Cleaning out your garage has most likely not been on the top of your priority list. Things such as removing the lint from your dryer, searching for better auto insurance, and deciding whether you should change your dog’s food has been higher on your priorities. However, there are some great benefits to cleaning out your garage that can make your life easier. Here are some valuable tips on how to get started!
1. Make an Unbreakable Date
You make dates to get your teeth cleaned, your car detailed, and your dry cleaning done. Make one with yourself for cleaning out your garage. Set a time when you have no other responsibilities for the day - no babysitting, no dates, nothing but you communing with your neglected carport. Once you have decided on the date, keep it, and be committed to the job at hand. After all, shouldn’t the dates you make with yourself, regardless of the cause, be the most important?
2. Make a Plan and a Chart
Cleaning out your garage can seem like a simple proposition. Just throw away the useless things and re-arrange the rest, right? You have just underestimated the task at hand, but you can do it! Make a chart of how the day will flow, how much time you will devote to each phase of the project: deconstruction of the garage, sorting into piles, re-construction, and the Letting Go. All have a certain emotional component to them as well, which should be honored. There may be things in the garage from your beloved grandmother, your pet of long ago, or even yourself of years gone by. This pulling of the heart strings will take some extra willpower to control, so stay strong. Once the chart is complete, the sense of satisfaction from checking off each completed item cannot be overstated. Now you just need to keep the momentum going until the end!
3. Shelves and Hooks and Tubs Oh My!
Before you begin your formidable task, make sure you have an idea of how you would like your garage to ultimately be organized. If you think you would like everything in tubs, imagine how you will get to the bottom tub when needed. Perhaps the best idea is to also have some metal shelves for the tubs to sit on, for easier access. You want bike rack hooks, but what kind? Do you have enough room overhead in your garage for the ceiling version? Do you have enough width for the side version? Is your drill charged and ready to go? Do you have enough nails and screws for the hardware you’ve bought? Do you have tubs of all different sizes for the varying things they will hold, from nuts and bolts to lawn decorations? These considerations are a weekend job all of their own, preferably taken care of a week or two before the actual Big Push.
4. Pull It All out
The day is finally here to start the transformation. Instead of trying to rearrange things in the space, pull everything out of the garage so that you have a blank canvas with which to work. Do you remember the day you moved in, and how full of possibility your garage looked? Now it just looks full. Starting with an empty garage will make the task of putting everything in its place so much easier. Seeing a significant chunk of your worldly belongings splayed all over your driveway and lawn is also great motivation to get things tidied up and behind closed overhead doors ASAP!
5. Put a Label on It
While it’s on the driveway or lawn, make three distinct piles: Throw Away, Give Away, and Keep. Make sure the Throw Away pile is divided into what can be recycled, and what cannot. If you have old paint, oil cans, or other chemicals, contact your local sanitation department as to where these should be taken. They shouldn’t be thrown away with regular trash, and in many places, it’s illegal to do so. Mark the top and a few sides of each tub with what will go in there (bird feeders, plant pots, outdoor Christmas lights, electrical tools, etc.) so you can see the labels without opening the lids. This will save you time when you look in your brand new (looking) garage for things the next time.
6. Keep the Receipts
Sometimes things don’t go as planned in the world of organizing and reinventing. Keep the receipts in case you really didn’t need the third push broom you thought was a good idea in the moment, or perhaps the brackets you bought for the homemade shelf were 3” wider than the shelf itself. It happens, and with receipts, can be re-done. You may want to check return policies as you are buying the goods for The Project, however.
7. Garage Sale Anyone?
Why does it make sense to sell the things you don’t want to keep anymore for pennies on the dollar? Because garage sale-ing is a national obsession! Your trash could absolutely be someone else’s treasure. Those pennies, by the way, could easily add up to enough to cover the costs involved with the tubs, buckets, and doo-hickies you bought to organize your spanking new-ish garage. Try to have the sale on the same weekend as the Big Push, so that when the weekend is over, the trash will be at the dump or in the recycling bin; the saved items are snuggled in their new tub homes in your garage, and the unneeded items have been carried away by their new owners or have been taken to a second hand store. As a matter of fact, those donations could also be a tax write-off if you. Save the receipt you’ll get from giving them.
Cleaning out your garage is a challenging task not meant for the light-hearted. But once completed, the inner sense of peace you’ll have knowing that you can find what you’re looking for in the former abyss is bliss. Not to mention, you’ll no longer be wearing the shades of shame every time your garage door opens! What’s the best tip you have for someone who wants to clean out their garage space?