Cleaning Up Your Garage

Cleaning up your garage: Some tips on how to clean out and organize your garage.

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Cleaning up you garage- Organizing pros estimate that only 30 percent of us store our cars in the garage. The reason? Too much stuff. These garage storage ideas will help you get rid of anything you don’t need.

  1. Set aside at least a full day, or even a full weekend or two, to get the job done.
  1. Make decluttering a family project and invite over a few friends to pitch in, and it’ll go a lot faster.
  1. Go through absolutely everything, including boxes you didn’t unpack when you moved in—you never know where that family heirloom might be lurking.
  1. Sort all items into three piles: (1) keep, (2) donate or sell, and (3) toss. Lay them on dedicated tarps or mark off areas of your driveway with chalk and place them there.

What should get the boot: outgrown toys, items that are broken beyond repair, expired household chemicals (which may need special disposal), and anything you haven’t used in two years or more. If you have a hard time letting go of things that have sentimental value, snap pictures as keepsakes.

  1. Sort the keepers into broad categories (for example, sports equipment, hand tools), and place them in well-marked cardboard boxes or, better yet, stackable clear-plastic bins you can use later. Put the keepers back in the garage for now.
  2. As soon as possible, donate giveaways and schedule a yard sale to get rid of castoffs. If you’ve got too much trash or leftover items from your yard sale, use a service such as Abelia Services (www.abeliasrvcs.com); simply contact us to schedule pickup and disposal (fees vary).

Things to Store Elsewhere

  • Paint- Extreme cold or heat can ruin it. Store cans in a more temperate area.
  • Propane – A spark could ignite the fumes. Tanks should always be kept outdoors.
  • Refrigerator – It’s a huge energy drain in spaces that are not air-conditioned.
  • Paper goods – They’re a magnet for roaches and other bugs. Move them to your pantry.
  • Pet food – Critters will sniff it out. Keep it in a sealed container inside.

The Single Most-Important Clutter-Busting Tip 

Keep items off the floor whenever possible. You’ll free up much more room for your car and avoid sloppy, impossible-to-sort-through piles. If you purchase ready-made shelving units or cabinets, make sure they’re raised on legs so that you can clean the floor beneath them easily.

Why Open Shelves are Usually Better Than Closed Cabinets

 Shelves are less expensive, easier to access (you don’t need additional clearance to swing the doors open), and let you easily scan what you’ve stored. Cabinets with doors give you an excuse to stay disorganized because you can hide the evidence, so they can quickly become messy. Use them sparingly—like when the things you’re storing need to be protected from airborne dust and dirt.

Use Overhead Space Wisely

 The garage ceiling is a great spot for hanging long, flat stuff you don’t use every day, such as ladders and seasonal sports gear. Make sure that any shelves you hang from the ceiling don’t interfere with your garage door’s operation and that there is enough clearance to avoid scraping the roof of your car.

Keep It Clean for Good

  • In spring and summer, keep insects at bay with a pesticide that relies on natural ingredients.
  • Keep a bag of kitty litter handy for absorbing oil and grease spills. Place a broom and dustpan or a handheld vacuum near your workbench to tidy up after working on projects.
  • Hose down the floor regularly.
  • At least once a year, weed through your belongings and sell, donate, or toss what you don’t need.

Safety Tips/ Must-Have Storage Products: 

  • Most of us store lawn-mower gas in the garage, so be prepared for a fire. Get a 5- to 10-pound U.L.–listed extinguisher and mount it in an easy-to-access spot. It should carry an ABC rating, certifying that it’s effective against wood, oil, and electrical fires.
  • Though we’re sure you know to open the garage door when your car’s engine is running (right?), installing a carbon monoxide detector will give you added peace of mind.
  • Check your garage-door opener to make sure it has a U.L.–listed motor and an auto-stop feature that will prevent the door from closing in case a child or pet tries to sneak underneath.
  • A lockable cabinet for storing lawn chemicals and other stuff you don’t want your kids to get into.
  • A portable label maker so that you don’t have to decipher sloppy handwriting.

Your car is often times a five-figure investment. Why leave it exposed outdoors to nature? Clean up your garage in to provide more safety for your investment indoors.

Credit: This Old House and  Wiki How.

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