling mount pulley system for bikes and drop down ceiling mount storage for seasonal items.
DO play it safe:
- Get a 5- to 10-pound U.L.–listed extinguisher and mount it in an easy-to-access spot. It should carry an ABC rating, certifying that it’s effective against wood, oil, and electrical fires.
- Keep things away from the garage door tracks (sides and top), the travel of the door, the photocells, and the spring system to help prevent issues with the garage door.
DON’T put these items back in your garage:
- Paint. Extreme cold or heat can ruin it.
- Propane. A spark could ignite the fumes.
- Paper Goods. They’re a magnet for bugs.
- Pet Food. Seals on a garage door are not meant to keep, and won’t keep, critters out of the garage. Possums, mice and other critters will sniff out the food.
To keep your garage clean after all your hard work, plan to weed through the belongings in your garage at least once a year, and sell, donate, or toss what you don’t need. Happy organizing!