Uncluttered garages present serious safety risks, not to mention being magnets for rodents, bug and mildew growth. Now is an opportune time to conduct a comprehensive deep clean of your garage space. In the following article, I’ll go over some tips and tricks to getting it done before calling in the rubbish removers.
How to Clean Your Cluttered Garage
An untidy garage can become much more than just a place to store your car or yard tools; it can become a breeding ground for spiders, mice and other vermin, leading to mold and mildew issues. The first step should be clearing everything out; depending on its size this could take one day or even several weekends of intensive effort removing large items like vehicles and storage units before placing them outside on tarps to protect from onlookers and springtime rain showers.
Once the bulky items have been cleared out of your garage, it's time for some deep cleaning. Start from top down, using a broom to sweep away cobwebs before dusting shelves and cabinets as needed. For any cabinets or workbenches with slat wall panels you may be able to wipe down with damp cloth or sponge, while otherwise purchasing an appropriate cleaner (one that says “water based”).
Once your garage is clean of clutter, divide its contents into piles: Donate Sell, Keep and Trash. Sort unneeded items such as boxes of books into the donate pile while broken or worn-out objects should go on sale or trash piles. Also don't forget to empty out recycling bins regularly and dispose of hazardous substances responsibly–paint, motor oil and fertilizers can wreak havoc on both the environment and driveway.
1. Start with a Clean Slate
An unorganized garage often results from items left lying around after use, making it imperative that everything finds its proper home. Doing this will keep things more organized and cleaner over time instead of needing to tackle an extensive garage cleaning every few years. Keeping items where they belong makes finding what you need easier while helping prevent clutter from gathering in your space.
Garages can easily become the repository for items without an obvious place to go, including suitcases that no longer fit in closets, old rollerblades no longer used by children and even sewing machines you haven't used recently. Over time these things can accumulate, creating a mess that is difficult to manage.
Make the most of National Clean out Your Garage Day by clearing everything out of your garage and placing it outside on your driveway or yard for easier viewing. This will give you a fresh perspective and enable you to assess how much clutter lurks within.
Once you've collected everything, set aside what you plan to keep before sorting the remainder into piles: keep, donate/sell and eliminate. Be ruthlessly honest as you go through each pile: consider whether each item really serves a purpose – for instance old sports equipment you still keep around just in case your children decide they want to try new activities might be better off being donated or sold off at local sporting goods stores instead.
Once your sorting efforts have concluded, take another tour through your garage and clean any surfaces or cupboards that require it. Warm water mixed with some soap or an effective cleaner/scrub brush are often sufficient to wipe down walls, tables, shelves and other storage units before wiping with disinfectant spray or wipes to sanitize surfaces such as work benches.
Don't forget to clean out the garage regularly, including its garbage cans and recycle bins as well as any outdoor furniture or toys you keep there. As these can harbor mildew growth, be sure to give these spaces their proper attention by cleaning regularly.
2. Create a System
Your garage can serve as an invaluable space for storing sporting equipment, bikes and tools that don't fit inside of your house – such as sporting gear, bikes and tools. But allowing it to become disorganized will only lead to items becoming harder to locate or unsafe to use; according to this article, it could draw in bugs and rodents who gnaw at valuable items as well as water or fire damage to ceilings and walls, eliminating this clutter will decrease its dangers and keep things organized.
First, divide the contents of your garage into three categories: keep, toss and donate. This will give you a clear understanding of what's actually needed in there and you can begin thinking of ways to best organize what remains: bins or pegboard over workbench provide convenient storage solutions for tools like nails and screws; clearly labeled containers will make finding what you need more straightforward; keeping these off the floor protects items against moisture damage.
Clean all surfaces you plan to keep, such as tables and shelving that you plan on keeping clean by using disinfecting spray, vinegar and water solution or disinfecting wipes to sanitize. This will prevent mildew and mold growth as well as eliminate germ-filled environments such as door handles, light switches or children's outdoor toys that harbor germs.
Cleaning the walls of your garage should always begin from top down, to avoid leaving dirtier residue behind on sections that have already been cleaned. A ladder may come in handy for reaching higher parts of the wall.
Once your walls are clean, you can begin reorganizing your garage. Group items together that are similar for easy identification; this will also prevent items from getting misplaced in the chaos. For instance, if your child owns lots of sports equipment like soccer or volleyball balls that might otherwise get misplaced. An athletic slat wall may make finding them simpler – for instance.
3. Donate or Sell
Organization experts often recommend adhering to the one year rule when decluttering – dispose of anything you haven't used in one year. When organizing your garage, this provides an ideal opportunity to follow this advice and ensure everything in your “keep pile” is truly valued and used by you and/or loved by family members.
Items like broken lawn tools, worn out clothing or outgrown children's sports equipment could all be donated directly or via non-profits to daycare centers needing outdoor toys and equipment donations.
Donating or selling garage items can be an excellent way to both clear out space and gain extra money! Just be careful not to sell anything that could potentially harm others or recalled or toxic products – check with local donation centers for their policy regarding what items they accept and don't.
Once your garage has been cleared out and organized, it's time to clean! Start by sweeping the floors with a large push or corn broom; this will remove much of the junk that has accumulated on them and provide an opportunity for you to start fresh with concrete cleaning.
After you've swept, vacuum your garage floor and walls. You can also hire removal services, like Ridly Junk Removal that will come and do the hard work for you. This will help remove some of the dust that has collected over time while making it easier for you to see what needs to be done once your cleaning efforts have concluded.
Next, mix water and laundry detergent or heavy-duty cleaner (use one-third cup per gallon of warm water) to wipe down the walls, while scrubbing the ground with hot soapy water to get it as clean as possible before opening your door and any windows to let in fresh air. Once this step is completed, allow air into the garage by opening all doors and windows!
Do not neglect cleaning tables, work benches and shelving surfaces as well. Most rubbish removal companies suggest the use of a cleaning spray or mildew-fighting detergent in combination with a microfiber cloth to effectively tackle dirtier surfaces. Alternatively, consider disinfecting the area using either vinegar and water solution or disinfectant spray in order to sanitize and kill any mold or mildew that may have formed on any of them.
Sanitize any tools or rags left behind in your garage with disinfecting wipes, an ounce of Trisodium Phosphate (TSP) mixed into 1 gallon of water or bleach; wear protective eye gear, gloves and mask when using this product.
Once your garage is clean and organized, commit to keeping it that way! By placing things back where they belong as soon as you're finished using them and donating items you no longer require, your garage can remain looking its best and functioning for you every day. Keep a sturdy ladder handy so returning items to high shelves won't be so challenging; additionally consider keeping containers of white vinegar, baking soda or kitty litter handy as odor absorbers if your garage tends to smell!