Texas Living

7 Steps to Spring-Clean Your Garage

By Abi Grise Morgan 3.3.22

For most homeowners, if it’s in the garage, it’s out of sight and out of mind. Which is exactly how, before you know it, your garage is busting at the seams with off-season decor, specialty tools, sports equipment, and honestly who knows what elsein deteriorating cardboard boxes and trash bags.

Take advantage of Texas’ gentler weather and do your home a favor: Clear the clutter and spring-clean your garage for good. Not only will you be able to park your car with more clearance, but you’ll have a safer haven for all your miscellaneous tools and odds and ends.

1. Take Inventory and Purge

Divide your driveway into three sections for three piles: keep, donate or yard sale, and trash. Remove everything from the garage and sort it into these three piles.

Make sure you dig into every box and drawer. Even if you think you know what’s in a box, open it — there could be a “lost” family heirloom inside! (Or that one screwdriver you really needed.)

As soon as you’re finished, take out the trash. If there’s significantly more than your curb will hold, rent a dumpster. Next, drop off your donations or host your yard sale ASAP. Bring “keepers” back into the garage for further sorting.

2. Organize

Sort the keepers.Compile related items, such as gardening equipment or hand tools, which tend to get strewn about. What shelves, boxes, and pegboards do you already own that you can reuse to consolidate loose items? Which related items need new storage containers? (You’ll come back to answer this question once you have a floor plan.)

3. Remove Hazards and Pest Magnets

Texans get the best of both winter and summer seasonal hazards; it can be blazing hot or freezing cold. Thus, storing volatile chemicals — especially those under pressure — is a recipe for disaster. Don’t store paint, varnish, or propane in your garage. Same for oily rags.

Get rid of pest magnets too. Keep pet food (and people food!) inside the house and away from temptation of rats and mice. You’ve heard the expression “snug as a bug in a rug.” Remove all old clothing, sleeping bags, rugs or carpet scraps to keep creepy-crawlies from burrowing into your winter wardrobe. Always store firewood outside, away from your home, to reduce the risk of termites.

4. Draft a Floor Plan

Measure your garage, as well as any large items housed there, such as refrigerators, trash cans, shelves, or workbenches. Sketch out the floor plan on paper or on the computer. This will inform your next move: obtaining new storage containers.

5. Invest in Vertical Storage Containers

To maximize your space, keep things off the floor as much as possible. Metal chests are perfect for hand tools, while pegboards are preferred for gardening equipment. Wooden or metal shelves are good for miscellaneous household items such as box fans or holiday decorations. Don’t forget that valuable storage space is literally over your head; you can hang large sports equipment such as kayaks or canoes from the ceiling.

6. Optimize Your Workbench

The workbench is the command center of your garage. Make sure tools are easy to reach from your chair or stool. Make outlines for them on a pegboard with chalk, for example. Label every drawer and subdivide drawers for smaller items such as screws or nails.

7. Do It Now

Spring-cleaning your garage doesn’t just feel good—it makes your home a safer space. So don’t wait. Clear out the cobwebs and potential hazards from your garage today. If you’re still riding the high of your newfound tidiness when you’re finished, declutter your whole home one room at a time.

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