Warm weather is finally here, and that means it’s time to do some spring cleaning! While you may have already tackled your home’s interior, there is one spot in our homes that we all tend to put off cleaning: the garage. If you’re anything like us, then your garage is the catch-all place for items we don’t really know where to store. This includes everything from cars and pool toys to sports equipment and power tools. If your garage has gotten a little out of control, then here’s what you need to do to get it organized in a jiffy.
Gather your supplies
First things first — gather the supplies you’re going to need to tackle your garage cleaning. This includes large trash bags, a broom or vacuum, and a few boxes or tubs to stash odds and ends while you organize.
Clear everything out and clean
While this may seem like a big job, you’ll be glad you took the extra effort. You should start by designating areas, preferably in your driveway, for three piles: Keep, toss, and donate. Then begin in one area of your garage and methodically work through the whole space. Use the broom or vacuum to clean as you go, and remove items and place them in their respective spots in the driveway. Keep an eye out for loose nails on the floor as well as evidence of creatures that may be living in your garage, such as spiders, bats, or birds. When you finish you can place items in the trash that you’ve put in the toss pile (being careful to handle hazardous waste appropriately). Box up items that are in your donate pile and make a plan to have them removed.
Organize what is left into zones
Once you’ve addressed the toss and donate piles, you can turn your attention to the items that you want to keep. Chances are, you’ll have a wide variety of items from screws and nails to recycling bins. Experts suggest organizing your garage into zones for each of these types of items. Think of your garage as a store, and designate departments like “garden”, “tools”, “sports equipment”, and so on. Once you’ve figured out your zones, sort your “keep” pile into them. This will give you an idea of how much space you’ll need in the garage for each zone.
Plan your storage
Look at your garage and determine how best to store each of your zones. Start by using what you already have, and make sure hazardous items are out of reach. Don’t be afraid to use vertical storage, like pegboards, to store items such as tools or garden equipment. If needed, purchase inexpensive shelves to complete your storage or splurge on a more complete storage system.
The best way to have an organized garage is to regularly maintain your storage systems. Sweep or vacuum periodically to keep dust and dirt at bay. Make sure to put items back where they belong when you’re finished using them. As new items come in, create storage areas for them, and plan to reorganize what you have about twice a year. Keeping your garage clean and organized will help you maximize your storage space and get the best use of this tricky space.