Clear the Clutter: 5 Steps to Declutter Your Garage This Summer

Rose Morrison

Jun 28, 2024

Declutter Your Garage

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You straighten up your living areas and wipe down counters daily. However, over time, other parts of your home can get out of control. Decluttering your garage is a chore few people enjoy, but tackling it can give you an immediate sense of pride and satisfaction. You might even garner an “ooh” or “aah” or two from the neighbors. 

You need the right plan to tackle this area with precision and efficiency. Here’s your five-step plan to declutter your garage this summer and reclaim that space. 

1. Gather Affordable Storage and Organization Solutions   

Dragging all that stuff out in your driveway might satisfy your neighbor’s curiosity, but it won’t get you any closer to organized if you simply shove your stuff back in more neatly afterward.

Each item you keep should mean something to you or serve a specific purpose, meaning it deserves a dedicated storage space. Your garages may only offer bare walls. Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a bundle to equip your space. Consider what you might need and then try checking the following places: 

  • Thrift and resale stores
  • Yard, garage and estate sales
  • Scrap yards
  • Pawn shops 

When you know where to look and what to look for, you can often find the items you need at bargain prices. Here are a few recommended items to organize your sleek new garage. 

Pegboard

Pegboard is perfect for holding small tools like garden trowels. You can snag the board itself from the hardware store, although you might find the metal inserts at a scrapyard. 

Old Lockers

Old school lockers come pre-equipped with a handy padlock slot, so hazardous materials like antifreeze can be secured from pets, kids, and individuals who mistakenly use them, thinking they are something else. 

Shelving 

Many garages have plenty of space for tall shelves outside of the door tracks — another spot for storing hazards out of reach. 

Repurposed school locker painted white and placed inside a home for storage

2. Pick a Sunny Day 

Now that you have the necessary hardware, it’s time to pull everything out. Pick a sunny day or, better yet, a weekend. 

Pause and inspect, as here’s your chance to make other changes that improve your property and overall quality of life. A garage full of boxes, clutter, and other items can increase the temperature by retaining heat and stopping airflow. The temperature in your garage affects your home’s energy efficiency. By decluttering your garage space, you help your home’s cooling system work more efficiently and help slash your electric bills. 

Test your door to see if it needs an upgrade. Could your floor use a coat of epoxy? Fix those cracks while preventing future ones.

Once you tackle these improvements, it’s time to mount the hardware for the stuff you choose to keep. Everything in your garage should have a place where it belongs. Go through each item in your stack, either placing it in its newly renovated home or adding it to the donate or trash pile. 

3. Decide What Stays and What Goes 

Should that rarely-used item stay or should it go? Ask yourself the following questions and use the rule of three to decide what stays or goes. 

  • If the item is for year-round use, have you used it in the last three months? If you can’t remember when you last used an item, chances are, someone else could benefit more from it. 
  • Does the item fill a special need or purpose? For example, you might not have used your tent in the past three months but still have plans to camp once you figure out your schedule a bit more. If so, make an exception to the rule of three. 

You can donate, sell or repurpose everything else. Check out the following places to get cash for your unused items and “pay” yourself for your hard garage cleaning work:

  • Online shops, such as eBay, The Tool Trader or Craigslist 
  • Pawn shops 
  • Local websites like Nextdoor 
  • Yard sale 

Alternatively, consider donating what you don’t need to a thrift store that supports a worthy cause or give them to a relative or friend. What about hazardous items, like old antifreeze? Contact your local waste disposal organization, which can tell you where to drop it off or arrange a pickup. Facilities treat these items to neutralize dangerous chemicals before placing them in landfills. 

Declutter your garage by placing items in boxes ready for the thrift shop.

4. Arrange Items for Ease of Use

When assigning a home to each item, keep in mind when and where you use it. For example, place your recycling bins close to the door leading from the garage to the main home. This might encourage less energetic family members to toss their cans in the correct container instead of the trash. 

Conversely, place large gardening tools closer to the outside entrance. If you’re short or have mobility issues that make squatting difficult, keep those things you use most frequently at eye level. 

5. Create Workspace

What do you use your garage for? Creating a workspace invites you to spend time within — which also incentivizes keeping the area neater. 

Even if you don’t tinker on cars or build decks, you might include a corner for your weight bench or other exercise equipment. Consider how you can adapt the space for more than merely parking your car if you have a bit of extra room — a garage sewing retreat or workshop can be a haven when the kiddos grow rambunctious, or you need a space to decompress. 

Home with a garage that looks well-maintained and neat.

Steps to Decluttering Your Garage

Garages are often neglected, with items placed here and there until the space becomes a sea of boxes and random items. Take the time to whip it into shape and feel proud when you pull into your driveway and open the door. 

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