It’s been a strange year, but it’s been perfect for cleaning. If you didn’t get the urge to spring clean during the coronavirus quarantine, now is the time to start! Cleaning is a chore, but it does wonders for the organization of your home and your mental health.
Organizing as you clean is a great way to tackle both at the same time — this includes all of the equipment and tools you use to keep your property in good condition. Whether it’s shovels and rakes or chemicals like pesticides and herbicides, having a designated area in your storage shed or garage for these items is essential.
So, where do you begin? It all starts with taking inventory of your essential items, determining how much storage space you have, and devising a plan that works for you and your family.
Our best piece of garage-space advice is to organize it as soon as you move in. Don’t give yourself any time to let the garage devolve into a glorified junk drawer. When you do clean it out, here are our top ten tips for organizing your garage or shed:
Plan and prioritize your space
The first step in organizing your garage or shed is to make a plan for the space. Before you begin organizing, decide what your top priority is. Perhaps you want to keep seasonal camping supplies or sporting memorabilia in your shed or keep a workspace for projects in the garage. Perhaps the most important thing to you is simply being able to park your car in the garage. Whatever you decide, without a plan, you will never be able to organize properly.
Purge the unused and unneeded
Now that you’ve decided what you want to do with your garage or shed, clear everything out and start purging. Sort your belongings into three piles: keep, donate, and toss. This may be a difficult step, but it is essential for successfully organizing your space. To get organized, you must first remove everything from the garage. Determine what you need to get rid of and what you will keep. Throw away broken items and sell anything of value that you no longer need. Get rid of anything you haven’t used in at least a couple of years. Hold a garage or yard sale to profit from the items you need to get rid of. Remember that the proceeds of the sale can be used to purchase storage solutions for the items you keep.
Clean Your Garage Floor
While your belongings are out of the garage, you can scrub the floor and other areas. To remove cobwebs and other debris, use a wet/dry vacuum. Soap and water should be used to clean the insides of garbage cans and the areas around them. To quickly sweep away dust from the floor, purchase an oil-enhanced sweeping compound from your local True Value.
Grease and oil spots can be removed with cat litter and cola. Pour the cola directly on the stain, followed by a sprinkle of cat litter. The cola’s acid will dissolve the grease, and the cat litter will absorb it. Sweep it up and throw it away with a broom and dustpan. Concrete and asphalt cleaners can also be purchased at your local True Value.
Make your storage portable
Depending on how much space you have in your shed or garage, this tip may be the most important. One major issue with many garages is a lack of space. Even if there are no cars in the garage, clutter or storage shelves can make it difficult to use for purposes other than storage.
Investing in portable storage is the best way to address this issue. Portable storage, such as carts or wheeled shelving, can be easily rearranged as your needs for your garage space change. You could, for example, move some shelving to make a temporary exercise area. If you intend to renovate a room in your home, you could also relocate your storage units to make room for decor supplies. Portable storage adds versatility to your space, which can make or break it.
You only have so much floor space, so use your vertical space by stacking items on shelves to avoid “floor creep” and piles of clutter. By storing items in this manner, you will create a large space in the center of your garage, which is exactly what your car (or workshop table) requires. To make the most of your vertical space, you can buy or build wall-mounted shelves or standalone shelving units.
Buy or Build Shelves
Installing shelves on the garage walls is an excellent way to keep items out of the way but easily accessible when needed. There are a variety of commercially available options, but you can also build a basic utility shelf. When purchasing wood, keep in mind that the top and bottom sections, as well as the two sides, should all be the same length. Each shelf should be 1 1/2 inches shorter than the top and bottom pieces.
Use small containers
Now that you’ve got all those shelves ready to go, organize your belongings in color-coordinated or clear plastic containers. To make it easier to organize and find specific items, use several smaller containers rather than two or three larger ones.
Move dangerous items up high
Fertilizer, weed killer, and paint thinner should all be kept out of the reach of curious children and pets. Place chemicals and other dangerous items on a high shelf or in a locked cabinet, and keep flammable items separate from propane or gasoline. When you’re ready to get rid of these items, don’t throw them away. Find local hazardous waste recycling options using Earth 911’s recycling guide.
Properly store antiques and heirlooms
Antiques and heirlooms must be properly stored. Learn how to properly care for your treasures, such as books, textiles, and paintings that you want to pass down to future generations. Papers, photos, and scrapbook keepsakes all require proper storage because they serve as ideal nesting sites for rats and roaches. Keep them in airtight, locked containers.
Store in Cabinets, Bins, and Hangers
Because Storage buildings have more wall space than floor space, look for wall — and even ceiling — solutions. Utility cabinets provide ample storage and are strong enough to withstand the rigors of a garage environment. They are ideal for storing paint cans, spray bottles, buckets, gardening supplies, oil and gas cans, car parts, and other items. You can also micro-organize inside utility cabinets. Use plastic bins to store smaller items and label them so you can find them when you need to. Plastic storage containers are long-lasting and versatile, serving a variety of functions. They can also be stacked and have airtight lids to keep things dry and dust-free for years.
Utilize overhead storage
Some systems allow you to slide your storage crates into a ceiling-mounted sleeve. Using headspace for extra storage gets your bulkier items out of the way and frees up floor space for things like ladders, bicycles, or even smaller items that you’d like to group together in a box.
If you’re not sure what to store overhead, start with tall or wide objects that will take up too much wall space. This maximizes the amount of surface area available for shelving or wall organizers.
Use a workbench for your power tools
Workbenches are great for a variety of reasons. First, they provide you with a counter to work on projects. So, whether you need a place to use your power drill or a place to rest your weed eater while you replace the cord, this gives you the opportunity to have not only an organized space but also a fully functional one.
On the other end of the spectrum, a workbench is ideal for storing containers for small items such as nails, screws, and other home improvement items that are difficult to keep together and organized.