12 tips for a lasting garage clean out

Over time, it’s easy for our garages to become a catch-all space for everything from extra Christmas decorations to gardening tools. Whilst for most of us, this space becomes absorbed by the accumulative weight of our odds and ends, our garages actually hold great potential for storage and efficient use.

To help you make the most of your garage, we’ve put together 12 tips for a lasting garage clean out, creating extra room for you to make use of, as well as a storage system that will withstand the test of time.

If you’re still struggling for extra space once you’ve cleared out your garage, check out our temperature-controlled long-term storage options to keep your belongings safe.

Work top to bottom

When clearing out your garage, start with the items that are stored up high, and work your way down to the ground. It’s most likely that you’ll be storing the things you use the least in the less accessible spaces on high shelves. It will be easier to decide whether to throw or keep these items, leaving the more challenging choices that you use more often until last.

2. Dedicate a sorting area

Choose a sunny day for your garage clean out and set up a designated area outside your garage to sort through your stuff. This stops your garage from descending into chaos during the decluttering process – and means you’re more likely to get the job done more quickly.

3. Spring clean your space

Once you’ve got everything outside, take the opportunity to give your garage a proper clean out. Sweep away any dirt and debris, and scrub down each wall. You could also consider giving your garage walls a lick of paint, especially if you’re planning on using it for more than storage.

4. Get rid of anything you don’t use

While it may seem obvious, ask yourself if you really need or use items when deciding what to keep and throw out. Your garage can quickly become a place to leave items that serve no purpose anymore as they are, for the most part, out of sight, out of mind. Make a rule to throw out anything that hasn’t been used in the past 6-12 months: this may feel ruthless, but will help you make better use of your space in the long run.

5. Sell what you can

Once you have decided what to keep and what to get rid of, see if any of those items can be sold to make a bit of extra cash. Hold a garage sale, or use resale sites such as Ebay, Depop and Vinted to help your belongings find their new homes. If you have bits and bobs that are in good condition, but don’t seem to be selling, you could also consider donating to charity to make some extra space.

6. Plan a layout

Before you begin moving your belongings back into your garage, think about the layout of your space. If you can, it’s a good idea to clear a walkway around the whole room, so you can reach everything easily.

It’s also important that you take into account traffic flow within the garage, particularly if you use the space for activities beyond just storage, such as a DIY space or a home gym.

7. Invest in reliable storage units

Opt for versatile storage units that provide enough space for a variety of items. Adjustable shelves are a great choice as they can be transformed to accommodate items of different sizes. Enclosed cabinets and drawers are also perfect for storing smaller tools and other items you want to keep together in your garage. You can also choose lockable units for added security.

8. Utilise clear storage bins

Transparent storage bins are perfect for storing your smaller belongings and make it easy to identify the contents easily. As well as helping neaten up your space, this kind of storage bin will also protect your bits and bobs from dust and damp.

9. Optimize vertical space

Vertical space is your best friend when it comes to making extra space. There are many easy and creative ways to implement wall-mounted storage, from hooks to pegboards. This approach frees up valuable floorspace, and means your belongings are at the perfect height for grabbing quickly.

You could even consider overhead storage solutions, such as ceiling-mounted racks or platforms, which work best for items you find yourself reaching for less often.

10. Group items together

Group similar items together in designated areas within your garage. This helps establish purposeful zones for specific items, making your garage as accessible as possible. You could delegate areas for tools, sports equipment, and seasonal items that can be kept tucked away in a corner for most of the year. Once your belongings have been itemized in such a clear way, you’ll find it much easier to keep on top of the clutter.

11. Rotate seasonally

When you’re organising your belongings, remember to consider seasonality. Keep seasonal items accessible and rotate your items cyclically as and when you need them; you won’t need heavy-duty weather equipment like shovels and snow boots all year round, but you’re more likely to reach for gardening tools more regularly. This stops you from digging around in your newly organised garage and keeps everything you need to hand year-round.

12. Try and keep on top of things

Once your initial garage clean out is complete, getting in the habit of tidying as you go means you can avoid too much disorder in the future. Dedicating pockets of time keeps things nice and organised, and helps you prevent clutter even as you and your family accumulate more over the years. Keep in mind that a clutter-free space isn’t just nicer to look at, but also helps increase the lifespan of your belongings. Browse our tips on increasing floorspace to make your garage feel bigger still.