Decluttering the Garage

10 Tips for Decluttering the Garage

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Are you tired of opening your garage door only to be greeted by a jumble of tools, forgotten treasures and boxes of who-knows-what? Well, you’re in the right place because today we’re diving headfirst into the art of decluttering and transforming that neglected space into a haven of order and functionality.

We all know that garages have an uncanny ability to accumulate clutter faster than we can say “spring cleaning.” It’s as if those dusty corners and shelves have a secret pact with chaos. But fear not! With a bit of motivation, a touch of elbow grease and some strategic decluttering tips, you’ll soon have a garage that’s not only organised but a joy to step into.

In this article, I will walk into your garage with you, so that together we can tackle the daunting task of reclaiming your space. I’ll be sharing practical advice, creative storage solutions, and expert tips to help you conquer the clutter once and for all.

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Tips for Decluttering the Garage

Picture this: a clean, well-organised space where you can easily find your gardening tools, sports equipment or holiday decorations without a frantic search. A garage that welcomes your car back home, rather than competing for space with miscellaneous boxes and piles of clutter.

It’s not just about aesthetics; it’s about creating a functional and stress-free zone that enhances your daily life.

So, if you’re someone yearning for a more organised lifestyle, get ready to roll up your sleeves, grab some sorting boxes and let’s embark on a decluttering adventure that will transform your garage into an organised zen zone.

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Take a ‘Before’ Pic

Taking a Photo

Taking a photo before you start decluttering the garage can be highly beneficial and motivating!

A before photo serves as a tangible reminder of the clutter and disarray that you’re determined to tackle!

The ‘before’ photo captures the current state of your garage, highlighting the areas that need the most attention. It can also help you prioritise tasks so that you can focus on the most cluttered sections first.

This photo will help to be a source of motivation, giving you a feeling of accomplishment as you power on through the task, section by section.

You may even want to share your before photo with others who are either helping you with decluttering the garage or those who are keen to see your progress.

Benefits of taking a ‘before’ photo:

  • Visual starting point
  • Guides your decluttering efforts
  • Motivational tool
  • Shows your progress to others
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Allocate 4 Sorting Boxes

Decluttering Sorting Boxes

Using the four designated boxes can greatly streamline the process of decluttering the garage. By making an important decision about what to do with each item as you go, you’ll be reducing the overwhelm of the larger task at hand.

  1. Rubbish
  2. Recycling
  3. Donate/ Give Away
  4. Sell

Decluttering the garage comes down to making one decision at a time.


Rubbish

The rubbish box is where you can discard items that are beyond repair, broken, or no longer usable. This box helps you separate the truly unusable items from the rest, allowing for efficient disposal and clearing up valuable space in your garage.

  • Broken items
  • Unrepairable items
  • Outdated items
  • Items that are no longer usable

Each time your rubbish box gets full, go and empty it straight into your kerbside rubbish bin, so that you can keep it clear for the next lot of items.


Recycling

The recycling box is dedicated to items that can be recycled, such as paper, cardboard, plastic, or metal. By sorting these materials separately, you can ensure that they’re sustainably disposed of, as well as freeing up space in your other boxes.

  • Paper
  • Cardboard
  • Hard plastic
  • Metal
  • Glass

Whenever the recycling box gets full, empty it straight into your kerbside recycling bin, so as to keep things clean and clear.


Donate/ Given Away

The donate/ give away box serves as a container for items that are still in good condition but are no longer needed by you.

Consider donating them to local charities, shelters or organisations that can put them to good use. Alternatively, you may have some friends or family members who could use those items.

Donate to:

  • Charitites
  • Thrift stores
  • Shelters
  • Friends/ family
  • Advertise as ‘FREE’ on Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree

Sell

The sell box is where you can place items that have some value but are no longer needed by you. You can later sell these items through garage sales, online platforms, or local classifieds. This allows you to declutter while potentially making some extra money on the side.

Where to sell:

  • eBay
  • Craigslist
  • Gumtree
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Garage sale
  • Local markets
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Cull Each Section One-by-one

It’s important to focus on one section of the garage at a time when decluttering.

As you move through each section, completely cull as many items as possible by using the rubbish, recycling, donate and sell boxes.

The more that you are able to remove from each section during this phase, the easier your organisational task ahead will be.

Keep these boxes handy throughout the entire process of decluttering the garage, as you will continue to find random things along the way that need to be sorted.

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Section the Garage into Zones

Decluttering the Garage

Once you’ve gone through and culled as many items as you can, it’s time to categorise each part of the garage into zones.

Sectioning your space into zones will help to reduce overwhelm by being able to focus on one area at at time. This is particularly helpful if you need to declutter the garage in smaller stints of time.

By dividing the garage into specific zones, you can allocate areas for different purposes, making it easier to categorise and store items over the long term.

Here are some considerations when sectioning your garage…

Evaluate Your Needs

Consider how you plan to use your garage and what activities or items you want to accommodate. Determine the zones that align with your requirements and lifestyle.

