“I can’t wait to use this pasta maker when I get home!”
And there it sits, in your garage, unboxed and awaiting its opportunity to be the star of your family’s Spaghetti Night.
Situations like this are inevitable if you’re a homeowner. What was once meant to be a season-long solution turns into 365-day storage, and before you know it, the unboxed, impractical appliances start piling up and limiting space for your vehicles. Let’s remedy that!
Although winter cleaning is all the rage, spring is really the perfect season to clean out your cluttered garage and get organized. Here are a few tips to help kick your garage-cleaning project off the ground this spring, so your cars can keep a roof over their heads
Analyze & make a plan (then stick to it)
Setting out to clean your garage is no different than setting and abiding by your monthly budget. Sure, there is some leniency here and there, but your ultimate goal should remain unchanged throughout the clean-up process.
To get your garage car-ready, it’s best to analyze your level of disorganization first. Do you simply need more storage and a wicked sweeping, or are you hoarder-level disorganized? This will help you determine what needs to be done, as well as if your task can be completed in an afternoon or weekend.
Once you’ve set aside time based on your estimates, start a system. A basic garage-cleaning system might entail three lists and their respective driveway piles: Keep, Toss, and Donate. Park your cars on the street, grab a few large trash bags, and get to work.
Remember: The goal of cleaning your garage is (probably) to make room for your vehicles. The more you can remove, the better.
- Heirlooms, cherished items, and seasonally useful equipment like tents might be Keep-ers. Consider how to utilize items like furniture to your advantage, whether as additional storage space or a household piece. Would an heirloom you hold dear be safer if stored inside? Do you have attic space to store your holiday decorations? Can any outdoor equipment, such as your lawnmower, be kept in the shed?
- Old nightgowns and once-white, now-yellow socks should certainly be tossed. If you haven’t used the item in over two years or the item is broken, consider giving it the old heave-ho—if you live in Kansas City, review the laws regarding trash pickup before leaving old door jams and other large items out on the side of the road.
- For more expensive items, you might contemplate adding them to a “Garage Sale” sub-pile. Maybe your old pressure washer or weed eater could find a new garage to sit in rather than a landfill or recycling center.
- Items like slightly used sneakers and appliances—ahem: pasta maker—could find their way in the “Donate” pile. Your garage will be better off without them. Consider calling a local Kansas City charity center, or visit org to schedule pick-up for your donated clothing, furniture, toys, etc.
Clean your garage with the five-second-rule treatment
There’s undoubtedly loads of unpleasantness on your garage floor. Whip out your wet/dry vac (a heavy-duty push broom, mop, and elbow grease could suffice) and suck up all those nasty spider eggs and the weird intergalactic growth that’s accumulated in the corner.
Like coloring, start with the edges and work your way in. You may not want to eat off the floor when you’re done, but you probably could. And don’t forget the walls and ceilings—perfect spots for dust and spider webs.
Consider adding a coat of garage floor epoxy or similar type of material, which will be easier to clean next year. These coatings help protect the floor from road salt, dirt, mud, and any other icky stiff your car brings in.
Cleaning is half the battle; staying organized is the real
key to your spring’s garage-cleaning project.
For garages with little organization, I recommend investing in some storage solutions. Pegboards, hooks, and shelves can be purchased from any local hardware store and are affordable yet super effective in reducing your garage clutter. Installation is normally a breeze, too, meaning you won’t need to cuss your way to completion.
With a few storage bins, labels, and sweat, your garage might finally live up to its intended purpose. Consider these few tips when planning your layout:
- Use blue painter’s tape to mark storage areas (shelves, peg boards, etc.) Measure the areas and find materials of comparable sizes when you visit the store. It’s unlikely you’ll need to be precise with measurements, so don’t be afraid of venturing slightly outside of your parameters.
- Install a mounted broom/mop holder near your home’s entryway.
- Use garage door hooks to hang items like ladders, bikes, and strollers off the garage railings.
- If you’d like to start a workstation in your garage, look into a making a DIY workbench that folds up and down for your convenience.
- Label boxes and storage bins. Place holiday items near each other for easy access. Date any paints or chemicals (and take appropriate disposal measures when tossing old chemicals and liquids away).
- For those who want to take organization a step further, use an inventory list and system to keep track of tools and other helpful equipment. You can even add SKU numbers, if that’s your cup of tea.
- Apply thin coats of oil to your metal tools to prevent rust.
- Add a dehumidifier in the garage if you noticed rusty tools during your planning/clean-up stages. Humidity can do a number to not just your equipment, but also your cars!
Getting organized does wonders for a garage, and it’ll make you feel rejuvenated.
Perfect Time to Upgrade to a New Car
Now that your garage is taking new applicants, what better time to think about upgrading? Visit a car dealer near you
to see what’s in stock and ready for a new home. As winter winds down, you’ll be glad to have a new car that fits perfectly between the four walls of your refreshed garage.