Clearing out the garage can be a strenuous task. Think back – where do you need to store items you can’t store in your house? The garage. Where’s your old school memorabilia? The garage. Even your old clothes are probably in the garage.
Your garage becomes the home of all your clutter, which you’ve unknowingly collected over the years. But don’t worry, you aren’t the only one. We’ve all been there. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you clear out the garage efficiently.
Before you start though, make sure you’ve set some time aside. Because as much as you might be hoping it is, clearing out the garage is no two-second job. Depending on the size of your garage and how much you’ve been collecting over the years, it’s going to take some time. Perhaps set aside one or two days to ensure that you have enough time and energy to get the job done in one go. If you have some friends or family that could help too, let them know the date and make it a party!
1. Get organised
The first step when it comes to clearing out your garage, is to divide the garage up into sections and start getting everything out. Start placing items out onto the driveway or garden. You want to identify what it is that you’ve been hiding in there for all these years. This will also allow you to examine ruthlessly what items you’re dealing with, what to do with them and what storage space you’ll have in the garage if you do decide to keep them.
2. Have a ‘keep’ criteria
And this is possibly the hardest step, because if you’re anything like me, you won’t want to get rid of anything. But you need to be strict on yourself. If you can’t, get in outside help by asking a kind but bossy friend to oversee the clear out with you. If you’re struggling with a decision, think back on whether you’ve used the items within the last six months, if items are in working condition or if they’re something – like tools – that although you don’t use regularly, you’d struggle to live without. Asking yourself these questions can really help filter out items that you’re holding on to for no reason.
Don’t fall into the trap of just refilling your garage with everything that you’ve just taken out.
3. Dispose of the unwanted items
Once you’ve done that task, you’ll want to begin disposing of the unwanted items. The items which are no longer in use, that are just taking up much-needed space, that are broken or have been gathering dust for far too long.
If you’ve got a lot of unwanted items, you may need to hire a skip. It may seem like an additional cost and you may be tempted to think you can just take everything to the tip yourself, but be realistic. Skip hire is great for motivating you to actually get the job done. Whereas promising yourself you’ll hire a van and take some trips to the tip further down the line is just an invitation for all that junk to stay parked on your driveway, getting in the way and getting soaked every time it rains, with you never actually getting around to removing it. With a skip, the job is done and the rubbish done all in one go.
There are lots of other options too when it comes to disposing of unwanted items:
If you have items from the garage which are clean and in working condition but you just don’t need them anymore, donating them is a brilliant way to pass them on and do good at the same time. When donating a large amount of items, it’s always best to call the charity ahead of time just to make sure they’re accepting donations, or better yet, see if they offer a free collection service. Some charities even collect large items of furniture for free.
Why not make a little money from all that hard work you’re putting in? Perhaps consider selling your belongings online via eBay, Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace. They’re all great places to find buyers. You could even do a good ol’ yard sale if you don’t want to sell things online.
The final option for clearing away the clutter which cannot be donated or sold, is to throw them away. Depending on the amount you need to get rid of, you can either put them in your domestic general waste and recycling bins, or go on a tip run. But, if you’ve discovered you’ve been hoarding a lot, skip hire may be the best option.
4. Get the scrubs on
With the garage entirely cleaned out, you may have noticed all the spider webs and dirt which have accumulated. It’s a good idea at this point to scrub everywhere down before you begin putting things back inside. Give the floor a good brooming, and even the walls, to get rid of those cobwebs. Once that’s done, you may want to wipe down any shelves, refrigerators or cabinets you have left inside. After you’ve done that, give the floor a quick 2 minute brush again just to be sure everything is clean and tidy.
5. Get re-organised
You’ve cleaned out your garage, you’ve got rid of unwanted items whether it’s via donation, selling, bin or skip hire and now it’s time to put those items you do want to keep, back inside. After all your hard work, you’ll be wanting to keep things organised and tidy so you may want to invest in shelving units, cabinets or wall hooks if you haven’t got them already.
When putting items back into the garage, you should start with placing the larger items in first. They’re going to take up the most room, and you want to put them in to an appropriate place. After that, put away the seasonal items. This could be your lawn mower, summer beds, holiday decorations and your scary halloween outfits. Finally, you’ll want to replace the items you may use monthly, even weekly. You want these items to be at the front of the entrance, to allow them to be quickly found and accessed easily. No more climbing through a messy garage to get at the bikes, or car washing bucket!
Now your garage has been cleared and you’ve returned everything you’re keeping back inside nice and tidily, consider some regular maintenance to keep it that way and avoid having such a big task again in a couple of years’ time. Try not to not let the items build up again, so make it a rule that you won’t throw everything you don’t immediately need into the garage! You don’t want to be a repeat offender! And ask yourself each time you’re tempted to store something in there, if you’re really going to need it again. If not, it needs a new home elsewhere.