Dirty, grimy, messy garages are sometimes easier to just leave in peace than to try to tackle. No matter how motivated you are at times to clean out your garage, you may find yourself doing an about-face after taking just one look at the mountain of mess. If you need inspiration to get you started, here are 4 steps for bringing order to the chaos that is your garage.
No matter how motivated you might feel, what generally stops you in your tracks is a sense of helplessness that comes from not knowing what to do with all the chaos in your garage. Before you even walk out to your garage, start by exploring different means and methods of organization. This will vary depending on the purpose you plan for your garage. Do you keep sporting gear in there? Do you have all your garden tools stuffed in the corners? Do you need a place to keep your DIY supplies like paint and brushes and power tools? The approach you take to organization will need to take these kinds of questions into account first. Maybe try sketching out a rough floor plan of how you’d like your garage to be to achieve your goals.
Unfortunately for most homeowners, the garage becomes a “catch-all” space, a cluttered, disorganized, mountain of dusty, rusty items. Items you want to keep and use regularly are probably all mixed up with junk you forgot you even had, or maybe even junk that you’re conflicted about getting rid of. If you earnestly want to change your garage, the first thing you must do is get rid of all the junk. Have a garage sale, get a dumpster for a day, donate it to a local charity—do what you have to do. Purging your garage of unnecessary, unwanted items should be a short, intensive, liberating process. Plus, it’s a necessary step before proceeding to the next step; after all, there is no point to cleaning and organizing and storing items that you aren’t going to keep.
Before putting back your remaining belongings in the garage, you should take some time to clean the space. A dirty garage is a haven for pests; but a neat and tidy garage is a haven for you and your possessions. There are a number of different cleaning supplies that are created specifically for the grease heavy filth found predominantly in garages. From degreasers to stain removers, there are cleaning products that can deal with almost anything your garage floor can throw at you. If you’d like to make your own, check out this list of best homemade cleaners for some examples of heavy duty homemade cleaners. Your floor will certainly never be clean enough to eat off of, but it can be clean enough that dropping your bag or purse on the floor will not result in an indelible stain. At this stage, you should also examine your garage for any potential renovations that may be necessary.
Take a look at the remaining items you need to store. Do you need hooks to hang your bike from? Do you need new shelves for your cans of paint or for your car maintenance supplies? Do you need plastic stacking bins for books? Or maybe a magnetic strip for your garden tools? There are many creative solutions for storing your items in the garage depending on the kind of item. Whether you install shelves, overhead racks, or custom cabinetry, designing great garage storage will not only give you a place to put all your stuff, but will also help keep it from slowly descending back into chaos within just a few week’s time.
While some people may spend thousands of dollars doing garage conversions suitable for entertaining, you may just want a neat, tidy place to store your car and other household items. Whatever your needs, these days there are a wide range of products to meet them. The key, however, is to start by making a plan. As the old saying goes, “if you fail to plan, plan to fail.