Did you know that there’s a day dedicated solely to cleaning your garage? National Clean Your Garage Day takes place on the first Saturday after Labor Day every year, but it’s not too soon to get a jump on the mess. If there’s no room to park your car in the garage, it might be time for a good old fashioned throw and stow.
Cleaning your garage takes a whole lot of elbow grease and some serious determination. Set aside at a full day, or even a weekend to get the job done. Get friends and family to pitch in to make the job both quick and entertaining.
Go through absolutely everything – boxes, bags and storage tubs – all of it! Sort items into three categories: keep, donate and toss. Sort the keepers into broad categories to be stored later. Anything you wish to donate should be taken where it needs to go as soon as possible. Don’t let it sit around and clutter things up!
Once you have your belongings sorted, you’ll need to contain them. Stackable clear-plastic bins with lids are your best option for larger items. Clear jars, painted soup cans or even kitchen food canisters are all handy for sorting hardware and small items.
Keep your kids’ toys contained in a safe corner of the garage away from any potential dangers (sharp tools, flammable liquids, chemicals, etc.) Make sure they are easily accessible and labeled with large print and graphics so little ones know what items belong to them.
The best thing you can do to keep your garage clean is to store items off the floor whenever possible. You'll free up room for your car and avoid large areas of clutter.
The garage ceiling is the perfect spot for hanging long, flat items you don't use every day, such as ladders, lumber, skis and snowboards. Be sure to check clearance when hanging shelves from the ceiling so as not to interfere with your garage door's operation or scrape the roof of your car.
Pegboards are a great way to keep things off the floor. They are easy to install, can be cut to size, and painted to match your garage decor. They also keep things visible; you can draw the outline of the tools on the pegboard to easily tell at a glance if one is missing.
Use tool racks to keep garden tools, brooms and mops out from underfoot.
Chemicals are a common household danger for children and pets. Keep pesticides, paints, antifreeze, and other chemical substances in their original containers and in a locked cabinet. Teach kids what is and is not safe to touch and consider getting a sheet of Mr. Yuk stickers to warn children of poisons.
Rain, leaves, bugs and dirt will find their way inside your garage if the doors aren’t sealed well.
John Morris of Gold Label Door explains, “Weather seals keep the weather out. This keeps the garage clean and dry.”
If the bottom of your garage door doesn't sit flush with the floor, create a snug fit by attaching a rubberized threshold seal where the door lands to save some cleanup time.
To keep seasonal insects at bay, use a pesticide perimeter treatment to stop them before they get it.
As for general maintenance:
- Keep a bag of kitty litter for absorbing oil and grease spills.
- Sweep and hose down the floor regularly.
- Go through your belongings and donate or toss what you don't need at least once a year.
- Cleaning out your garage may seem like an overwhelming task, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little bit of help and a touch of organization, you’ll find yourself parking your car where it belongs before you know it.
Liz Greene hails from the beautiful city of trees, Boise, Idaho. She’s a lover of all things geek and is happiest when cuddling with her dogs and catching up on the latest Marvel movies. You can follow her on Twitter @LizVGreene.