The garage is a home’s number-one dumping ground. From gardening equipment to recycling, a garage can go from clean to chaotic in the blink of a winter’s eye.
I loved being a featured expert in this Martha Stewart post 10 Tips That’ll Make Spring Cleaning Your Garage a Breeze. It inspired me to blog about my all-time favorite garage spring cleaning and de-cluttering tips. Enjoy–and let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
It’s tempting on a warm spring day to haul out a cluttered winter garage. But before you remove anything, take stock of what has built up since last year. Common clutter culprits include overflow recycling, extra furniture and items that need to be tossed, like broken electronics and empty paint cans.
Make a list of tasks, then back your car out and get to work. Do easy things first, like bringing recyclables to the curb, or tagging items for a spring tag sale. Just like inside our homes, garages should house items that are in active use. So, keep an eye out for items you haven’t used in years, like obsolete sports gear (or any of these common 12 household items) and prepare to let them go.
When it comes to the garage, the best type of storage is any shelving that goes up. A garage with a parked car or two is tight, so use your walls, and even ceilings, best you can to maximize space. Ideal options are open metal or wire shelving systems. And if square footage is an issue, use a peg board with hooks for vertical wall hanging.
There’s nothing more frustrating than a bike leaning precariously against a garage wall. So if you can, mount bikes on wall hooks so they hang vertically, making it easier and safer to park. As for sports equipment? Hang golf bags, tennis racquets and skateboards on wall hooks as well. And tuck soccer, tennis and basketballs in hanging mesh bags or on a shelf hung at eye level for quick access.
Create a Gardening Zone
The garage is an ideal spot to store gardening equipment. Most gardening tools have handles, so hang shovels and trowels on the wall to save space and keep items off the floor. If you can, store soil, pots and planters on a potting shelf. Or store them in a wheel barrel so they can easily be pulled outside in warm weather.
That said, if you are an active gardener–and have lawn space–consider investing in a gardening shed. There are great options out there including plastic, metal and wood. It might feel like a big step, but you’ll breathe a sigh of relief having gardening equipment freed from your garage.
I’m not a rules-based organizer, but I do like to create systems that improve lives. When it comes to the garage, craft a few systems that work for your lifestyle. For example, cardboard boxes stay for a month, then it’s ‘use or lose’. Or, label hooks and pegboards stations then tell yourself –and your family–everything has a home, so after you use it, put it back where it lives.
Whatever systems you create, test them, tweak them, then stick to them year-round. Doing so go will go a long way towards keeping your garage from cluttering up again next year.
Your garage should be good for awhile after a good spring clean. Things may build back up after a home renovation project, or when the season changes again in fall. Just stay mindful year-round about what you bring into your garage.
My top tip is to avoid storing furniture in the garage longterm. It’s OK for a few months, but extreme temperature conditions can affect both wood and veneer furniture. Damp, cold or humid conditions can lead to cracks and mold. If you really need to, wrap it carefully (furniture covers, drop cloths, plastic wrap and blankets are good). But check on it annually, to make sure damage hasn’t set in.
Have you spring cleaned your garage this season? Share in the comments below!