Garages were originally meant to house our vehicles from the elements – like the rough snow and ice that go along with Chicago’s infamous winters. Today, our garages are true multi-use spaces. Across Chicago, homeowners use their garages as home gyms, yoga dens, craft studios, and, above all, as a go-to spot for storage!
If your garage is bursting at the seams with stuff, you’re certainly not alone. It’s safe to say that many, many garages around Chicago are now too full to fit one more dumbbell or piece of patio furniture – let alone a car!
If your garage has become your dumping ground for toys, sports gear, and all the things you’d prefer to keep out of sight, it may be high time to approach this space with fresh eyes. This area may be reserved for storage, but it can also be organized, functional, and, above all, clean!
Tired of the feelings of stress and anxiety that come along with a messy space? Ready to clear out your garage and make it work for you again? Here are five simple steps for decluttering and cleaning your garage – and making sure it stays that way!
1.) Clear Everything Out
What’s taking up space in your garage – and do you really even know anymore? Ice cream makers from the ‘80s? Old ski equipment you may have used once? There could be a whole lot of stuff in there that you’ve forgotten about, some of it useful, and some in need of a new home.
The first step in discovering everything that’s been lurking in your garage is to take it all out. Sports gear, old boxes, tools hanging on the wall… Take everything out and organize it into piles. You may need to use the back drive or lawn to keep everything together. Once you’ve gotten your hands on everything, you’ll be in a better position to take stock of what you have, and how much space you have to store it in. From there, you can set about getting rid of what you don’t need or want, and streamlining the things you do.
2.) Declutter, Declutter, Declutter
Whether it’s gardening tools, old toys, bikes, or patio furniture, comb through every single item in your garage, thoughtfully picking and choosing what you want to keep and what you want to discard.
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to sort through everything! This can be a big job. You may even want to “hire” family members to come in and help, and bring in some professional help for those bulky items it’s time to get rid of.
Organize the items in your garage by category – say, “lawn/yard equipment,” “outdoor furniture/accessories,” “cleaning equipment or supplies,” and so on. Then, work category by category to determine how much to keep, and what you can get rid of! Before you throw everything in the trash, consider your options for donating and selling. Some items could probably go to good use! As an extra step, sort your discarded items into piles for pitch, sell, and donate.
If you’re looking for somewhere to make a donation, your local Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity, or Salvation Army are always good options. Be sure to check online or give them a call to confirm that they can accept your donation items. If items are expensive or in particularly good shape, you could try to sell them by hosting a yard sale or using an online platform, such as Craigslist or LetGo. Finally, for all the garage clutter that can’t be sold, donated, or given away, take it to the local dump or recycling plant, as appropriate. If your garage is particularly overloaded, you may want to consider renting a dumpster for tossing all of your unwanted clutter.
Above all, remember to take a deep breath! This process may seem overwhelming at first, and you may even get emotional. But in the end, you’ll feel much better once you’re able to toss all the stuff that no longer serves you and your family!
3.) Do a Deep Clean
Once you’ve cleared out your garage, it will be easier to sneak in and give this space a thorough, deep cleaning. This way, you can move all of your “keepable” items back into a storage space that is gleaming clean, and ready to be organized.
Start your garage deep clean by giving the floors a good sweeping, then vacuuming up any of the remaining dust, dirt, and debris. Use your vacuum attachments to suck up cobwebs and any dirt that’s been gathering in tough-to-reach spots, such as high corners, or along the tops of windows and cabinets. Wipe down cabinets, shelves, windows, doors, and walls to get rid of grime and dislodge dirt – and maybe even let a little bit of light in. Take one more pass with the broom to get rid of any dust that may have swirled up, then give your floors one last wipedown with a mop and some warm, soapy water.
4.) Store Strategically
Now, it’s time to reload your garage! But before you haul all your items back into the space, think strategically about where it’s all going to go. There are all sorts of ways to organize your garage so it doesn’t go back to its messy, cluttered state!
One idea may be to divide your space into different storage areas or “zones,” so similar items are stored together. For example, you could try putting all sporting equipment in one zone and all tools and clean-up equipment in another. If you use one “zone” more than another, keep it closer to the front so it’s readily accessible. Try using different bins or storage solutions for different items, sorting by category.
Garages are often blank spaces, making them a great place to experiment with different storage options. To save space, for instance, you can think up – and store tools and gardening equipment vertically on a peg board, or stash bikes and camping gear on overhead racks. Get creative, and don’t be afraid to be a little playful with how you store things.
5.) Give Everything Once Last Cleaning – Then Plan for the Future
Now that your garage is looking pristine and organized, give it one last pass with your favorite cleaning tools to get rid of any lingering dust or dirt.
Then, work with your family to come up with a plan for keeping your garage clean and tidy! One easy idea? Make it a house rule that every time someone uses a tool or piece of equipment from the garage, they immediately put it back in its designated storage space. Add your garage to your regular cleaning routine, and add it to your schedule for dusting and mopping, along with other key storage areas in your home. And set a date in the future – perhaps once every year – to go back through and declutter your garage once again. Hopefully, now that the hard work is done, round two will be that much easier!
Sweeping Dimensions Can Help Keep Everything In Place
Want to give your garage a deep cleaning after your big decluttering session? Looking to keep all of your home’s most important areas looking and feeling their best? Sweeping Dimensions is here to help!
Our residential cleaning services are ideal for busy families who want to keep their spaces organized and clean. From post-construction cleanings, to short-term rental turnovers, to routine housekeeping, we offer a variety of flexible cleaning services, fully customizable to meet your unique needs.
We make communication a breeze, and offer convenient time windows and hassle-free scheduling. Our expertly trained teams can bring all of the cleaning supplies needed to clean your home, with an emphasis on green, environmentally friendly cleaning tools and products.