Garages often seem to be the catchall location for stuff that needs to be stored. If your car stays outside because the inside of your garage looks like an episode of Hoarders, let’s get this project started stat!
- Cleaning Supplies
- Trisodium Phosphate
- Wet/Dry Vacuum
- Scrubbing Brush
Step 1: Pull Everything Out (yes, you read that right!):
In order to get organized, you need to move everything out of the garage. So this is a great project for spring and fall when the weather is delish and you just HAVE to be outside.
Decide what you need to purge and what you will keep.
Toss broken items and sell anything of value that you no longer use.
Get rid of anything you haven’t used in a couple of years or more.
Hold a garage or yard sale to make some money from the items you need to get rid of. Remember, you can take the proceeds of the sale to buy storage solutions for the stuff you keep.
Step 2: Clean it up!
Your garage should be empty as can be now and that floor looks like it needs a good scrubbing. You in?
Use a wet/dry vacuum to eliminate cobwebs and other debris.
Clean the insides of garbage bins and the areas around them with soap and water.
Get an oil-enhanced sweeping compound to quickly sweep away dust from the floor (don’t pooh-pooh this step, this is some pretty amazing stuff).
You can get rid of grease and oil spots with TWO DIY options:
- Cat litter and some cola – Pour the cola directly on the stain then sprinkle with cat litter. The acid in the cola will break up the grease (No way! Way!); the cat litter will absorb it. Sweep up with a broom and dustpan and voila!
- Apply a laundry pre-treating solution and let it set for 5 to 10 minutes. Add a little laundry detergent and scrub with a stiff brush. Wipe up residue with paper towels. Waters True Value also has concrete and asphalt cleaner that will make that floor look brand new!
Next, mop the garage floor with a solution of hot water, bleach and powdered laundry detergent mixed in a bucket. Use a push broom to scrub the floor. When you’re done, rinse any residue with a garden hose fitted with a spray nozzle.
For more intense cleaning, add trisodium phosphate (TSP) to a bucket of hot water and clean the entire floor with a mop. (be sure to follow the directions caaaarefuuullly.) Wear protective eyewear and rubber gloves.
Step 3: Put it all Back Jack
Reorganize the things you want to keep into different groups. Sorting similar items together: auto parts, tools, sports and camping gear, etc. This will organize everything until it’s time to store them. It will also separate your garage into useable areas. Dividing your garage into sections will give you the option to set up a workshop and still have room for your vehicle and organized storage. (wait…what? I thought we were just making room for my car. Bonus!)
As you organize, keep your eye out for potential safety hazards. Store or dispose of chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides properly. If you have young children, purchase a lockable storage cabinet for all dangerous items such as power tools, paints, chemicals and solvents.
Garages have more wall space than floor space, so look for wall solutions — and even ceiling solutions.
Shelves are a must and come in all sorts of sizes and durable materials perfect for a garage. Find ones that has adjustable shelf heights. Remember to put heavier items on the bottom.
If you have small children, be mindful when stacking items too high and always attach your shelving to the wall it’s up against. Not sure how? Talk to one of our experts at Waters and tell them what shelf you’re using and what you’ll be securing it to. They’ll have you in and out of the store in no time…and you can park in your garage when you get home!
Plastic storage containers are durable and highly adaptable for whatever purpose you need them. They’re also stackable and can have airtight lids so that things stay dry and dust-free for years (years? yes, years.).
If you have exposed rafters, purchase a sheet of plywood that fits the dimensions of the space and create a loft area to store camping gear, Christmas decorations or other items you need to keep but are too bulky or used too infrequently to store anywhere else.
Hanging items from hooks is another good way to eliminate clutter. Simply secure them to wall studs or ceiling rafters. You can hang items such as luggage, gardening tools, ladders, bicycles, toys, etc. Hooks are way easier to install if you first drill a hole that’s slightly smaller than the hook’s screw. When adding hooks to concrete walls, drill holes, insert plastic wall anchors then screw in the hooks.
We’ll be honest, a clean garage is hard work. It’s a big undertaking. But we believe in you! You can do it!
A weekend of cleaning in the fresh air for a year of organized bliss – worth it!
(you’ve worked hard enough already, don’t reinvent the wheel. Check out our Pinterest board where we’ve accumulated some amazing garage organizational tips)