Your garage could be so many different things. A place to keep your car off the street, a workshop for all your hobbies, a home gym or even a place to relax. But if your garage is piled high to the ceiling with junk and you can barely get through the door, you need this guide.
We’re going to show you how to get rid of the junk in your garage and how to put together a simple system to stop the junk from creeping back into your life.
For most people, the garage is a useful place for storage. The issue is that it can end up becoming a dumping ground for anything and everything that doesn’t have a permanent place to live inside the house. It’s unfortunately a case of “out of sight, out of mind” that turns your garage into a tip.
It doesn’t matter if your garage is tiny or big enough to fit a fleet of limousines, if you’ve let the junk pile up, the space is not being used properly. There are plenty of things you could do with the empty space, but you need to get there first.
How to De-Clutter
If you break down your garage de-clutter into smaller, manageable tasks, you’ll get it done quicker and with less stress. But before you put on your work clothes and start blowing off the cobwebs, you need to make a plan. Follow these steps.
Get some help
Sorting through everything in your garage could take ages, so don’t try to tackle it all on your own. Rope in family members, friends or neighbours if you can, and make an event out of it. Otherwise, there are services throughout the UK like TaskRabbit or PeoplePerHour that can connect you with someone whose back doesn’t hurt so much.
Give it the time it needs
If you’ve got a three-car garage, chances are you’re not getting this done in an afternoon. Set aside a whole day or even a weekend to make a proper job of it. You’re going to need to take stuff out of your garage before you can organise it, so keep any eye out for the weather too.
Cut the ties with old junk
We’re all guilty of this one- keeping hold of old things because they might be useful “one day”. If you want your garage to be a useful space, you need to be a bit brutal. We’re not telling you to throw everything in the bin, but letting go of old magazines, rock hard paintbrushes and that old fondue set shouldn’t be that hard.
Are they useful or beautiful?
You should take a cue from design legend William Morris when he said, “Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful.” Apply the same rule to your garage and stick to it.
Every time you pick out an item, ask yourself the question: Do I really need this, and do I honestly like this?
The power of three
If you want to make the most of your time and efforts, you need to streamline them. Don’t just shuffle your junk around, make three piles:
The Keep pile is for the things you need. Family heirlooms, tools and the spare chairs for when you have a dinner party can stay. Just make sure that they’re actually worth keeping.
The Donate pile is for the things that aren’t useful to you anymore but would make someone else happy. Giving to charity is easy and generates vital money for good causes as well.
The Chuck pile is for the junk. If it’s of no use to you, or anyone else for that matter, it’s time to get rid. Make sure you dispose of any rubbish responsibly and always try to recycle as much as you can.
How To Stop the Junk from Creeping Back
Now you’ve had a proper go at the mounds of old kids’ toys, out-of-date electronics and tins of old paint, it’s time to get organised. There’s no point putting all your effort into clearing out the junk if you’re going to let it pile up again. Try a few of these tricks out in your garage:
Shelving is your friend
Often seen as the test of a true DIYer, putting up shelves is vital in the fight against heaps of tat in your garage. You can maximise the space in your garage with deep shelves from floor to ceiling- you’ll be amazed at the transformation they can make.
If you’re worried about drilling holes and putting up brackets, there are plenty of affordable and sturdy free-standing shelving options out there too. They can be a bit fiddly to put together but are well worth the effort.
It might seem a bit obvious to tell you that you can organise your garage using boxes, but not all boxes are created equally. If you want rugged, weatherproof and stackable boxes, go for tote boxes. Available in a ridiculous range of sizes, they fit into each other when they’re empty, and you can’t lose the lid because it’s built in. Combine tote boxes with your deep shelves and you have a versatile system for storing tons of gear that you can access in seconds.
Don’t get bogged down thinking that the only storage space you have is on the floor. Depending on the type of garage you have, the answer might have been right above your head the entire time. If your garage ceiling is high enough, you can install racks that look like giant wire shelves and even racks on wires that can be raised up to the roof when not in use.
Something that takes up a lot of space and can be dangerous for curious children are ladders. Keep them up and out of the way with ladder brackets. Simply screw the brackets into a pair of rafters and you’ve got secure storage. Similar types of brackets work well for planks of wood or lengths of pipe as well.
Pegboards for your tools
If you’re going to make use of your wall space, a time-tested storage solution is pegboard. Easily found in DIY shops or online, you can get hold of systems like storage bin and hook sets that will hold hundreds of fixings, screws and tools neatly. You could even buy plain pegboard and make your own with nails if you’re on a budget. Versatile and affordable, you’d be surprised how handy they are.
Tubes for long-handled tools
Tools like brooms, rakes and other long-handled implements can be a real pain to store. They pile up in the corners and fall over when you try to move them. The best way to keep them organised and upright is with heavy duty cardboard tubes. You can buy concrete forming tubes, but we think the best option is to talk to your local carpet dealer, they’ll probably let you have one for free. Cut it to length and secure it to the wall with perforated banding for secure tools.
Put it on wheels
Your garage is a multi-purpose space, or at least it would be if you could get to anything. One of the best ways to make your garage more versatile is by putting heavy equipment and even your workbench on casters. If you’re a DIYer you can make the most of the space this way. Roll everything to the walls when you want to park your car inside or take the car out and you’ve got tons of room for crafts.
Stow your bicycle
Even if you’re not a keen rider, you’ve probably got a bicycle hidden in the depths of your garage. Stowing it away will keep it safe, and if it’s easy to get to you might even ride it sometimes. You can buy bicycle racks that are free-standing or do it yourself with storage hooks that hold onto the bike’s frame. You can even get hold of lockable hooks for extra security.
You don’t have to spend a fortune on specially made garage storage systems or be an expert carpenter to get more storage. If you look on your local Freecycle pages or in your local furniture charity shop, you can get sturdy chests of drawers for next to nothing. Bedside cabinets with deep drawers are ideal for tool storage and cost pennies second hand.
Having a clutter-free and organised garage is always going to be a good thing. You’ll have more space for activities, somewhere to keep your bike out of the weather, and the satisfaction that comes with knowing that you can create order at least somewhere in your life.