The seven step plan to take back your garage and keep it organized!
What do you see when you open your garage door?
Is there a car in there?
But if you’re like most people there’s actually a whole lot more to your garage than just a space to store the car.
It’s filled to the rafters with lots of stuff that has no where else to go.
Paint cans, holiday decorations, and tools. Lots of tools. It’s also the dumping ground for old toys (when’s the last time you really played badminton anyway?).
Who knows what else is hidden behind that big roll-up door. There’s a lot of stuff crammed into that space.
Along with all that clutter?
It’s the mosh-pit of misery out there.
That’s because even though the garage is a very useful space, it’s one you tend to overlook. Whether it’s attached or detached doesn’t really matter.
You mostly just shove stuff in there, close the door, and don’t look back. Just keep doing it. Over and over.
So when’s the last time you cleaned out your garage?
I’m guessing probably the day before never.
Or the last time you moved.
I get it, it’s one of those things on your to do list. You’ll eventually get around to it. But, well, you know, out of sight out of mind.
Chances are you’re in your garage so infrequently that if you’re like most people you probably give ourself a mental shake, make a note to get around to cleaning it out, get in your car (or grab that box you came in for), and run away.
It feels like a black hole out there.
But there is a solution.
National Garage Clean Out Day.
Nope, not making that up. It’s a real thing.
When is it? (I hear you cry). Actually it’s coming up soon.
The first weekend after Labor Day.
National Garage Clean Out Day is a great way for you to take back control of the chaos and actually, you know, be able to find stuff.
Plus you’ll finally get rid of all those cobwebs. #notafanofspiders
At this point, you’re probably thinking about your garage. You may be afraid to even go out there and look at it. Then you’re saying, “Stephen, that sounds great but I don’t even know where to start.” No worries, I’ve got you covered.
Here’s your seven-step plan on how to take back your garage:
Clean those windows – If you’ve got windows, start by cleaning them with my amazing non-toxic, streak free window cleaner and let in the light! After all it’s much better if you can see what you’re working on.
Sort first, then organize – Take everything out of the garage. Yup, all of it. Hey, I didn’t say this was going to be quick, but I promise, it IS going to be worth it.
Put everything into piles according to what type of item they are: holidays, toys, yard tools, sports equipment (hey! Badminton birdies!), paint, etc.
More Piles! – Go through each pile one at a time and move items over to create three new piles, Eliminate, Donate, and Keep.
You may be thinking that it’s easier to go through everything in that huge messy garage and start with the Eliminate, Donate, Keep thing.
I actually talked with a professional organizer and she told me that your brain makes better decisions when you’re going through a pile of like items.
That’s why you sort first THEN organize.
Now that you know what you’re looking at, eliminate items can get pitched straight into the garbage can.*
The Donate pile is pretty easy to deal with too (you’ll probably discover that you don’t need 4 hand trowels).
Everything in this pile goes into boxes and into the back of your car. That’s so you will actually take it to the charity shop a.s.a.p.
If you leave it in the garage…we all know what’s gonna happen.
Don’t worry, we will get to that keep pile in a little bit.
Clean Up. Grab a broom, a stable broom is best if you happen to have one, and sweep all that dirt and grime outta there. Use a duster cloth and get rid of those cobwebs! Dust the shelves,
you’re on a mission here, clear it all out.
Prep Your Space My incredible everyday cleaner is the best all-purpose non-toxic cleaner you’ve ever seen.
Good for walls, floors, doors, clean it all! And while you’re at it don’t forget some degreaser to get those oil stains out of the floor (PS it also works non-toxic wonders on chainsaw chains, bicycle chains, engine blocks, and grease guns).
5.A. Optional but totally worth it…this is a great time to repaint those walls and possibly even consider putting down some of that fancy garage floor stuff.
Yes, I know, it’s a lot of work, but think how amazing your garage is going to look.
Zone out! This is the part where you get to create zones in your garage so things that belong together can be stored together. Figure out where the tools go, where the holiday decorations belong, create space for gardening gadgets, you get the idea. Once you’ve identified the space, put it all away! **
Smile! – Step back and look at how fabulous your garage is. I mean it hasn’t looked this good in a long while.
Chances are the neighbors are going to be soooo jelly when they see your garage. Just smile and share this 7 step plan with them so they can smile too!
- Paint, oil, and other chemicals cannot be thrown in the trash. Check out Earth911.com to find a hazardous waste drop-off site near you.
** According to studies nearly 60 percent of us keep dangerous or flammable items in the garage. Make sure these things are up high, out of reach of small children.