You’ve tackled the kitchen, spruced the living room and your bedroom has become the sanctuary you always dreamed it would be. These projects, while tough, were super rewarding: they made your house look and feel the way you envisioned. You spend time there, and you enjoy every minute of it because it reflects who you are.
But not every room in your house will be so easy to overhaul — and you have probably been putting this one off for quite some time. It’s not necessarily living space, but it’s one you regularly see. It might even make you cringe to look at the disorganization, the dim lighting and the dark grey walls that give it even more of a dungeon-y vibe.
If you haven’t guessed already, the most dreaded home project of all is the one where you store your Christmas decorations, leave your muddy shoes and, of course, park your car: it’s your garage. But, sooner or later, all of those piled-up boxes and disorganized tools will get to you and you’ll have to overhaul the place. The following five tips will make that task easier — and make the space so much less of an eyesore than it is now:
1. Take Stock of Your Belongings – and Sort Them
The first step in your garage-cleaning process will have to be an inventory of all that’s stored there. This is especially true if your garage has become the go-to ditching point for all of your brown cardboard boxes full of no-one-knows-what.
Once you know what’s out there, you’ll want to sort through everything. There are likely things you can throw away, items you no longer use but are donation-ready and things that are best stored somewhere beyond the garage. What you’ll be left with are items you use and items that can be properly stored in the garage.
2. Clean the Floor
With everything cleared out of the garage, your next step in the garage-cleaning process should be scouring the floor. This can, of course, become a pretty time-consuming task, depending on the amount of oil and grease that your cars have left behind.
After sweeping up dirt and debris, use a specialty cleaner to break down and wash away the grease that’s built up. You’ll also need to pick up a heavier-duty floor cleaner than the one you use inside of your house to use after you remove stains. Once that’s done, rinse it away with a hose and let the floor air-dry.
3. Figure Out What Will Happen, Where
What do you use your garage for? Parking and storage? Woodworking and tinkering? Laundry? Shoe storage? Think about what you need the space to do for you, and figure out which activity will happen where. This will help you design storage that works for you and all of the tasks you’ll carry out from the comfort of your garage.
4. Rely on Vertical Space
Now that your floors are clean, you can move things back into the garage. First, though, you should consider installing some new reorganization structures that take advantage of the vertical space in your garage.
Take, for example, the tools you have kept in a disorganized box or pile for the past several years. Installing a pegboard onto your garage wall is an easy way to visually organize your tools so you can easily find the hammer, or the wrench, or the level… whatever it is you need will be easy for you to grab.
Your vertical storage can also include shelves on which you store boxes, wall-hung bicycle racks, holders for all of your extra-large gardening tools… the possibilities for vertical organization are nearly endless.
5. Label Everything Once It’s Re-Stored
Now that your organizational system(s) is/are in place, there’s one last step before putting everything away: labeling every single box, container and holder so that you always know what goes where.
Labeling makes it easy for you to find your Christmas decorations, winter boots or water shoes without digging through a handful of boxes that all look identical. Having a label also helps you put things away properly after using them since each item’s home will be easy to find. This is especially useful for smaller items like nails, screws, bolts, etc.: rather than having a mismatched container to dig through and find the item you need, you can keep them separate for extra efficiency.
Once everything’s labeled, you’ll find it’s easier to keep things organised and put them away when you’re done. With homes clearly marked, you won’t have any excuse not to put the shovel back in its holder, the hammer back on its peg and the extra nails back into their drawer.
Finally, It’s Functional
With a weekend spent emptying, cleaning and reorganising your garage, it’ll no longer be hanging over your to-do list. Instead, you’ll have a functional work and storage space that you might even enjoy looking at now that it’s clean and de-cluttered. And, with that, you’ll have sorted out the most dreaded home makeover of all — and, if you maintain your work, you’ll never have to helm such an overhaul again.