We don’t want to throw around words like “black hole,” but when was the last time you could easily find anything stored in your garage? Do you even know what’s in it? If you aren’t sure, it’s time for a little (possibly a lot of) spring cleaning. Overwhelmed at the thought? Don’t be. Just follow these 10 steps:
Start With a Plan
Before you start, plan. Are you thinking of installing a garage organization system or just weeding through years of accumulated stuff? Your goals dictate how you should proceed. Create a to-do list with an estimate of how much time you expect to spend on each item. Then double it. Clearing the garage is hard work.
Hit the home improvement store before you start. Make sure you have all the shelving bins, racks and other items you will need so you won’t have to go to the store halfway through the process. You may also need heavy duty trash bags, a broom or shop vac and degreasers.
Set Aside Time
As we mentioned before, tackling the garage is a big job. You might be able to do it all in one day — if it’s small or you regularly clean it — but it will most likely take the weekend. Clear your calendar, create a garage cleaning playlist and enlist some helpers.
Divide Your Driveway
Where are you going to put the things you take out of the garage? Your driveway. Use chalk or tarps to divide it into de-cluttering zones. Set aside spaces for things you want to keep, donate or toss. If your driveway won’t hold everything (scary thought), start in one of corner of the garage and work your way forward, organizing as you go along.
Sorting Your Stuff
Sorting is hard. After all, you wouldn’t have put your stuff in the garage if you didn’t think you would need it someday. Heirlooms and items of sentimental value probably shouldn’t be stored in the garage where they can get damaged. Find them a new home in your house. Keeping stuff for your now adult children? Let them store it in their own garages. Anything with a layer of dust an inch thick or covered in cobwebs can probably go. You obviously never use it.
Clean and Finish Your Garage
Give your now empty garage some love. Sweep it out and power wash the floor. Check any shelves and wracks for damage. If you’ve been thinking of finishing your garage now is the time. Coat the floor with a water and stain-resistant material called polyurea. Install cabinets and shelves or have a contractor do it for you.
You don’t want to store things on the floor. Rodents can easily chew their way into boxes. If there’s a flood, your treasured items will be underwater. Store items on shelves, peg boards, bike racks and even the ceiling. Cabinets encourage disorganization because you can just hide the clutter. Shelves keep you honest.
Think of your garage like a store. Stores separate goods into zones so people can find things easily. Create a sports zone, gardening center, tool shop and seasonal items area. Place the stuff you use regularly in places you can easily get to them. Things you only use once or twice a year can go on the top of shelves or in the back.
Maintain the Organization
Once everything is squared away, have a glass of lemonade and a nap. Then choose a date to do it over again. Ideally, you should reorganize your garage twice a year to keep it looking tidy.
Buy a New Home in Sierra Vista
Better yet, purchase a new home in Sierra Vista and get a new garage — a garage that can be tailored to fit your storage needs with upgrades like cabinets and counters so you will be organized as soon as you move in.