Garage Cleaning Tips For The Overwhelmed
Garage Cleaning Tips For The Overwhelmed - Ever feel like your garage has reached the point of no return? Learn how you can tame the chaos and clean up your garage in just six easy steps!
I dont know how it works in your house, but in our garage, the garage is the collector of all the things we dont know what to do with the boxes of stuff for Goodwill. Unsaved holiday decorations. Half finished project. Pile of scrap wood.
Garage Cleaning Tips For The Overwhelmed
Bowling balls and tennis rackets and roller blades. Tools and recycling and bikes and gardening supplies, and, obviously, a bucket full of car wash supplies, even though we havent washed our car in at least four years. (Thats what thunderstorms are for, right?)
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It is the place in the house where we can close the door and forget about it, and so, often, we do. But the chaos is always there, lurking in the background, haunting us. And as much as wed like to pretend it doesnt exist, a messy garage can be a huge source of stress.
Actually, after 11 years of struggling with it, fighting, hiding it, complaining about it, and pretending it didnt exist, we finally decided we couldnt take it anymore. Enough is enough! We enlisted the help of Closet Made, which calls itself Organization Nation, to document the entire process as part of its new web series. Its a really fun process-even if its exhausting!
And you know what? Cleaning it wasnt as bad as we feared, and it didnt take as long as we thought! Organizing and cleaning out your garage may seem overwhelming, but if you attack it with a plan, you can probably get most of the work done in a day or two.
Pick a day when the weather is on your side and move everything out of your garage and into your driveway or backyard. Tackling one corner at a time seems productive, but honestly? Just getting everything will help you evaluate what you have, keep an eye on dirt levels and stay motivated to prevent too many things from going back to their old place.
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Gather supplies of towels, buckets, brooms and cleaning sprays. You may also want to have a tape measure and some large, sturdy trash bags or trash cans to help with the problem.
Once everything is out of the garage, its time to start sorting everything into piles: keep, donate/sell and get rid of. Clear it once, then go back to the save pile and clean it again.
Ask yourself if the item is something youll use again or something you used last year - be realistic and honest. Grabbing those paddles because you think your kids might want to use them or a tennis racket that needs re-stringing? These are the things that cause confusion. There are many sporting goods stores that will buy back equipment or sell it on consignment. You can even make a little profit that the whole family will love.
When it comes to tools, consider what you use most often and what can be borrowed or rented. This is a tough one, because many of us (and many husbands) like to be Bob the Builder or Rosie the Riveter and tend to hoard tools. If your husband is really a craftsman, and especially if its a hobby, then by all means, let him have a tool bench / workstation area, but keep it organized and useful.
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Damaged items or items that are rusted or past their useful life can be thrown away immediately. Give yourself permission to let go and stop keeping things in the hopes that one day youll be around to fix them.
If youre a gardener, keep rust-free versions of every tool you use most often. Discard seeds older than a year (most wont germinate before then and insects love them), and make sure all pots and planting supplies (including tomato cages, hoses and gardening decorations) are dry before storing. clean and free from dirt and moisture.
Car repair items and cleaning supplies should be evaluated for use and potential. Some car fluids have expiration dates, so storing them can be a fire hazard. Always clean up any oil spills and do not allow them to accumulate, as they are flammable. Chemicals, paints and other items that have outlived their usefulness should be disposed of using proper channels. Contact your local recycling and waste management or municipality to find out how to safely dispose of chemicals in your area.
Depending on what you have in your garage and what you need to store, you may be faced with some interesting storage dilemmas. It seems that almost everything in the garage is oddly shaped-either very, very large and heavy (like weed trimmers, chainsaws, or sports equipment) or very, very small and easily lost (like nails, screws, bits, or gardening markers ).
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Working with Closet Maid, we were introduced to their heavy duty garage storage system, which is amazing! Wire racks allow for airflow (important in Florida!), theyre easy to install, and the racks are adjustable so you can reconfigure them the way you want them.
For tools, we find box collections work well; Many other organizational experts recommend using peg boards on work tables. Small, clearly marked jars work well for sorting your tools and various odds and ends. Larger items such as saws and power tools can be stored in the shelves. Tool boxes should be kept off the floor and away from moisture.
Baseball bats, rackets, balls and larger sporting goods store well in ball bins, large bins or even reusable bins. If you organize carefully to minimize only what you need, you can arrange everything neatly on a shallow shelf. (Deep closets create magical abysses where things disappear.)
Lift bikes, kayaks and other large items off the floor to protect them from damage. Hang it on a ceiling hook that is fastened tightly to support beams in the garage. Hanging large items such as ladders, shovels, rakes and other tools will also keep the ground free of clutter and provide a safe place for each item to rest. (We all want to keep things from falling on kids or cars!)
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Think about the storage options you need and evaluate what you have. Gather all the storage containers and hooks and set them up to hold the rest of your now clean garage gear.
The garage bears the brunt of the worst weather. Often they are not heated or cooled and fluctuations in temperature and humidity can cause mold, cracks, leaks and other problems. Since most of us dont spend a lot of time in the garage, many of these issues may go unnoticed until they become difficult to fix.
With everything out of the garage, really inspect any areas that may need fixing or touching up. Cover any cracks with spray foam or sealant and consider spraying on a Lexill protective layer or other flexible coating.
Its also time to check the wiring around your garage and make sure nothing is chewed up or poses a fire hazard. Look for anything that might come up and call a professional if necessary.
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Clean the gutters around your garage and be sure to look for signs of water damage. This is also a good time to check the lighting, locks and seals around your windows. Not only do you want to ensure weather protection, but also protection from intruders.
Use that broom! Wear a mask. (A garage can hold mouse droppings, bugs, chemicals and all sorts of things you dont want to inhale.) Clean all corners, wash walls and make sure everything is dust free. This will prevent all dirt from entering your home later.
Not all of us are ready to put down an epoxy floor coating in the garage, but if you can afford it, its an investment that will help make things feel more finished. If you have an oil spill on the floor, cat litter works well to absorb it and keep the floor looking its best. Consider putting down an inexpensive garage floor protector or a piece of indoor/outdoor carpet or rug to protect against future damage.
A simple coat of white latex paint will keep things looking fresh and also help prevent mildew. Caulk around the window and seal any cracks or leaks. You dont need to sew curtains or put up wall stickers, but if you feel inclined to add a simple decorative touch, it will help you feel an extension of your home mentality and keep things clean in the future. can help
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Now that youve got a nice, clean, fresh garage, restock your essentials and organize your areas-tools, sports equipment, auto repair, storage (in a few clearly marked bins) and gardening
If you store trash and recycling in your garage, make sure you place items in bags, tightly closed, and closed.
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