cluttered garageDid you know that 57% of people with two-car garages don’t have room to park cars inside them — or have room for only one vehicle? I think you know why. Because instead of getting rid of stuff, we throw it out in the garage!

If you’re ready to take on the challenge of cleaning your garage, spring is a good time to do it, before it gets too hot to even think about it. With a few simple organization ideas, tidying up your garage and keeping it neat and clean is not only possible, it’s very doable. Here’s the plan…

Declutter first

  • Depending on the size of your garage and the amount of clutter, choose a full day or a full weekend to dedicate to decluttering and organizing your garage.
  • Make spring cleaning the garage a family project. Include family members, relatives or a few close friends. This will help speed up the process.
  • Go through every single item and sort into four piles – Keep, Donate, Sell, Toss.
  •  A good tip for judging which items to let go of is to ask yourself one and only one question: Have I used this in the past year? If your answer is no, then it’s time to get rid of it.
  • Do not keep items that you think you may use someday. Wouldn’t you rather have the space those items are taking up…right now?
  • Having a hard time letting go of things you spent a lot of money on? The money has already been spent, so whether you keep the item (and never use it) or let it go, the money spent on it is not coming back.  It’s best to just let go and make better spending decisions in the future.
  • Trash or recycle items you’ve decided to toss.
  • Pack up items to be donated in your car and drop them off at the nearest donation center.
  • Set aside items you plan to sell at an upcoming yard sale, online, or local consignment stores. If you are planning to have a yard sale, schedule it now.

Organize what’s left

Once that’s done and all of the clutter is out, it’s time to start organizing. First, figure out how much space your car(s) will take and then work with what’s left by placing items in spaces based on their types and uses:

Frequently Used: Keep items that you use frequently, such as shopping bags and pet leashes within easy reach – perhaps on hooks by the door.

Items Used Together: Create zones for groups of things such as auto care, gardening, and sports equipment so that like items are stored together.

Bulkier Items: Use the two back corners of the garage to store bulkier items such as a lawn mowers or snowthrower.

Rarely Used: Place rarely used items, such as holiday decorations or snow tires, on higher shelves of sturdy shelving units or consider installing a ceiling storage system. Just make sure your garage door doesn’t interfere with the ceiling storage.

Tools and Bicycles: Tools such as shovels and rakes and bicycles are best stored by hanging on the wall.

Note: If you’re using cardboard boxes as storage containers, you might want to seriously consider investing in some plastic bins that will keep insects and rodents from taking up residence in your house.

Keep it tidy

uncluttered garageOnce you’re done with all of that, you’ll have a cleaner garage that is organized nicely. The next step is to make efforts year round to keep it that way.

  • Keep floor space as free as possible.
  • Spray for pests from time to time to keep insects at bay.
  • Sweep and hose down the floors regularly to get out dirt.

And the most important step of all: Repeat at least once a year to purge what’s no longer wanted or needed.

This article was submitted by Garaga, Canada’s leading garage door manufacturer.