Spring is in full swing, with summer just around the corner. Have you done all your spring-cleaning yet? One area of your home that might not get the overhaul it really needs is the garage. From camping equipment to trashcans to toolboxes, the garage can be a black hole of stuff that stacks up throughout the year. If your car spends the night in the driveway or your have to clear a walking path through boxes of Christmas decorations, it’s time to spring-clean your garage. Before the weather gets too hot, try these six spring-cleaning steps to clear out the clutter and make your garage useful again.
Take it all out. ALL of it.
If your garage is overrun with clutter— from garden tools to car accessories to kids’ toys— shifting your mess from the garage to the driveway can help you get started with a clean slate. It may seem counterproductive to just move the clutter from the garage to the front lawn, but emptying the garage is helpful because: 1) it gives you more room to sort and organize, and 2) you can survey the space you have available, so you can plan your organization strategy. It also helps to start grouping things together as you remove them. Are your fishing poles tangled with the rakes? Are the flowerpots encroaching on the paint cans? Placing alike items together makes them easily accessible when you begin re-stocking the garage.
Get rid of what you don’t need.
According to This Old House, organizing professionals estimate that only 30% of people actually store their car in their garage! Why do the rest of the 70% park elsewhere? Too much stuff stuffed into the garage. When it comes to what should be stored in your garage, stick to things that you want to use over things you just want to keep. (Use the basement or attic for keepsakes!) After you’ve moved your garage contents to the lawn, look over everything and get rid of the things you don’t need. A good rule of thumb is to toss anything you haven’t used in at least two years, and of course anything that just doesn’t work anymore. Bonus: since everything you’re getting rid of is already outside, plan a yard sale for some extra cash!
Get in the zone(s).
Once you’ve cut your clutter down to size, don’t immediately start packing everything back into the garage. Here’s where a little tactical thinking can help make your garage more functional and organized. With your remaining garage contents, separate your garage space into zones. A tool zone, a gardening zone, a sports equipment zone, a workspace zone— group together alike items in the same location for easy access, so you never have to look for your wrenches in the garden trowels ever again. Don’t forget the most important zone— the auto zone. With less stuff and a strategic floor plan, you can join the 30% who can fit their car into their garage!
Build storage up and out.
If you don’t have enough storage in your garage, there are a few quick additions you can make to maximize your newly zoned layout. Utilizing shelves and tall cabinets along the walls provides ample room to store smaller items and bins. Hooks and pegboard on the wall offer a way to neatly store tools, cables, and other items you want to keep readily available. A workbench that folds out of the wall gives you useable space that you can easily fold away when not in use. With a little handy work, it’s also possible to use what would otherwise be dead ceiling space for storage, with a system of sliding overhead bin caddies. As a final touch, break out the label maker and get all your bins and boxes labeled to quickly identify the contents. Make a weekend project out of overhauling your garage space, and you’ll have a more efficient, manageable workspace slash garage
Put everything on wheels.
An ingenious organization tip from Popular Mechanics is “Everything on wheels!” If you routinely work in your garage, adding wheels to your equipment allows you to easily maneuver around, and re-organize as needed depending on your latest project. Put caster wheels on your cabinets, chairs, benches, drill presses, and more to quickly move things around and— the ultimate goal— make more room for your car.
Buy a car lift for your garage!
Another way to maximize the available space in your garage is by installing a car lift! Whether you want to keep your classic car and your everyday autos in the same garage, or you have smaller vehicles to get out of the way when not in use, a car lift is a beneficial investment. A car lift affords extended storage space, instantly doubling your storage capacity from one space into two. If you frequently work on your automobiles, you’ll also gain more access to work on your vehicles and in your garage. A garage car lift like those from Backyard Buddy should be durable and versatile to safely store all kinds of vehicles. In addition to cars, you can use a BYB lift to store trucks, ATVs, motorcycles, boat trailers, snowmobiles, and more. Take advantage of the vertical space available, and create more possibilities to work within your garage with a freestanding residential car lift.
If your garage has accumulated enough junk to be the subject of an episode of Hoarders, it may seem like an arduous task to try getting the mess under control. But starting with a plan to tackle this spring-cleaning project is the key to making your garage an organized workspace again. Take everything out, get rid of nonessentials, and then plan your strategy to organize and store your stuff. For extra organization, try adding wheels to make equipment mobile, and install a car lift to optimize your available space. With a little elbow grease, these six steps to spring-cleaning your garage will get rid of the clutter once and for all— and get your car back in its proper place!