Many people wish they could get some use out of the space in their garages, but they feel overwhelmed just thinking about tackling the mess waiting for them.
If you’re in the same situation or you’ve done a big spring cleaning, only to have your garage succumb to clutter all over again, you need to employ some long-term thinking to this project. Cleaning your garage isn’t just about the before-and-after transformation. If you want to keep your garage keep, you need to use a healthy combination of imagination and logical thinking.
If you want to have your big garage cleanout be a one-and-done project, keep reading to learn how you can simplify your garage organization and make it easier to get clean and stay clean for the long-term.
Don’t Rush the Process
If you want your organized, spotless garage to stay that way, you need to take your time. Instead of planning to finish your garage makeover in a single afternoon, give yourself an appropriate amount of time to implement some key organization techniques.
If you want to find garage storage options that can make your life easier, you first need to know what you’re working with. For that, it’s important you break down this project so you can have reasonable expectations of how long it will take and what you’ll need to do the job right.
Make the Project Manageable:
Opening up your garage and realizing that you have to carefully sit through the mess you might have taken years to accumulate can seem daunting. But don’t let that dread or lack of enthusiasm let you walk away from this project and say, “next time,” yet again.
Instead of feeling overwhelmed by focusing on the end goal, make organizing your garage manageable by breaking it down into simplified tasks.
If you can, ask for help from family or friends, too. The less stressful you make this task, the less likely you are to rushing through and not doing a thorough job that will save you time and frustration in the future.
The first task should always be to clear out the space you want to work with and sorting through everything elsewhere, whether it be outside your home or in another room. Try breaking up each stage of the clean-up into tasks that have a clear end in sight. Once you have your garage emptied, you can divide sorting through the objects by container or by type of object.
Although this way might stretch the process out, you’re certain to have a better end result and to spare your sanity at the same time.
Bring the Right Tools
You don’t want to have to stop and start once you get going, so be sure to start off on the right foot by preparing for this project with the right tools.
Who knows what you’ll find from years past, but one’s things for certain: it’ll be dusty. Make sure that you have the durable cleaning or working gloves for hauling around your more neglecting, dirty belongings. Go with the studier option if you anticipate moving more tools, hardware, and sporting equipment, as any metal part may have some rust.
Clear Out What You’re Not Keeping First
When sorting your belongings, you should have three piles: Keep, Discard, and Donate. Earlier in the process, you might have some “maybes” you need to set aside, think about, or ask a family member for input on, but make sure not to be to whishy-washy and progress quickly.
Once you sorted through everything, take everything from your discard pile and throw it away and put “donate” on your to-do list. Don’t even look at your newly emptied garage until you’ve done so, because we all have a way of putting off easy but inconvenient tasks.
If you want your garage to stay clutter-free, it’s important not to stay in the habit of letting unused, unwanted items linger in your home. If you do, you’ll end up placing it right back in your garage to deal with “later” and end up right back where you started.
Make Sure to Group Your Belongings
Now that you’re left with the belongings you’re keeping, don’t start moving things back into the garage just yet. Start grouping items that logically go together.
Keep in mind how you use these items, as well as what uses you’d like to get out of your garage that you couldn’t before. The more thoroughly you apply yourself to this stage, the easier planning what organization and storage products and layout you need will be in the next.
Organize Your Storage Layout to Maximize Accessibility
Now that you know how you’re going to group everything, you can begin planning where everything will actually go, deciding what will need to go in the garage and what might need to be kept elsewhere. For each category, look at what kinds of objects need storage and start to develop a layout that will allow you to easily access what you use most frequently.
For things you reach for frequently, consider using open storage racks, wire baskets, or floating shelves. Using accessible, vertically stacked storage with free up floor space and help keep your garage logically organized because you won’t have to undo everything every time you need to grab something you use on a weekly basis.
Prioritize Making Usable Space
Once you start putting items and storage options into place, make room for usable space in your garage. Having areas that serve convenient functions for your home will motivate you and your family members to maintain the cleanliness of your garage.
Making a mini-mud-room out of the part of your garage that leads into or towards your home, for example, can serve a great dual function. Having an area where you can clean off, leave your shoes, and hang wet coats before going into the house will help keep your home, which incentivizes you to keep your garage clean, too.
Plan to Maintain All Your Hard Work
After all that effort, it might seem unfair that there’s more to do, but this next stage might be the most important step of all.
If you want to keep your garage clean for good, figure out what kinds of routine maintenance can make manageable efforts to maintain your organization that fits into your lifestyle. The more consistently you keep your garage clutter-free, the more normal and part of your routine it will become until you can’t even remember when you did anything else.
It doesn’t have to daily, weekly, or even monthly, but if you make sure to remove any trash or unwanted items on a regular, you can stop accumulating junk from becoming a seemingly insurmountable mountain in your garage ever again.