While ideally your garage is used for a dedicated purpose, whether that’s protecting your car or creating a workplace, chances are that it’s gotten somewhat cluttered over time. Garages have a habit of becoming a collection place for a lot of junk, which makes a garage cleanout necessary from time to time.
Taking the time to organize your garage can help it stay cleaner longer. So no matter what the final use you’ll put it to, make sure that your next garage cleanout ends with some organization so you can extend your clean streak longer.
Garage organization is a multi-step process that will take time. Depending on the current state of the garage and how organized you want to get, you may need to plan on this process taking two to three weekends to complete. Make sure that you give yourself that time to finish, so things don’t get abandoned mid-way through.
Decide What Will Go There
While many people use their garage for holding their car, there are a lot of uses that a garage can have. It may be a craft room, a workplace, or a home gym. It can also be a place where you store certain things long term. So before you start your project, think carefully about what you want the space to ultimately be. Will it hold your car and and a craft table or will it be used primarily for storing sports equipment? Having this thought out ahead of time can help you make faster decisions in the rest of the project.
Start the Garage Cleanout
The garage cleanout is the first step to organization. Start by dividing things up into piles - things that you’ll keep, things that you’ll donate, and things that need to be disposed of. If you have enough items in the third pile, it may be worth renting a dumpster to make the process easier; you only need to walk a few feet and toss it in.
Make sure that you get the items to donate and the items to dispose of out of your garage and off your property as soon as you can. Having them sitting around will derail the rest of your project, and will likely mean that they simply go back to where they came from over time.
Once you know what you want to do with the space and you know what you’ll be keeping there, it’s time to take stock of the situation. Start with an empty garage and make a plan of how and where things will be best placed and used. For example, if you keep tools there, where will they be easily reached when you need them? How many tools do you have and how much space will they take up?
Do the same for each item that you need to use there, and think critically of how you use the space. Don’t be afraid to look up, either; there are pulley systems that can help you hold larger, seldom used items up at the top of your garage, as well as stacking shelves that can make use of vertical space.
Order Some Organizational Tools
If you have something to hold each item, and a place for each item to go that is dedicated just for it, you’ll be more likely to keep your garage clean and organized long term. To better facilitate this, you may need to invest in some organizational tools. This can include things like pegboards to hold tools and small bins, stacking shelves to hold larger items, bins to collect small items in, pulley systems to lift things like bikes and kayaks up out of the way when not in use, and dedicated chests for things like tools.
Take the time to install these items and to place your belongings in them. Labeling them is also helpful, as it can make you pause in the future to put things in the correct place, rather than simply setting them down anywhere. Labeling is also useful if multiple people use the space, as it takes the guesswork out of where things go, and belongings are less likely to become mixed up or lost.
Follow through is key with this step; make sure that everything has a place to go at the end of the project so that there’s less chance that more clutter will start to pile up.
Get Your Garage Cleanout Done Right
Rather than needing to cleanout your garage every few years, take the time to organize it right. You’ll likely find it stays cleaner longer, helping you make the most of the space long term.
Luke Hancock is Marketing Manager for Bin There Dump That, North America’s Residential Friendly dumpster rental franchise. Luke likes to share home improvement and organization tips he’s learned from professional contractors and organizers he’s connected with during his time with Bin There Dump That. Luke loves to spend time with his wife, two daughters and watching the Miami Dolphins.