6 Easy Garage Cleaning Tips for the Overwhelmed

Oct 14, 2016

Around the House Tips

4 minute read

Facing down a jam-packed garage? If you’re feeling defeated before you’ve even begun, this garage cleaning tip guide is for you. By breaking a mountain of a task into bite-size pieces, you can bring your out-of-control-messy garage into focus. We offer baby steps to getting started, smart storage tips and more. Before you know it, you will have transformed a chaotic, stressful space into a functional, organized storage area.

organized garage with cabinets and shelving systems

Tip 1:  Be realistic

If you stop thinking about cleaning out the garage as a big task that must be completed in one go, it takes a lot of the pressure off. Each step you take to clean out your garage makes it measurably better than where you started.  This is why tossing perfection as a goal out the window.  If it’s better than before, that’s a win. Also, by breaking your tasks down into manageable chunks, you eventually can have a clean, clear garage like this one, while feeling a great sense of accomplishment.

Tip 2:  Survey Your Space

Take a step back and truly look at what you have and what you want to achieve.  Don’t worry about sorting or removing anything yet.  Simply have a good look around and note what you see. You might want to make a list, take some photographs, or both.  Do whatever helps you feel more organized and in control of the process.

example of plastic bins with labels

Tip 3:  Create a Local Resource List

Look over the notes or photos you made during your survey, and make a list of the types of items you plan to get rid of. Once you know what you have, you can begin to figure out where it will all go. Perhaps you need to rent a refuse container to collect trash, find a consignment store to drop off clothes or schedule a pickup of donations for a local charitable organization. Having these details charted out in advance will make the rest of the process feel more organized.  Or you can always hire a helper to help you complete your project more quickly.

Tip 4:  Invest in a Proper Storage Setup

If you can, invest in some storage cabinets and wall-mounted storage units.  This will make a huge difference in how accessible your stored items are and help protect them over time. It’s also a good idea to begin transferring your stored items from old cardboard boxes into sturdier containers meant for long-term storage. Plastic bins work well for hard items (like children’s toys and holiday lights), but textiles and papers are best kept in archival containers designed for this purpose.

garage storage cabinets and ceiling storage

The Best Garage Storage Units to Consider:

  • Overhead. If you have a lot to store and space is tight, consider using overhead space to stow away some of your least-frequently used items (like holiday decor) in lidded bins. Overhead storage racks need to be securely mounted for safety, so it’s best to have a pro put them in.
  • Wall-mounted. Keeping gear and bins off the floor is one of the best ways to prevent moisture damage and save floor space.
  • Locked cabinets. These are essential for safely storing materials like antifreeze, motor oil, pesticides and other chemicals that could harm children or pets if ingested.

Tip 5:  Move Frequently Used Gear Near the Entrance

If you ride bikes and play ball every weekend, it doesn’t make sense to have to trek to the back of the garage to retrieve your gear each time you need it. Keep these items along a wall close to the entrance and outfit it with storage that fits the purpose  For example, bike hooks for bikes, wire mesh baskets for balls, shelves for gardening supplies, etc.

New York garage with organization cabinets and rack sysems

Tip 6:  Keep It Going

The key to keeping your garage organized and clutter-free long-term is to view it as an important, useful space; not a dumping ground for random items.  The garage, along with other areas of your home, can be easily sustained if you follow an easy yearly home maintenance guideline.  Clutter tends to breed more clutter!  Keep that in mind next time you are tempted to stash away a few more “good” cardboard boxes, keep that Christmas present you hate (but are afraid to get rid of) or hold onto that broken blender you might one day fix.

Once you get your garage nice and organized, determining if your garage doors are up to par or could use some TLC to protect or showcase your hard work is a logical next step!   

Original Post by Laura Gaskill; Images Provided by Houzz

Related links:

A Year of Essential Home Maintenance Projects

All-In-One Storage and Seating

6 Garage Organizing Tips That Really Work

A Subtle Way to Encourage Guests to Take Their Shoes Off