Common zones include:

  • Storage
  • Workshop
  • Gardening
  • Sports equipment
  • Camping items
  • Seasonal items

Plan the Layout

Visualise how you want to arrange the zones within your garage. Keep in mind factors like accessibility, functionality and convenience.

Consider placing frequently used items closer to the entrance or allocating larger areas for specific activities that require more space.

You may even find it easier to plan a layout once we get to the stage of emptying out the garage. Oftentimes, starting with a clean slate is easier than rearranging an existing mess.


Create Physical Boundaries

Use shelves, storage units, pegboards or cabinets to define and separate each zone. These boundaries help establish designated areas and prevent items from spilling over into other zones. Consider using labels or signage to clearly mark each zone.

Ways to create boundaries:

  • Shelves
  • Boxes
  • Drawers
  • Pegboards
  • Cabinets
  • Labelling & signage
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Group Like Items Together

Decluttering the Garage

When decluttering the garage, take the time to sort and group like items together.

Whether it’s through labelling, using designated containers or shelves, or creating specific zones, grouping similar items is a simple yet powerful strategy that enhances organisation, accessibility and efficiency within your garage space.

When you group similar items together, it becomes easier to find things, identify duplicates and visually see what’s in each category.

Here are some of the benefits of grouping like items together…

Efficient Use of Space

You can allocate dedicated areas or containers for each category by gathering similar items. This helps to maximise storage space and prevents items from scattering throughout the garage, leading to a more organised and functional layout.


Ensures Every Item has a Home

When you bundle all like items together, it makes the larger task of ensuring everything has an allocated home much easier. Every time something needs to go back into storage, locating its home is quick and easy.


Easy Identification

Grouping like items makes it effortless to locate specific items when needed. Whether it’s tools, sporting equipment or gardening supplies, having designated areas for each category reduces the time and effort spent searching for items, especially when you’re in a hurry.


Inventory Management

When items are grouped together, it’s easier to take stock of what you have. You can identify duplicates, determine what you need to keep, discard or donate, plus make more informed decisions about your storage needs.


Safety & Accessibility

By grouping similar items together, you can create dedicated spaces that ensure easy access and minimise the risk of accidents. For example, storing heavy tools separately from fragile items reduces the chance of damage or injury.


Visual Aesthetics

Grouping like items creates a visually appealing and cohesive look within the garage. Neatly arranged categories make the space more inviting and visually pleasing, enhancing your overall satisfaction of the area.

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Empty & Reorganise Each Zone

Empty & reorganise when decluttering

As you sort each garage zone one by one, it’s important to empty out that section before reorganising. This is a crucial step in the decluttering process.

While it may seem like a daunting task, emptying the entire space provides numerous benefits and opportunities for a fresh start.

Once all items have been pulled out, be ruthless about which items are actually allowed back in!

Here’s why emptying out each section before reorganising is beneficial…

Assess the Full Scope

By removing everything from the zone, you gain a clear understanding of the extent of clutter and the available space. It allows you to see that section as a blank canvas, making it easier to envision and plan for an organised layout.


Reduce Overwhelm

A cluttered garage can feel overwhelming and make it difficult to tackle the decluttering process. Emptying the garage section-by-section creates a sense of control and provides a fresh start. It allows you to approach the task systematically and methodically, reducing the feeling of overwhelm.


Deep Clean & Address Maintenance

With each section empty, you have the opportunity to thoroughly clean the space. Sweep the floor, wipe down surfaces and address any maintenance tasks such as repairing shelves or fixing lighting. Starting with a clean and well-maintained space sets the stage for an organised and functional garage.


Sort & Organise

Emptying the garage, zone by zone, enables you to sort items into categories and assess them individually. You can identify items that are no longer needed, damaged or duplicates. This process helps you make informed decisions about what to keep, donate, sell or discard.


Determine Storage Needs

When the garage sections are empty, you can accurately assess your storage needs. Take measurements and evaluate the available space to plan for suitable storage solutions. This ensures that you choose the right shelving, cabinets or other storage options that fit the space and accommodate your belongings.


Plan & Strategise

Emptying the garage allows you to plan and strategise the layout more effectively. You can consider factors like traffic flow, accessibility to frequently used items and zones for specific activities. With a clear view of the space, you can then make decisions about where to position different categories of items.


Label & Organise

Remember to label and organise the items as you reintroduce them back into the garage. Grouping similar items together and creating designated homes for each item will further enhance organisation and accessibility.

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Organisational Storage Solutions

Storage Boxes

When decluttering the garage, finding suitable storage solutions is essential in maintaining an organised and functional space.

Here are some great storage solutions ideas for the garage…

Shelves & Cabinets

Installing sturdy shelves or cabinets is one of the most used and versatile garage storage solutions. They provide ample space to store items off the floor, keeping the garage tidy and maximising vertical space. Use clear bins or labeled boxes on the shelves to further organise and categorise items.


Wall-mounted Storage Systems

Utilising wall space with pegboards, slat walls or wall-mounted racks offers efficient storage for tools, gardening equipment and sports gear. These systems allow you to hang items neatly, keeping them easily accessible and creating more floor space.


