Let’s face it. Most people with a garage don’t use it for the original purpose it was intended for – to store their car in. Instead, many garages have become breeding grounds for hoarding junk and never-to-be-used-again items. But this often-neglected outbuilding makes for valuable storage space. So, if yours has become cluttered and chaotic, then now could be the time for a good clean out -especially if you are getting ready to sell you house.
Assess what you own
To do a proper de-clutter job on your garage, you need to thoroughly assess its contents. Take everything out of the building and group items into categories, such as garden tools, DIY tools, paints, pots, etc. Only then by surveying what you own, can you ascertain what you need and what you don’t need. Ask yourself if you really need four garden forks, whether you’re ever going to use that exercise bike again, or if those rusty tools that somebody once gave you will ever serve any future purpose.
Waste not, want not
If you’ve found that you own several items of the same thing, then consider selling surplus possessions, either by holding a garage sale, advertising through the local paper or on the internet. Even if you don’t think some of your things are sellable, consider using websites where you give things away for free. What you might perceive as old junk, somebody else might see as a treasure. That way, you are at least reducing what goes into the landfill.
If you really can’t part with any of your belongings, but your garage is still bursting at the seams, then consider putting some items, especially large ones that don’t get used that often, into self storage. This gives you the flexibility of still being able to keep personal items off-site, whilst freeing up valuable space at home.
Organise your space
Once you’ve done a comprehensive audit of your garage contents, don’t just throw them back in any old how. Create an organised system, so you can keep track of what’s in there and where it’s put. Keep items that you’re going to use regularly at the front of the garage, and banish seldom-used things to the back. That way, it’s easy to get at the things you most need. Store similar items together, so you know exactly what you’ve got.
With space at a premium in most garages, you’ll need to create a sensible storage system. Make use of the vertical space, and try to keep as much off the garage floor as possible. Keep items on shelves and put up some wall hooks. Label storage boxes and tubs and stack them on top of each other, so you can see what’s inside them.
Keep up the good work
The satisfaction of a good garage clean out, being able to see the floor again and close the door without it groaning against the weight, is worth all the effort you put in. But keep the momentum going. Don’t let storage standards slip over time otherwise you’ll end up back where you started. Get all the family on board with your keep-the-garage-tidy rules, so they know they’re in it for the long run.