Your Comprehensive Guide to Decluttering your Garage
Cleaning out the garage—it’s a task that’s always on your household to-do list, but how often do you actually get around to clearing out all the clutter? If you’re anything like most Americans, chances are your garage tends to collect a myriad of items that you can’t find room for in other parts of the house—or that you no longer use but can’t quite bear to let go of yet.
At NationServe, we want to encourage you to set aside one weekend before summer ends to get started on finally clearing out the garage. As America’s garage doors specialists, we’ve seen what a difference it can make to have a garage that’s a source of pride and pleasure, not a dirty and disorganized secret. Cleaning the garage also provides the perfect opportunity to make sure your garage doors are working properly and looking their best. Wherever you’re sweltering this summer—from the humidity of Charlotte to the dry heat of Tucson—we think you could benefit from our tips for decluttering your garage with minimal stress and maximal results.
Phase 1: Clean and declutter
What’s the hardest part of clearing out the garage? Getting started! For many people, cleaning the garage is such a daunting project that it remains on their to-do list for weeks, months, or in some cases, even years. That’s why it’s best to just to dive in. Set aside at least an entire day to start taking stock of everything in the garage and coming up with a plan for how you’d like to organize it.
Start by going through your entire garage—every unopened box, crowded shelf, and cobwebbed cranny. We suggest taking everything out of the space and sorting items into piles in your driveway or yard. Once you can clearly see everything you’ve crammed in there, you’ll start to realize how much stuff you don’t use and don’t need.
Keep only what you use
Professional organizers suggest sorting items into four piles—toss, keep, donate, and sell. Make a rule that you won’t hold on to anything that you haven’t used in two years. Toss items broken beyond repair and consider giving gently used clothing and household items a new home. You can take them to a local donation center or organize a pickup. Or maybe it’s time to have a garage sale—there’s a reason they got their name!
Clean, clean, clean
After taking everything out of the garage, give the interior a thorough cleaning. Vacuum and scrub the floor, wash the walls and check for nails, chemical spills, or evidence of animals living in your garage. Messy garages can easily become homes for pests like mice, bats, and possums.
What should not be kept in the garage?
Some things shouldn’t be stored in the garage at all. Propane gas should never be kept indoors as a single spark could send the whole tank up in flames. Although often found in garages, paint doesn’t do well in extreme heat or extreme cold and shouldn’t be kept in a garage that isn’t climate controlled. It’s also a bad idea to keep food in the garage as the smell can attract pests.
Phase 2: Organization
After you’ve cleaned everything and discarded unnecessary items, it’s time to decide how to organize the remaining stuff in your garage. No matter how many bags and boxes you’ve gotten rid of, your garage can still feel cluttered if you don’t have a plan for arranging the space. Think about what would be the most efficient and practical way to store your things. For example, put items that you use together—like lawn chemicals and gardening tools—in the same spot and keep frequently used items close to the garage doors and less frequently used items in places that are harder to reach.
Our number one tip for garage organization? Maximize your use of vertical space and keep the floor clear wherever possible. You can hang bikes, gardening equipment, and power tools on hooks on the walls to keep them from taking up valuable floor space. Using vertical space leaves more room for your cars and makes the garage feel more spacious and less cluttered.
Divide your garage into zones
Creating different zones for different purposes in your garage can also help keep the space tidy and easy to use. Why not divide your garage into separate sections for car supplies, sports equipment, gardening accessories, and garbage and recycling? Some people turn a corner of their garage into a workout zone with exercise equipment while others use a portion of the space as a laundry area. With a little time and planning, your garage can become much more than just a dingy place for cars and storage.
Make sure your garage door is in excellent condition
While organizing your garage, take the opportunity to make sure your garage doors are in good working order. When you use your garage to store valuable items like cars, bikes, power tools, and household treasures, it’s important to invest in a quality door that has top-notch safety and insulation features.
To check if your garage door requires maintenance or repairs, start by standing in your garage with the door closed and visually inspecting its springs, cables, rollers, pulleys and mounting hardware for signs of wear or damage. If you notice anything that doesn’t look or sound quite right, you should request the door be serviced by one of our certified technicians.
You can also check your garage door’s electronic safety features. To check its anti-entrapment features, place a piece of wood on the floor under the door and push the door opener’s transmitter to close the door. To check its safety sensor beams (photo eyes), push the opener’s transmitter to close the door and then run an object through the sensor beam. If the door doesn’t reverse automatically in either situation, you should contact a NationServe technician.
Once the interior of your garage is in tip-top shape, you’ll want to make sure you have an impressive exterior with exceptional garage doors to match. To find out more about the stunning designs and cutting-edge features of the garage doors we offer at NationServe, get in touch with our team in Raleigh, Houston or any of our 18 locations nationwide.