A messy garage is overwhelming, to say the least. After years of accumulating “stuff” a good purge is necessary, especially if you plan to move.
The actual process of purging and organizing a garage is simple, yet time consuming. Allow yourself plenty of time – perhaps even an entire weekend to truly go through every item and determine its place.
Best practice would be to focus on one category at a time, and one item at a time. Be sure to assign each item a label of keep, sell, donate, return to owner, or undecided. You may even block off sections of the garage with tape if you to place items.
Let’s be honest, this is one of the major categories occupying space in many garages. Over the years, holiday decorations have accumulated, and boxes have piled. First, have a look at the larger items that tend to be bulkier and take up the most space. Then, look for any duplicate items. Is there really a need for 3 Christmas trees or 7 scarecrows? Trim the fat and eliminate any duplicate items you will not need, keeping only the items you absolutely love (this can be applied to all categories). If you have kids, it’s also important to consider their age. If they are older, will you still decorate for Valentine’s Day or Halloween? If not, do away with that décor. Once you’ve sorted through it all, stow by holiday in chronological order for easy access. You may also want to make a trip to your local hardware or storage store to purchase specialty storage bins such as ornament boxes, etc. to not only keep your décor organized, but protected.
Sports equipment, camping gear, beach chairs, etc.
This is where you have to take a look at your current season in life. Maybe you’ve recently moved inland so those beach chairs serve no purpose and are collecting dust. Any bikes, golf clubs, sporting equipment, camping gear, etc. that you no longer use – put aside. Identify any belongings left behind by your kids or old roommates when they moved out. You’ll want to categorize these items as items that need to be “returned to owner.”
Suitcases, backpacks, and old shoes
This is definitely a big one if you have a family. Over the years, the number of backpacks, gym totes, cleats or hiking books, etc. can pile up. If you don’t use it, discard it. Best practice: Keep one of each on hand for the “if” scenarios that arise and toss all else. Chances are you were only holding on to them because you felt bad they were still in decent shape. If so, donate them.
Do you like gardening? Will your new home have a yard? Does this home have a yard? Perhaps you have a hired gardener instead. Identify if you will use the shovels, rakes, etc. or if they are just taking up space. If you won’t, consider donating them as well.
Unwanted household items
Some of the bulkiest items in a garage can fall under this category. Out-of-date furniture and antiques, fine china, etc. take up special space. Oftentimes if they are sitting in the garage, you are procrastinating getting rid of them. Consider donating these items and be sure to keep a receipt for tax purposes. Carefully label any family heirlooms you wish to keep and store appropriately, so they do not damage.
Old paint, motor oil, and tools
Check with your local waste management service to find out where you can dispose of these. Companies vary in terms of how and where you can dispose of these items you no longer need. Visit your hardware store to purchase bins and hooks to appropriately display or stow away tools you wish to keep.