Spring Cleaning Your Garage
by Monique Valeris
Keeping your garage organized can feel like an uphill battle. But now that spring has sprung, it's time to restore some much-needed order. Here's a spring cleaning game plan to get your garage into tip-top shape once and for all.
Take Stock of Your Belongings
Before you can get organized, you need to clear the clutter. It's crucial, and there's no way around this step.
Set aside space for two piles: one for trash and one for recyclables. Recycle things like old car batteries, newspapers and bottles and dispose of any other unnecessary items in the trash. Just be sure to check with your local sanitation department for guidelines on the disposing/recycling of items, including said car batteries, old paint cans, motor oil and electronics.
Then, take advantage of the warmer weather to organize a yard sale (the kids would love it) for other items you no longer need. You might even consider donating items to your local thrift shop or selling them on eBay or Craigslist.
Set Aside Time for a Spring Cleaning
Along with a jam-packed garage comes dirt, dust and who knows what else. Give your space a deep cleaning from floor to ceiling. Remove any stains from the floor, wipe down shelves and storage bins, and pass a broom over the ceiling and walls to remove any dust, cobwebs and dirt.
Once you've cleared the filth that could be coating any surfaces throughout the garage, use a garden hose to wash the floors thoroughly -- assuming you've got waterproof floors and moldings.
Now that you've cleared the clutter and completed the cleaning process, the real task begins: getting organized! Start by bringing order to the piles, drawers and boxes full of tools. Remove items that are no longer functional, place like tools together, and set smaller items, such as hardware, in trays, jars and drawers for easy access. (Be sure to store anything like nails, tacks and sharp tools away your car's spot. The last thing you want is to inadvertently slash your own tires.) This is also a good time to pinpoint whether you're missing any tools from your collection.
Free up Floor Space
Since you're most likely parking a vehicle or two in your garage, floor space is essential. Mount bikes to a post or wall. Snag a metal reel to hang hoses, and use heavy-duty hooks to hang cords easily and anything else that makes sense. Brooms, shovels or rakes can also be hung on the walls -- or even from the ceiling -- with simple hardware and netting that can be purchased at your local hardware store.
Put a Bookcase to Work
The key to organizing a garage is maximizing its space. This is where a bookcase, shelving and cabinetry come in. They are the perfect place to store cleaning solutions, gardening essentials, paint cans, chemicals, equipment manuals and any other extras in need of a home. Just be sure to keep the items you use most frequently on low shelves.
Cleaning your garage doesn't have to be a daunting task. All it takes is removing the clutter from the space and designating a space for your items. And with regular maintenance, you're sure to have a garage that's functional and a pleasure -- yes, a pleasure -- to use, and spend time in.
Monique Valeris is the founder of the home design blog Decor Musings
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