It’s that time of year again. The leaves are falling, the temperatures are dropping, and you’re probably thinking about all the things you need to do to get your home ready for winter. One of the most important tasks on your list should be cleaning out your garage.
While it may seem like a daunting task, we promise it’s not as bad as it seems. In fact, we’ve broken it down into 10 easy steps to make the process as painless as possible.
1. Make a game plan
Before you start shoving everything willy-nilly into boxes or tossing everything into the dumpster, it’s important to take a few minutes to assess what you have and what you need to get rid of. Do you have any holiday decorations that can be stored elsewhere? Any sports equipment that your kids have outgrown? Any tools that you never use? Once you have a good understanding of what needs to go, you can start sorting everything into piles.
2. Sort through everything
Now it’s time to start sorting through everything in your garage. This is where having a plan comes in handy because it will help you decide what goes and what stays. As you’re sorting, keep in mind that anything that is broken or that you haven’t used in years can probably be thrown away or donated.
3. Deep clean
Once you’ve sorted through everything and gotten rid of what you don’t need, it’s time for a deep clean. This is where you’ll really be able to see all the potential your garage has! Start by sweeping and mopping the floors. Then, wipe down all the surfaces and wash any windows that need it. Don’t forget to dust those high corners too!
4. Rent a dumpster
This is especially important if you have a lot of large items that you need to get rid of, such as old furniture or appliances. Not only will renting a dumpster save you countless trips to the dump, but it will also make the whole process a whole lot less stressful. Just be sure to call ahead and reserve your dumpster well in advance — they tend to fill up fast!
5. Donate, donate, donate
One man’s junk is another man’s treasure, so before you start throwing things away, see if there’s anything that someone else could use. Old clothes, toys, and books can all be donated to local charities. And if you have any gently used furniture or appliances, there are always people looking for those on websites like Craigslist or Freecycle.
6. Recycle items that can be recycled
Many items that are commonly thrown away can actually be recycled. For example, most types of plastic can be recycled, as well as glass and metal. Before throwing something away, check to see if it can be recycled.
7. Organize what’s left
Once you’ve sorted through everything and gotten rid of what you don’t need, it’s time to start organizing what’s left. If possible, invest in some heavy-duty shelving units so that everything has a place and can be easily accessed when needed. And if you have any toxic chemicals or flammable liquids, be sure to store them in a safe place where they won’t pose a danger to your family or your home.
8. Install some pegboard on the walls
Pegboard is great for hanging up tools, garden equipment, bicycles, and just about anything else imaginable — and it’s an inexpensive way to make better use of all that empty wall space.
9. Invest in some shelves or bins so items are off the floor and easy to access.
You can find shelving units and bins at just about any hardware or home store, and they’re a great way to keep your garage organized and tidy. Plus, when everything is off the floor, it’s much easier to clean.
10. Store seasonal items in storage containers.
If you have any seasonal items that you only use for part of the year, it’s best to store them in storage containers. This will help to keep your garage organized and free up space for other things. Be sure to label the containers so that you know what’s inside them.
A tidy garage can make all the difference in how organized and functional your home feels — not to mention it can help boost your home’s curb appeal if you ever decide to sell. So this spring, take some time to give your garage a good cleaning! With these tips in mind, you should be able to power through the job in no time flat.