2011 Organizing Guide: De-Clutter the Garage

Is your garage dedicated to vehicle storage only or do you, like many of us, make use of the wall space, ceiling, loft (if you have one) and corners for extra storage? Do you find that some of the house from the clutter finds its way out there…out of sight and out of mind. And out of mind can mean that things you should be letting go build up too long.

Now is a great time to step out into the garage and take a look around: what’s sitting out there that you don’t need, or could even be hazardous?

Do you have old chemicals, pesticides or paint cans that are just hanging around? Reduce the risk of exposure (such as the bottom of cans rusting with you unaware) and gather those items up and take them to your hazardous waste disposal site. Collecting these items in a plastic tote can protect the surfaces of your vehicle while transporting them.

Tip: check with your city/county waste department to see if you need to make a drop-off appointment to prevent a wasted trip.

Do you hang on to cardboard boxes? Even disassembled and flattened, cardboard boxes can take up a lot of space, and no matter how convenient it may seem to have them on hand, there will always be more. Recycle any that you aren’t going to need right away.

If you’re a gardener the plastic pots from nurseries can also pile up some of which aren’t easily recycled but many nurseries take these back to re-use them – cleaning those out could be a great excuse to visit the nursery and dream about your summer gardening plan.

Toys and sports equipment also tend to end up in the garage – look for ways to get those items up off the floor. Ceiling hooks, storage cabinets, and bins can remove obstacles you’ve been tripping over and help keep things dust and mildew during the off-season.

Assess the number of tools in your garage. Have you collected multiples that you don’t need because you couldn’t find a tool the last time you needed it? Take your extras to a reuse-it store for cash, or donate to a charity that restores or builds homes for the less fortunate. Then organize your tool area so you don’t pick up extras again.

Once you’ve gotten rid of the items you don’t need, organize what’s left with help from this article “What’s in YOUR Garage?” If you have a smaller space – consider this idea to maximize it: “Making Strange Spaces Usable .”

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