Ever had guests over and been embarrassed by the state of your garage? I don’t know about your house, but the garage in my house is where we put the things we don’t know what to do with. Holiday decorations, first grade memorabilia, and boxes full of clothes that should have been at Goodwill years ago. It’s often the part of the house that’s forgotten about the most, but fear not, below I’ve explained my top 5 steps to make your garage brand spanking new!
STEP 1: Remove, Declutter and Prepare
At first sight, you may be overwhelmed. Where to start? Pick a day when the weather is in your favour and remove everything from your garage. Yes, you read that right, everything! Once your garage is cleared out, you’ll have a better scope of what you have and what you can get rid of. It may seem like a large task, but getting everything out will help you assess what you have and ensure that things don’t return back to their old spot.
Gather all the cleaning and sorting supplies you’ll need such as towels, a bucket, broom and cleaning spray. Bins and garbage bags are a must so that you can easily sort what you’d like to keep and what you’d like to throw away.
PRO TIP: Just Start! Wipe down anything dirty or dusty to get the momentum going and soon enough you’ll be in a cleaning frenzy!
STEP 2: Sorting Into Piles
It’s time to start sorting into a keep, donate/sell and trash pile. Now if you’re like me, you’ll lie to yourself about what you actually use. Ask yourself if the item is something you’ll use again. A rule of thumb is that if I haven’t used it or even thought about it in the last 12 months, it’s an automatic no. Be realistic and honest! Is that keyboard you got 5 years ago thinking you’d play really worth taking up that entire shelf? Are those roller skates that are two sizes too small really worth keeping that corner cluttered for? These types of things clutter up the garage; consider selling them on Facebook marketplace for a nice profit that could go towards renovating the garage!
If you have tools, consider which ones you use frequently. Create a nook where you can put a workstation area/tool bench, but make sure it is organized. I recommend getting a pegboard so that you can hang all your tools on the wall to take up the least amount of space possible.
If your trash pile isn’t the biggest pile, you’re doing it wrong. Broken or rusted items should be tossed immediately. Give yourself permission to let go and stop keeping things that you think you’ll get around to repairing!
STEP 3: Storage Solutions
It seems that all miscellaneous weirdly shaped items end up in the garage. Either everything is very large or very small and easy to lose. I recommend garage shelves, installed into your wall to store stuff on as well as bins to sort toolboxes and other various items. Jars or small containers are good to store nails, screws, and bolts. Large items such as baseball bats or golf clubs can be kept in large bins or repurposed trash cans. If you have large items such as bikes, kayaks and ladders, hang them on the ceiling with hooks fastened to support beams as well as hooks on the wall to hang your ladders, shovels and rakes.
These are all options however feel free to organize your garage how it best suits you and your family’s needs! Assemble all storage containers and install wall/ceiling hooks so that you’re ready to house your remaining items.
STEP 4: Cleaning!
Ah, cleaning, everyone’s favourite step! Dust those shelves and nooks and crannies to get those cobwebs out. Spray and clean the walls down to let that paint shine through and hose down your floor from all the dirt and grime that may have been accumulating.
Consider putting down a garage floor defender to prevent snow and mud from falling onto your garage floor. At Canadamats, we have Floor Defender Garage Containment Mats with vinyl surfaces combined with a raised foam edging to prevent damage to garage floors by protecting them from fallen debris and grease from parked vehicles, and can be easily rolled to store away until they are needed again. Snow, salt, mud, grease and other chemicals that your car brings into the garage can slowly damage the floors over time and affect valuables stored nearby.
STEP 5: Time to Put it All Back!
Now that your garage is clean, put everything in your “keep” pile back in organized areas. As you return your items to the garage, give one last hard look at everything you kept to ensure that you’re not putting anything back that could instead be donated or thrashed. Your garage should be where you keep things of use, not where you store years worth of useless items!
A clean garage, although a daunting task, is well worth the effort to keep your valuables intact and save money in the long run. And plus, now you have more space to get to that hobby you’ve been saying you’ll start!
Now what are you waiting for, go bask in your newly cleaned garage!