Overhead Storage

Make use of overhead space by installing ceiling-mounted storage racks or shelves. This is ideal for items that are less frequently used, such as seasonal decorations or bulky items. It keeps them out of the way while still accessible when needed.


Storage Bins & Containers

Clear plastic bins or stackable containers are excellent for grouping smaller items together. Opt for transparent bins to easily identify the contents. Label each container for quick reference and easy retrieval.


Hooks & Pegs

Hanging hooks and pegs provide a simple yet effective storage solution for tools, bikes, ladders and other items with handles or loops. Place them strategically on walls or within cabinets to keep frequently used items within reach and well organised.


Magnetic Strips & Tool Organisers

Magnetic strips are ideal for organising and storing metal tools such as screwdrivers, wrenches, and pliers. Tool organisers, like tool chests or toolboxes, are also practical for keeping tools sorted and easily accessible.


Specialty Storage Solutions

Depending on your specific needs, consider specialty storage solutions such as overhead bike racks, wall-mounted bike hooks, or specialised racks for skis, snowboards or surfboards. These tailored options help keep sports equipment and recreational items in order.

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Everything Must Have a Home

Tool Peg Board

Every item in the garage must always have its own home, whether that be in a box, hanging from the wall or sitting on a shelf.

Having a well-organised space can save you time, reduce stress and increase efficiency among other benefits.

Here’s why every item in the garage must always have a home…

Less Work in the Future

Every time an item gets pulled out and used, it must always be put straight back into its home.

Taking the 10 seconds to do this every time will ensure that you rarely (if ever) have to do a massive garage declutter again in the future. This simple little task will help to keep the entire space organised at all times, making your life loads easier in the long run.


Maximises Space

When each item has a designated place, it helps optimise all of the available space. Efficiently utilising the space ensures that you can store more items while maintaining an organised and clutter-free environment.


Easy Access

With a designated spot for each item, you eliminate the frustrating search for misplaced items. When you need something specific, you can quickly locate it, saving you valuable time and effort. An organised garage allows for easy access and retrieval of items, making your tasks more efficient.


Reduces Hazard

A cluttered garage poses various safety hazards, such as tripping over items or having sharp objects lying around. By giving each item a home, you reduce the risk of accidents and create a safer environment for your whole family. Properly storing potentially dangerous items, like power tools or chemicals, ensures they are out of reach of children and pets.


Maintenance

An organised garage makes it easier to maintain and clean the space. With items neatly stored, its way easier to sweep the floor, wipe down surfaces and keep everything tidy. Additionally, proper storage helps protect your belongings from dust, moisture and damage, prolonging their lifespan.


Peace of Mind

A cluttered and disorganised garage can create mental clutter and stress. When you assign a home for each item, it brings a sense of order and peace of mind. You can easily assess what you have and what you need, plus keep a clear mental state while working in the garage.

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Maintain & Review Regularly

Organising clutter

While the initial decluttering process is crucial, ongoing maintenance ensures that your garage remains organised and functional.

Regularly review and reassess the organisation within each zone. As your needs change or new items enter the garage, ensure they are placed in the appropriate zone. Periodically declutter and reorganise to maintain a clutter-free and efficient space.

If you’re the type of person who seems to collect more things without getting rid of the old, give yourself the ‘one in, one out’ rule to help curb the number of items you own.

Here’s why regular maintenance and review of the garage is essential…

Keeping it Organised

Without regular maintenance, it’s easy for clutter to slowly creep back into your garage. Regularly reviewing the space allows you to identify and address any items that have started to accumulate or become disorganised. By consistently maintaining the system you’ve established, you can prevent the garage from reverting to its previous chaotic state.


Optimising Your Use of the Garage

Over time, your needs and priorities may change and so should the organisation of your garage. Regular maintenance provides an opportunity to reassess the space and make necessary adjustments. You can evaluate whether certain items need to be relocated for better accessibility, whether additional storage solutions are required, or if any unused or outdated items can be removed.


Prevent Future Clutter

You may need to create the 4 decluttering boxes periodically, just to do a fresh sweep over the garage and stay on top of future clutter accumulation. Regular maintenance helps you curb new clutter by pulling out old items that can be thrown out, recycled, donated or sold.


Functionality

Regular maintenance ensures that the space remains functional and optimised for your needs. By reviewing the layout and organisation periodically, you can ensure that tools, equipment and supplies are easily accessible when required, allowing you to work efficiently and enjoy the benefits of a well organised and decluttered garage.

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Take an ‘After’ Pic

Don’t forget to take an ‘after’ photo of your freshly decluttered garage!

Here are some reasons to take an ‘after’ pic…

  • Document the transformation
  • Compare the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics side by side
  • Enjoy the sense of satisfaction and completion
  • Show others your progress
  • Feel motivated to keep the garage clean, organised and clutter free

You can even print out the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pics and stick them on the garage wall as a motivational reminder!

Life has a way of getting messy and the garage can easily become cluttered once again if you don’t stick to your new system.

As long as items are always returned to their home after use and you continue to get rid of items that are broken or no longer needed, you can now easily maintain your freshly organised garage.

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