So, you’ve made one of your resolutions this year to get a handle on cleaning. You’ve decided that there will be no more waiting until the dust bunnies have become a full-on militia before you decide to tackle them. NOPE! But, if you’re like we are, work, errands, relaxing and life all get in the way of your plans…so much so, that you’ve found yourself hiring a cleaning service just to catch up. That’s just what we did until we realized that all of the money we were putting into their pockets cost us a week-long cruise. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m willing to pick up a dustcloth once a week in order to lay out on some Caribbean island.
But, where do you start?
I figure why not start at the LEAST likely place (and the one where you might actually get him to help you as you move around HIS stuff) – THE GARAGE.
While we’re not pros (we don’t even HAVE a garage), we do have a few ideas to help you clean and declutter…and best of all it’s a ONCE A YEAR EVENT, so once you finish you’re DONE for 365 more days.
Get Rid of Unnecessary Clutter
The first thing to do when cleaning is to go through all the items you’ve been hoarding in boxes on shelves and tucked in those corners and decide what you no longer need or use. Are you saving miles of stereo wire, extension cords, or extra hardware that you can’t even remember which knockdown unit it came from? Are the things in your garage truly useful to you? It’s time to be brutally honest with yourself, and keep only what you truly need.
The boxes and items in your garage build up dust quickly. It’s from you opening the garage door over and over again or if you have an outside door, bringing in all of that dirt when you work in the garden, so you have to be vigilant about dusting. This is a great time to run a micro-fiber cloth over everything that is exposed. Okay, it’s been a while, so you’ll definitely need several cloths, as they will fill up with dust rather quickly.
Clean the Floor
Now it is time to do a major floor washing. Wait…you wash your garage floor? YUP! First you will want to take a large broom and clear the main dirt away. Next, take a bucket and mop with some soap and vinegar, and wash the floor as thoroughly as possible.
Wash Your Equipment
Some of the items in your garage will need to be cleaned, and it will not be as easy as wiping dust away. Maybe your extension cords, bicycles, and rain boots have mud or other grime caked on them, or you’ve got gardening supplies that you tossed with mud and it’s caked on. Take the dirty items outside and give them a good rinsing with your hose, using soap when appropriate and necessary.
The garage is for your CAR, not junk
Now that everything is clean, it is time to get organized. The whole point of having a garage is being able to park your car, motorcycle, or bikes indoors. Unfortunately for many of us, there’s not even enough room to fit their car in, thanks to all the accumulated junk.
Assuming you have sorted through all your items, you can now decide whether to keep or get rid of them. After you do this step, put what you’ve decided to keep back in an orderly manner. By arranging what you have left you should be able to fit your vehicle back in the garage (imagine not having to scrape the windshield after it snows).
If you have tried your best and still can’t fit everything in the garage in an orderly way, you might want to take the organization a step further. Browse around for various storage systems, and choose something that works for your situation. My mother-in-law picked up plastic DIY shelving at her local warehouse store for less than $50 each and lined an entire wall. There are systems that include everything from stackable storage boxes, to weather-proof storage, to overhead storage. and ones that can be put up in about 10 minutes.
No matter what you do, put safety first. Use every precaution when taking on a job such as cleaning your garage. Make sure to secure all of the overhead storage properly so it does not fall down later (DISASTER). Unplug electrical items before cleaning, and be cautious about sharp objects when digging in boxes.
You’ve DONE it! Now go into the house and pour yourself a glass of wine, because you worked HARD and now you don’t have to worry about your garage for a whole year.