Having a neat and clean garage can go a long way. If you would like to figure out how to get rid of clutter, you should click here.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, 25 percent of people with a two-car garage can’t park even one car in it because of all the clutter. Most of that clutter is worth little or nothing but cars worth tens of thousands of dollars sit outside on the driveway or road.
If that sounds a bit too familiar, you might be part of that 25 percent. Let’s look at how to get rid of clutter in your garage so you can use it for its intended purpose.
Remove Everything from Your Garage
The first step toward having a neat garage is to pull everything out of it. It’s hard to sort through the clutter when you’re surrounded by a bunch more of it.
If you don’t have the space to pull everything out at once, split the garage into sections and clear them out one-by-one. Weather permitting, pull everything onto your driveway or yard so you can spread it out to see what’s there more easily.
The easiest way to attack the mess is to work from the outside in. This ensures you have access to the garage door as you go.
Decide What You Want to Keep
Before you start sorting through all the stuff you pulled out, decide how you’re going to choose what to keep.
Do you only want things that are useful to you or do you want to hang onto old memories? Will you keep something that might be useful “someday” or does it have to have current value?
Having some criteria in mind for deciding what to keep and what to get rid of will make it easier when you’re looking at each item.
Separate Everything Into Three Piles
Once you have some ground rules for deciding what to do with each item, start separating everything into three piles:
- Sell or donate
- Throw out
When you separate everything, put each pile in a spot that makes the most sense. For example, your keep pile should be relatively close to the garage since it’s going back into it while your donate pile should be close to where it will get picked up.
The “keep” pile should be self-explanatory — these are the items you want to keep. They’re going to go back into the garage once the de-cluttering process is finished or somewhere else if that’s more appropriate.
Just make sure you’re not keeping too many things. If most of the stuff goes back in the garage after this process, it might be neater but it’s going to get cluttered again pretty quickly.
2. Sell or Donate
Next, decide what you want to sell or donate.
This pile should be things that are still useful and in good working order. It’s hard to sell anything that’s not working or isn’t worth bothering with and organizations that accept donations don’t want those kinds of things either.
If you have some older stuff in your garage that you think might be valuable, check eBay to see if other people have sold the same types of things. This will give you a reasonable idea of the value and whether it’s worth the time and effort of trying to sell it.
3. Throw Out
Finally, decide what you’re going to throw away. If it has no value to you and isn’t likely to be useful for anyone else, it’s better to throw it out now than to hang onto it “just in case.”
Common Items Found in Garages That You Should Throw Out
There are a few common things in garages that you should throw away without a second thought, including:
- Broken items
- Empty boxes for products that are past their warranty
- Old paint and chemicals (check your local bylaws for the proper way to dispose of these)
If you have any boxes stacked in your garage that haven’t been opened in years, it’s likely you don’t need anything in them. You could throw them out without even looking inside but if that’s outside your comfort zone, at least go through everything in them.
Renovate or Refinish While the Garage is Empty
If you want to do some upgrades to your garage, the clutter removal process is a good time to do it. There’s no sense in putting everything back, only to have to pull it all back out again.
You can paint, refinish the garage floor, build an add-on, or do various other things to increase the utility of your garage. Setting up a good organizational system is another valuable upgrade.
Set Up a Good Organizational System
Even if you get rid of a lot of the clutter that was in your garage when you started the clean-up, it will gradually get messy again if you don’t have an effective way to store everything.
Before putting everything back, think about how you want to store it. Are some shelves with plastic containers enough to manage everything? Or should you look at installing a more flexible storage system?
You might want to install cabinets along one or more walls, for example. Or install storage bins for certain types of equipment, such as sports gear or camping supplies.
You can also take advantage of ceiling and wall space by installing hanging storage for things like bicycles and garden tools.
Look for ways to make the most of the space around the outside of your garage so you can use the main section for its intended purposes — parking your car.
Where to Turn for Help With How to Get Rid of Clutter
Knowing how to get rid of clutter in your garage is one part of the process but finding the time to take action is another thing. If you want professional help getting your garage under control, Garage Harmony is here for you.