3 Tips for a Clean and Clutter-Free Garage

I really have to hand it to my husband: in a few hours, he transformed our garage. On his own initiative, he set up laundry station, cleared out the stash of stuff for Goodwill, and made our garage look like that of our neighbor's—navigable and, dare I say clean, for the first time. These three tips (and maybe a little elbow grease) can make the same thing happen in your garage or storage space.

Like many folks, the garage is our largest storage space. Someday we long to park a car in there, and we might be close. It's taken nearly a year, but here are a few tips that helped us through the process.

1. Divide and conquer. The garage can seem daunting to any one person. Cleaning it was an item on our to-do list for a long time, and we both tackled it in phases. There's more organizing to go, but with each go at it we've made big progress and haven't gotten burned out on the project.

2. By far the most helpful tip, which we picked up from an HGTV show years ago, is to make three piles: keep, donate, and discard. The discard pile only held old cans of dry paint, and items that couldn't be upcycled or donated. From there, it was an exercise in what to store for ourselves (bicycles, rollerblades!, canning tools, touch-up paints, etc.) and what to donate (clothes, sports gear, and the like).

3. Follow the "organize, then containerize" rule. If I'd been at the helm, I would have bought a number of unnecessary boxes before organizing. Instead, my husband carefully planned and carved out specific areas of the garage that needed a pick-me-up, like the laundry area, and only purchased what was absolutely needed. By doing some organization beforehand, we eliminated the need for additional containers—less wasteful indeed.

For more nitty-gritty garage cleaning tips, turn to this post from last spring. And be sure to share your own!

(Image: Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan)

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