Spring Cleaning: Garages

by Catherine Sweeney, Creative Circle
May 31, 2015

On a sunny spring weekend, it may be tough to face the reality of your messy garage. When you do the work, there’s a big payoff. An organized garage helps you get more enjoyment from gardening and other favorite outdoor activities – with more time outside and less time searching for items.

Even for naturally neat people, garages sometimes become a catch-all. In her classic book, Organizing from the Inside Out, professional organizer Julie Morgenstern encourages people to strategize prior to organizing and cleaning. Before you start your garage clean-out, think through the following:

  • What’s working in my garage? 
    • Are there any systems or storage set-ups that you’re pleased with?
  • What’s not working?
  • What will the benefits be for me be in getting organized? 
    • (This answer helps keep you motivated.)

Next, do a walk-through of your garage, and divide it into zones. Do you use the garage to park your car, or is that a goal that’s important to you? Do you store recreational equipment (like bikes or kayaks) in your garage? What about gardening supplies and tools, or home improvement items?   

Thinking vertical is key in the garage, particularly if you’re attempting to park your car there. What is on the floor now? Could these items be stored on the walls? 

You may want to invest in some additional storage items, such as floor-to-ceiling utility shelves, hooks and pegboards. Wall and ceiling racks work well for hanging bikes and other sports equipment. You can even attach ladders, shovels and rakes to a wall rack. Transparent storage bins can help you categorize items and see them easily. Remember to invest in safe storage for potentially hazardous items. Lockboxes help keep curious kids safe from sharp tools.

Visit your local Goodwill for storage solutions.

Get three large plastic bins – one for donated items, one for recycling, and one for things that have to be thrown away (broken items). Start your sorting process. 

Once you’ve decluttered, organize your items into zones, using your new storage solutions. Remember to create a safe storage area for paint and other potentially hazardous materials. At this point, you’ll start to feel much better about your garage!

Now that you’ve freed up floor space, give your garage a good cleaning.  Use an old, damp t-shirt on a broom to attack any areas of dust or cobwebs. Wipe down walls, and sweep and vacuum as needed.

Your garage is clean – now it’s time to garden and have fun outside!


Catherine Sweeney, APR is a professional writer and communicator affiliated with Creative Circle. She dedicates her Goodwill blog-writing in memory of her mom, an avid thrift-shopper and advocate for social change. 

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