If you are like many people, your garage does a better job of storing clutter than it does storing your vehicle. All of it mysteriously finds its way to the garage, from holiday decorations to sports equipment to cardboard boxes full of random stuff. If you are tired of not finding what you need and struggling to squeeze around the items in your garage as you get out of your car, read on. You’ll learn practical tips for how to declutter your garage without feeling overwhelmed or giving up.
How to declutter a garage step by step
Step 1: Analyze What You Keep in the Garage
For a functional garage space, it is essential first to analyze what is inside it. Depending on the size and layout of your garage, you can keep many different things there. As you explore how much space you have, think about what will work best and what items can safely be stored in the garage. For example, equipment, cleaning supplies, or seasonal decorations can be stored in the garage.
It is essential to consider what you plan to keep in the garage to be realistic about the amount of space you’ll have. You’ll also want to get a feel for which items you use most frequently. For example, things only needed once per year, such as holiday decorations, do not need to be as easily accessed as items you use regularly but do not have room for in your house.
Step 2: Figure Out an Organization System That Works
After analyzing what you plan to store in the garage, the next step is to figure out an organization system that will work best. For example, consider using the vertical space, especially along the walls. You may also want to consider organizing your garage using plastic bins or shelves. Items that need to be within easy reach should be appropriately labeled and stored in a manner that makes them easily accessible.
Similarly, you may have a wall storage system to keep tools or paint. Shelving can go a long way in organizing a garage in a way that allows you to store items efficiently. Ultimately, however, the goal is not just to organize all the stuff kept in the garage. The better option is to declutter to know what is stored there and can quickly locate it without getting frustrated.
Step 3: Remove All of the Items from the Garage
The third step is to remove all the items you are planning to go through. You may choose to focus on just a section of the garage at a time, or you may prefer to spend a full weekend tackling the project in its entirety. Regardless, you will need to remove the items so that you can go through them and declutter and implement an organization system in your garage.
If you want a clean garage, you need enough space to go through your items. Take it one box or one area at a time. Then, once the items are removed, you will easily see what you have. Your findings may surprise you. “When did I buy that?,” “Why do I have three of these?,” and “How did this paint dry out so quickly?” are just a sample of the questions that may pop into your head.
Step 4: Separate Your Items into Four Piles
As you remove items from the garage, separate them into four piles: 1) keep, 2) sell or give away, 3) trash, and 4) reconsider.
The keep pile is for the items you know you want to keep. These should be items you use regularly and do not want to lose.
The sell or give away pile is for items you do not plan to keep. If the item still has life left in it, but you no longer need it, you can choose to either give it away to someone else who has a use for it or sell it. You will probably find many items that you forgot about as you go through your garage. This is a great time to set items aside for a garage sale or sell online.
Some of the stuff you come across in your garage will need to be thrown away. Items that are broken or old and beyond repair can be tossed in the trash. There is no need to keep things that are not usable and just take up space.
Finally, I also suggest you have a pile of items that you are just not sure about. Maybe you think you might use it, but you are not sure. Having a “reconsider” pile allows you to defer making that decision now.
I recommend setting a deadline for revisiting the items to see if you have actually used any of them. For example, maybe reconsider in 3 or 6 months. When that time comes, and you know whether you have used the item, that may help you decide whether to keep it, trash it, or get rid of it.
Step 5: Implement the New Organization System
After going through your items and decluttering, now is the time to implement the new organization system. Based on your garage space configuration, you have numerous options. For example, you could choose to make use of the garage ceiling space around the garage doors.
This overhead space is often underutilized and is excellent for items you do not need regular access to. One example would be seasonal decorations that you only plan to access one time per year.
Plastic bins can be super helpful in organizing your garage, especially the see-through kind. However, if you have solid-colored bins, be sure to properly label them on the end so that you can quickly locate the plastic crate you are looking for when the time comes.
Another good solution is to use shelves to organize items such as paint, tools, or wood pieces for future projects. There are many storage options available to help you manage your garage. The most important thing to keep in mind is that it is your own home, and you need to implement a system that will work for you and your stuff.
Be cautious about your use of the floor space in the garage. You want to have an accessible walkway that is free of clutter with room to get in and out of your car. Consider hanging items in the garage instead.
Tips for Decluttering a Garage
Garages can quickly get so filled with clutter that there is no space for cars. However, by implementing these tips, you can organize your garage in a clutter-free manner without needing to rent a storage unit to hold all your extra stuff. Practical storage solutions do not have to be expensive either and there can be plenty of room for cars with ample floor space once you declutter garage space.
Be realistic about what you need to keep. Consider when you last used an item and how you might use it again in the coming months. Do not let your garage be a catch-all for everything. It’s important to make solid decisions about what should stay and go.
Avoid “I Might Use it Someday…”
Sure, you may someday need the item. But is it likely? The simplest method for this is whether you have used it in the last two years. If not, get rid of it. Is it worth it to you to hold on to an item that you may possibly need at some point in the distant future or would you rather free up the space in your garage now?
Store Like Items Together
To declutter and organize your garage more efficiently, you need to store similar items together. This will allow you to see if you have duplicates of an object or things that you often do not use. A big part of getting organized is keeping what you need in an easy way to find.
How often have you delayed starting a project because you could not find all the necessary tools? Or had to buy something because you could not find the one you had? Decluttering and implementing a better organization system can help with this. For example, if there is room, consider a wall with an open shelf so that you can easily see what you have and quickly find what you need.
Consider Whether an Item Should be in the House
Avoid making your garage the dumping ground for things you just do not want to deal with in the house. When you open the garage door, you should not be met with a sense of panic or fear. Instead, be intentional about using the space effectively and keeping it tidy. Some items may be better suited to be stored inside. If so, you can consider door organizers that hang over the door as an option to help add some storage indoors as well easily.
Decluttering Garage FAQ
How do you declutter a messy garage?
The decluttering process begins with analyzing your space and ideally planning to use it. Then, remove the items you currently have in your garage and go through them to decide what you will keep, what you need to trash, and what can be given away or sold.
What is the cheapest way to organize a garage?
The cheapest way to organize your garage is to use items you already have on hand to provide more efficient organization and storage such as boxes or plastic crates. Shelves can also be relatively inexpensive but provide an easy-to-use organization system that makes it easy to store items and find them quickly.
What is the best way to organize my garage?
The best way to organize a garage is to remove everything and then decide what to keep. Next, consider how often you need access to the items as you determine whether you should keep them on the garage floor, hang them, or place them on shelving units within the garage.
Where do you start when organizing a garage?
The first step to tacking garage clutter is to be realistic about what you need and what you can get rid of. Decluttering is more than just reorganizing what you have. It also involves deciding to get rid of some items – either throw it out if it is past its useful life or have a yard sale or give it away if others could still use the item.
How do I clean and declutter my garage?
Cleaning and decluttering your garage can be a family project. Go through the items you have in the garage, decide whether it is useful to keep, and develop a practical and functional organization system. Garages often keep more than just a car, but you do not want to waste all of the space on junk you are ignoring or do not use. Grab a trash can and be realistic about what you actually need to hang onto.
What can I get rid of in my garage?
If you have not used an item in the past year, you can probably get rid of it. Outgrown toys or stuff that was free but not used are also easy to toss. If you have a hard time letting something go, consider a shelf or a designated space in your garage to keep it for a set amount of time. If you have not used it by the deadline, get rid of it.
Don’t forget to get our full decluttering checklist so you can do your whole house when you have time.
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