If you’re like most people, you likely have more stuff than your garage can reasonably hold. Kids’ toys, stand-up swimming pools, lawn mowers, tools, tire jacks, and gardening equipment can easily take up so much space that you can’t fit a car in the garage anymore.
From using storage sheds to getting rid of items you haven’t used in years, these six tips will help you clean out that garage, get rid of clutter, and better manage your storage needs.
How do I declutter my garage?
Start with cleaning
Organizing a space is much easier when that space is clean. Decluttering your garage will be a smoother experience if you take the time to thoroughly clean it as well.
Cleaning can be tricky, though. Oil stains have a reputation for being tough to get out of concrete floors. However, all you really need is a steel brush, then acetone, lacquer thinner, or detergent, based on the size of the stain. This article takes you through the removal process, step-by-step.
This is also a great time to check things like light fixtures, windows, and garage door hardware. Look for defects in any of those things and fix them immediately. New lightbulbs - especially LED bulbs - will make a huge difference in the appearance of the garage. This also gives you a chance to clean cobwebs from the corners and rafters.
Sort by purpose
Once the garbage is gone, you’ll be left with roughly three different types of items: those you want to keep, donate or sell, or throw away. This Old House recommends items that are broken beyond repair, toys your kids have outgrown, expired household cleaners, and anything you haven’t use in two or more years, get placed in the “throw away” pile.
Create a storage plan
Now that you’ve cleaned your garage to the point that you’re left with only items you’ll keep, it’s time to figure out how you want to store your stuff.
Drafting a floor plan of your garage can be immensely helpful here, as it allows you to visualize what your storage will look like without the need to move things around half a dozen times.
Some tips on organizing your floor plan include:
- Place frequently used items near doors, since it makes no sense to put them in harder-to-reach areas
- Group tools by their use, e.g.,gardening tools go together, woodworking tools share the same pegboard, etc.
- Make sure your bulkier items (larger boxes or a lawn mower) are in corners where they’re out of the way and won’t get bumped or hit by a car
- Stick all of your seasonal items, like Christmas lights, in the harder-to-reach areas of your garage
Once you have an initial plan in place, it’s time to head out to your garage and see what it’ll look like in person.
To do that, grab some chalk and follow your floor plan by outlining where certain your gardening tools will go, where you’ll place the lawn mower, and where your kids’ bikes will be stored. It’s one thing to see this on paper, but it’s another to see what the physical space actually looks like.
The other benefit you’ll get from outlining storage areas with chalk is seeing how much space your car will take up without the need to have your car physically there. This is particularly helpful to let you know how much room you have on the sides, in front of, and behind your car.
Look at additional storage options
Now, if you’ve gone through your storage plan, drawn the chalk lines, and gotten rid of everything you didn’t absolutely need but still find yourself with too much stuff, you’re probably wondering what to do.
This is the time you should consider an outdoor storage shed. They’re an extremely useful and cost-effective method of adding storage space to an area seemingly devoid of it. Outdoor sheds come in just about every size and shape you can think of, which means there’s a solution out there that matches your specific storage needs. Sheds are most common in metal and vinyl configurations, though other materials (such as cedar or fabric) that have their own unique abilities to withstand the elements.
Pegboards are your friend
One of the best ways to effectively get rid of garage clutter is to keep as much stuff off the floor as possible. Cabinets are effective, but it’s easy to just throw stuff in there and move your mess from the floor to the cabinets.
Pegboards, though, provide a clearly defined place for everything, and they keep your stuff off the floor of the garage.
Some tips for building a great pegboard organization system include:
- Securing your hooks in place. The last thing you want is a drill or other expensive tool falling off a hook. Secure your hooks in place with zip ties or even a hot-glue gun to give the pegboard more support.
- Create custom shelves. You can easily mount shelves to your pegboard with screws, joists, and the correct size of peg to provide support. This increases the amount of storage room you can pull from your pegboard.
- Good wall mounts are a must. You need to mount the pegboard to studs, anchored in place by accompanying drywall screws (where applicable). You’ll also want to balance lightness of material for durability, so make sure to look at metal pegboards in addition to wood ones.
Remember the roof
If your garage has a vaulted ceiling, you can make use of the rafters as storage space. Whether you hang sleds, float tubes, or inflatable pool toys from the rafters, or set boards across them and store Christmas lights higher up in your garage, the idea here is to maximize the space you have available.
Decluttering your garage is a pretty big project, but it’s not impossible. Once you finish, you’ll be surprised at how much room you have to park cars - and how easy it is to find that tool you’re always looking for.
To learn more about the storage options we offer, read more of our blog here.