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How to Clean Out Your Garage

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How to clean out your garage

You spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a house with a garage, and you spent tens of thousands of dollars on your shiny, new car, but for some reason, pounds and pounds of worthless, useless junk always seems to take precedence while your wheels rot in the driveway.

Well, the time for change is now: With the start of 2016, you can finally wrangle your refuse and use your garage for its intended purpose. Believe it or not, the methods for cleaning and organizing your garage are within reach; just follow these eight simple steps, and you’ll be pulling into a garage that feels as new as the New Year.

How to Clean Out Your Garage

1. Set a Schedule

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and your garage probably won’t be sparkling clean in one, either. Depending on the size of your space and the degree of your disorder, your New Year’s resolution could take a weekend or several to complete. By setting a schedule, you will not only have an accurate estimation of when your garage will be spic-and-span, but you can hold yourself accountable for finishing the job you started. I suggest reading the remaining seven steps to figure out when you can get to each phase of organization.

2. Haul Everything Out

You cannot sort and scrub your garage without first knowing what you have in it; therefore, the very first action you take should be to remove all trash and treasure from the space. Ideally, you will temporarily relocate your garage’s contents to a wider, well-lit location, like the front- or backyard, but if the weather is intractable, you can complete the next steps inside your home with the smaller objects. When you have completed this step, you should be able to see every nook and cranny in your garage and reach them with deodorizers, disinfectants, and a sturdy broom.

3. Play a Game

This is the step most people look forward to the least, but if you gamify the activity, it should go by quickly. On your floor, you should mark three distinct areas to place your garage’s stuff — like end zones in football. Then, like a cleaning quarterback, you should toss your trash and treasures to different areas depending on their worth.

Items that are valuable — both practically and sentimentally — should go in the “keep” pile; items only with financial worth — like that boat you never use — can be donated for tax deductions; and everything else you can toss straight in the trash. While you sort, you should trust your gut instinct, but if you notice your “keep” pile dramatically outweighing the items in your other two areas, you might need to call in a second opinion.

4. Make Stacks

Once you have decided once-and-for-all what you will save, you can start organizing. The first step of this phase requires more sorting, so you may choose to complete it while you work on the previous step. Once again sifting through your belongings, you should make smaller piles of different categories of items. For example, all your yard supplies — the rakes, shovels, sheers, and more — should be in one stack, while your holiday decorations should comprise another.

5. Make a Floor Plan

Armed with an estimation of the contents destined for your garage, you can accurately predict how much space to devote to each category. With a to-scale rendering of your space, you can visualize how each group of items will fit in your garage. You should consider grouping similar categories together and keeping often-used tools — like laundry supplies or yard equipment — easily accessible. Beyond that, your garage floor plan is up to you.

6. Remember Vertical Space

Stacking your stuff on the floor is a bad idea; in just a few years’ time, your belongings will be jumbled once again, and you will be forced to endure this torture once more. Instead, you should make use of vertical space to better organize the bits and pieces in your garage.

Cabinets and shelves not only provide more long-term orderliness, but they also expand the storage space of your garage. Additionally, you can hang peg board, cork board, or magnetic board to stash small tools you need at-hand.

7. Love the Label Machine

After this ordeal, you likely know what each and every box in your garage contains — but will you remember with such detail in a year’s time? To ensure against forgetfulness, you should spend some time labeling absolutely everything, from the closed boxes to the open shelves. Not only will this help you find the items you need with record speed, but it will help you maintain your organization system as the years wear on.

8. Enjoy the Emptiness

This final step is an easy one: All you have to do is roll up the garage door, let the sunlight reflect of the shiny, clean concrete, and feel satisfied with your gorgeous garage!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Cher Zavala is a freelance writer who touches on various topics and niches that relate to her everyday life. In addition to writing in her free time she also enjoys traveling and getting to know the world around her. Over the years she has built up many strong relationships within the blogging community and loves sharing her useful tips with others. Email: cher (at) seekvisability (dot) com