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How to Clean Out a Garage: 8 Tips

Sometimes your garage may become a dumping ground full of piles if you constantly keep the broken, unused, or rarely used items tucked in boxes without regular maintenance and proper cleaning. If it is not taken care of properly, serious grime can build up over time.

5-Minute Crafts has rounded up a guide for you on how to clean out a garage, step by step.

1. Have a plan and pick your process.

Start with a goal in mind, which is to empty the garage and build it back up, piece by piece. Make a plan with a list of all the things that need to get done.

  • Pick a day when the weather is good.
  • Plan to do the easiest things first. For example, you can gather recyclables, etc.

2. Take everything out.

  • It can be exhausting to declutter everything at once, so break your process into parts. Pick a small section that’s bothering you the most, and begin from there.
  • Prepare your supplies; gather towels, measuring tape, small and big garbage bags, bins, a bucket, broom, cleaning spray, etc.
  • Pull everything out of your garage to your driveway, front yard, or lawn. Cover them up with a tarp to fend off any on-lookers in case you have to leave your stuff there overnight and it rains.

3. Learn to select things you don’t need anymore.

If you clean out your wardrobe and find some items you haven’t worn in over a year, you should probably get rid of them. Apply the same logic to your garage. Ask yourself if you’ll use the item again. For example, you can let go of the rollerblades or tennis rackets that no one has used for many years. If you are still having trouble letting things go, itemize them further into 3 categories:

  • Sentimental storage: Focus on what you want to keep and if you have room for it.
  • Never use: Everything in this category can be donated or sold.
  • Use regularly or annually: Check annual and regular use items for signs of wear, tear, or fix-it needs, then store them.

4. Sort everything into keep, trash, donate, and sell piles.

Sort everything out into 4 piles:

  • Keep pile: Here, you’ll add the things that are in working condition, such as items you’ve used more than once in the past year, the rust-free version of each tool you frequently use, or tools that aren’t easily borrowed or rented. You can go back through the pile and further sort through the items in the keep pile if needed.
  • Donation pile: Include items such as old Christmas lights if you are thinking of switching to LEDs, for example. Find places that accept donations in your local area. Just to make sure they accept the donated items, phone them first. See other donation opportunities your local community has to offer.
  • Sell pile: You can make some money if you sell items like bowling balls, skis, or poles you haven’t used in a year but are still in good condition. You can sell them either online or host a yard sale. You can list your items in online marketplaces or advertise your garage or yard sale there. Do your research to see how to price your items.
  • Trash pile: These are things that can’t be donated or sold. Here, you will likely include expired seeds, car fluids, and any oil rags that could be combustible, hazardous, broken, or rusted. Contact your local authorities to learn how to dispose of these safely. There are also different types of junk removal solutions at your disposal that can fit your needs.

5. Start cleaning your garage.

  • To clean your garage door, start brushing off the dirt. Then, using a brush or broom, get rid of the loose debris from the garage door. A hose will be good for this. Prepare soapy water with warm water and mild household detergent in a bucket, and start wiping. Once all is done, tighten every moving part and grease using household oil.
  • To clean the garage walls, start with vacuuming the cobwebs and debris. Then, carefully scrub the walls from the bottom to the top with soapy water. You can try basic ammonia for the tough stains if detergent is insufficient.

6. Seal cracks and paint them.

  • Survey your garage to see if there are areas to be fixed. You can use spray-in foam or sealant for any cracks. Search if there are any uninsulated wires that might present a fire hazard. If this is the case, you can call a professional to fix it.
  • Examine your garage further for any signs of water damage or if gutter cleaning is required. Check lighting, locks, and seals around the windows. This is not only for weather protection but also protection from intruders. Caulk any cracked or leaking seals.
  • Next, you can paint your garage with a simple coat of white latex.

7. Maximize your space.

Now it’s time to put stuff back and store everything that’s in your “keep pile.” To do so:

  • Build an organizational system. For example, if you always leave your shoes by the garage door, you can get a shoe basket there. Or think about hose storage if you are using it every day. A coat rack in the garage is a good idea even though your coats may be in damp, cold, or humid conditions. Wheelbarrows are good to keep your gardening tools in so you can easily pull them out whenever you need them. Ensure to store paint cans, propane tanks, fuel, and flammable liquids separately, for they can be knocked over or spilled.
  • Create alternative storage options. You can use the lids of the top bins to store things such as holiday decorations or store extra paper towels or water coolers using the dead space above your equipment. Think about using small jars to store various odds and ends of your tools. Also, mesh bags are useful for storing balls and sports equipment at eye level.
  • Use your walls. Consider wire shelves for storage since they are adjustable and good for easy installation. Or a pegboard over a workbench with hooks aligned vertically on the wall is a good idea. A wall-mounted hook is a lifesaver to hang your shovels, trowels, golf bags, tennis rackets, and gardening tools if they have handles.
  • Use your ceilings. A ceiling-mounted boat rack works well to get your kayaks, canoes, and other large items out of your way to avoid damage by hanging them up on ceiling hooks tightly. Make sure they don’t fall on kids or cars. With a stud finder, screw, and an S hook into the ceiling, you can hang your bike by the tires too. This way, it will be easier to take it down.

8. Maintain your garage.

After keeping your recycling and trash in tightly sealed bags to prevent odors, you can use a mat under the cans in case of any spills. Keep in mind that hosing your trash cans with baking soda from time to time may prevent the odors from wafting from trash bins through your house. Now that all your items are back in the garage and organized well, you can make a habit of maintaining your garage on a regular basis.

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