Garages are supposed to be a place to park the car, but in reality, many Americans fill their garages to the brim with so much stuff that the thought of cleaning out and tidying up causes anxiety, fear and procrastination. Here’s how to conquer the clutter and put the cars back where they belong.
Purge with ruthlessness. Sort everything in the garage into four groups: things to keep, things to sell, things to donate and things to trash.
Keep only things that you have actually used on some sort of regular basis in the last year. Sell anything with value that you have not used in the last two years. Craigslist and Buy, Sell, Trade pages on Facebook are terrific resources because they allow you to post what is essentially a free classified ad. For less valuable items, consider having a garage sale.
Donate things that you decide not to sell. Many local and national charities operate second-hand stores that benefit their organizations. Finally, trash stuff not worth keeping, selling or donating. Do NOT put paint or fertilizers in the trash. Check your local government website for the proper place to dispose of paints, chemicals and other household toxins.
Organizing what’s left. Start by browsing online for pictures of garage organization systems. Look at the kind of things stored and how it was organized. Then mimic what you see.
Shelves, wall racks and overhead racks will be your most efficient use of space, leaving the floor open for parking your car inside the garage.
Most home improvement retailers sell heavy duty shelving systems made for garages. When installing, remember to position them so you can get in and out of your car with ease. When filling the shelves, place heaviest items on the lowest shelves. There are also shelving systems that attach to the walls.
Get rakes, shovels and similar implements off the floor by installing wall rack hangers, which are also available at home improvement and hardware stores.
Finally, overhead racks provide a great way to store seasonal items, such as coolers, pool toys and holiday decorations. Use stackable plastic tubs to keep items clean and organized. Install the overhead racks toward the back of the garage where they won’t interfere with the garage door when opened.
Maintenance. There’s one more crucial step to a clutter-free garage and that’s maintaining order where chaos once ruled. To keep clutter from re-accumulating, adopt a one-in, one-out rule, meaning you must get rid of one item when you bring another into the space.