Winter is nearly over, and that means it’s time for spring-cleaning. Even if the rest of your house is in good shape — save for a little dusting, because that is one job we’ll be doing forever — your garage probably needs a little bit of TLC. We get it. For most of us, the garage becomes a catch-all for everything that won’t fit in the rest of the house. Here are some quick and easy spring-cleaning tips to help you transform your garage from a storage shed into a functional room.
Start With Four Piles
Believe it or not, 57 percent of people with a garage attached to their home can’t park their car in it. They don’t have the room! Clutter is a big problem for most of us. We hang on to everything, swearing we’ll fix that broken blender later, or that we might need that massive box of half-dead Christmas lights for something in the future. The first step you need to take in your cleaning efforts is to create four piles: keep, store, sell and toss.
Once you have a place for each pile, start sorting everything in your garage into one of these four areas. Tools and items you use daily go into the keep pile. Seasonal stuff, like winter clothing and holiday decorations, go in the store pile. Anything that is still in good working order but you don’t need or want anymore can go into the sell pile for your next garage sale. Trash can go straight into a bag or can, so you can drag it to the curb on your next scheduled garbage day.
This step will cut down the amount of stuff you need to sort through by half, at least, depending on the ratio of junk to useful things in the garage.
Figure out Why You Want Your Garage
Once you’ve sorted through all the junk cluttering up the garage, figure out what you want to do with it. Are you going to park your car there, or use it as a craft or hobby room? Maybe you want to turn it into a rec room, with a pool or ping-pong table. Whatever your plans, now’s the time to figure them out, because your next steps will depend on the result you’re trying to achieve.
Plan Your Storage
Once you’ve got everything sorted out, you’re going to need to start thinking about storage. Shelves, cabinets and even overhead storage are all options, depending on your needs.
Store seasonal stuff first, since you’ll only need those items for a few months out of the year. If you’ve got an attic with garage access, this is the perfect place to store it. If your garage or attic isn’t climate-controlled, be careful with storing seasonal clothing. At the very minimum, you’ll need to throw a few mothballs in each box to keep your sweaters and jackets safe from hungry moth mouths.
Clear out everything in your garage and take a close look at the empty room. Where can you put storage where it won’t interfere with your other plans? If you’re going to work on your car or turn the garage into a hobby room, a workbench with storage for tools might be a good investment.
Keep Your Garage Tidy Year-Round
Once you’ve spent time deep-cleaning your garage, the last thing you want to do is let it get cluttered again. Make sure everything stays in its designated place, and that if you buy anything new, you put it away before it has a chance to become clutter. Spring-cleaning your garage, especially if you’ve been using it as a catch-all, is a big project — but once you get it emptied, it’s much easier to maintain.