Is cleaning your garage one of the items on your to-do list this summer? Are you putting it off cause you’re just not sure where to start and you feel like it is going to take you the whole darn summer just to complete it? I hear you, my friend. Stay tuned cuz we’re here to help break it down into manageable chunks so you can put a big ‘ol fat checkmark in the done box and it is going to feel oh so good!
First things first, go through with a garbage bag and get rid of anything that is trash. I am not talking about sorting and deciding what items you keep and what you will get rid of, I am strictly referring to actual garbage. Take around 30 min and just do a surface level swipe through to get the trash outta there so you can better navigate the space and focus on the items you need to organize. This step can be done on a rainy day so you don’t miss out on any fun summer activities, however, you’ll want to make sure for the next step you have a couple of days of dry weather since you’ll potentially need to start pulling stuff out to organize & sort.
Now that you’ve made some progress, let’s keep the momentum going! Next, begin to pile items into categories. For example, gardening stuff, camping gear, sports and recreational equipment, tools, painting tools, etc. Make a miscellaneous pile as well. These items can be things you’re not sure you want to keep, but also items that could potentially be stored elsewhere. For the purpose of making progress, you don’t have to think too hard about this pile…yet. Simply, set it aside for now so you can deal with the bulk of the items that you know need to have a home in the garage.
It might be helpful to grab a couple of cardboard boxes of varying sizes as you are sorting to help group and contain smaller items that are laying around like screws, paintbrushes, sandpaper, etc. Don’t rush into purchasing storage bins quite yet until you have this step completed. This way you will be better able to assess the size and sturdiness of the container needed once you have items grouped together in piles.
I think it goes without saying, but the less you have in your garage the better and more organized it will be! If you can try to get rid of or donate anything that doesn’t fit into your sorting categories this will help free up space and make your garage feel less cluttered. If you know this is something you struggle with perhaps enlist the help of a friend or family member that can help you go through your pile of miscellaneous items and pare it down. Or you can ask yourself a few simple questions:
- Do I use this regularly or plan to in the near future? If you haven’t in the last 6 months, with the exception of seasonal items, chances are you probably don’t need it.
- Does the item bring you joy? If it makes you feel guilty, sad, inadequate, etc it likely doesn’t deserve a spot in your home.
- Is the item worth the time/space/energy it takes up in your life? Everything we own requires our time and energy. We spend our money on it, spend our time caring for it, maintaining it, and storing it, therefore each item we decide to keep should be adding some kind of value to our lives.
Whew! Now that the hard part is done it’s time to figure out the best layout to organize everything back into the garage. It might be helpful to grab some graph paper to sketch out your layout plan and to take notes on any pegboards, hooks, shelves, slatwalls, track systems, cabinets, or organizational bins you might need to purchase to maximize your available space. Deciding how to best organize your stuff can be a challenging task, but can easily be achieved if you really use your vertical space wisely and really aim to get things off the floor and onto a shelf or some sort of hanging system. One quick tip, try to avoid using too many DIY garage organization hacks. Don’t get me wrong there are some good ideas out there, but some ideas can end up really being an eyesore.
Remember to place things within easy reach of where they will be used. For example, tools near the tool bench or sports equipment and outdoor toys in a storage bin low enough for kids to reach. Don’t forget to take advantage of overhead space for seasonal items if needed, as well. Keep the items you need to access regularly at eye level so it’s easy to grab and stuff you don’t reach for regularly store overhead or on a higher shelf so it’s out of the way!
Once you’ve relocated all your items into their new home in the garage you might think your work is done! Hang tight, there are a couple more things you’ll want to do to ensure that all your hard work wasn’t wasted time and energy.
First, label bins and shelves as much as possible to make it really easy for everyone in your household to know where things go so they can be put away after use. If you are using a pegboard system it might be a good idea once you have all your items hung to outline them so it is easy to know where to put them away and everything stays organized.
Lastly, set an organizing or cleaning schedule. Ideally, everything would find its way back to its place after use, but that is just not reality. Just like inside your home, it is going to take some type of maintenance schedule to keep this space tidy & clean. How often you use the space for projects or use the items within it will determine how often it might need a little upkeep. We’d recommend setting an alarm on your calendar to do this. Let’s face it, if you don’t put a reminder in your calendar it is likely not going to happen.
We hope this post has helped take the overwhelm out of organizing the garage and given you a plan or at least a place to start! Now, crank up the volume on one of your favorite playlists, roll up your sleeves, and get to work!