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Cleaning The Garage

by Judy Brown

Well, it's a dirty job, but somebody's got to do it. If you can't get the car into the garage because you have too much junk piled in there, it's time to get busy. The purpose of a garage is to house your vehicle, it's not the junk-overflow room for your home.

Recently, I did an organizing job where I helped the client re-organize the home office. We worked away on the office and made good headway, then we went out to get some storage boxes from the garage.

Messy garage

You could hardly see the car for all the stuff that was stored over and around it. I have no idea how she even got into the car as there was so little room to open the door. I mentioned that it wouldn't take much to get the garage in shape and we pencilled that in for our next project.

Here are some tips to help your with own garage cleaning project.

Make a few dollars!

Planning to hold a garage sale is a great motivator. Schedule your sale for two weeks away and you'll have an urgent reason to get everything all sorted out and cleaned.

Enlist the help of the whole family or a couple of friends, because cleaning a garage involves a lot of climbing, bending and stretching. It's really good if you have a tall husband or six-foot kids to reach into those rafters where you've stored things you haven't seen in years.

Get yourself some good storage supplies

Determine what you will be storing in the garage and decide what equipment you may need to purchase or adapt for future storage. Do you need to get steel shelving, pegboard, or plastic storage containers? You may need hooks or other hardware supplies. Take some time to decide what you are going to do with the things that do need to remain in the garage, and get those supplies before you start cleaning.

I find it easier to sort one section at a time. For instance in my client's garage, we'll take out the car. Remove all obvious garbage and then sort through what's left to see if it needs to be repaired, recycled, thrown out or given away. We'll do this section-by-section until we're done.

Sort, toss, dispose and recycle

We'll dispose of items that are no longer wanted, arrange to have reusable items picked up for recycling and have someone haul away and deliver the things to be given away. I try to get one of my helpers to do this as we work so we don't have piles of things awaiting disposal or transport at the end of the sorting and cleaning of the day. Once the excess is cleared out and taken away, it is amazing how energizing this is for the garage owner.

A good sweep and scrub is usually in order. Oven cleaner does aSweep the garage and tips for cleaning great job removing oily stains, and you may have to vacuum or sweep the walls and rafters to get rid of cobwebs and dust.

Labels and tags

If you are storing things in plastic bins or containers be sure to label them so you can see at a glance what's inside.

If you don't have a separate garden shed, try to store all your garden tools in one place next to the door which is nearest the yard. Check over your garden tools to see what needs sharpening or replacing and tie a reminder tag or label on any tools that will need attention later.

Check with your recycling center if you have flammable paints or oil to get rid of and follow their directions for disposal.

Once everything has been sorted, cleaned and classified into categories for disposal and recycling, it's time to arrange the items you are keeping.

Use creative storage ideas

Try to keep like things grouped together. If you have a toolbox and workbench, group all the tools together in that area. Put up pegboard to hold larger items. Fill up those plastic see-through containers or some type of bins, label them so you can see at a glance what's in them.

A baby food jar lid nailed to a board behind the bench allows you to keep track of nails and screws or other little items. Just put the little things in the baby food jar and screw the jar onto the lid. It works best from the rafters if they aren't too high, then you can store more items in the jar and aren't going to drop them when you open it.

Continue on replacing the things you are keeping until you are satisfied that you have a place for everything and everything is in its place. Once you get the garage all clean and tidy, keep it that way by not using it as a storage area for anything other than the items you need in the garage.

Copyright © 2003-2004 Judy Brown