It’s as important to keep your garage tidy as any other place in the house. If your car is sitting out on the street or the driveway because your garage is too cluttered, it’s time to turn that problem into a solution.

Vehicles are investments of thousands of dollars. Why leave it out, exposed to the weather, UV rays, and bird poop? These things damage your car’s paint as well as its parts. Let your car back into the protection of the garage this winter before the harsh storms come!

Set Aside Time

This is not little task. Don’t put it on the to-do list as something you’ll do when you get the time for it. Really mark out a section of your day for this. It doesn’t have to be all at once, it can be spread over a few days, with even a few days of rest in between. But make sure your goal is always to get it done, not to drag it out for a few weeks. If you can, get the rest of the household in on the project; the extra help will make it all go by much faster for everyone.

Keep, Donate, Trash

Start by creating three areas to sort things into. Everything you go through needs to be fit into one of these three categories: keepers, things that can be donated to charity or to friends, and things that need to be taken out in the trash. Many people use the garage as a storage space, so you may need to sort through many sentimental belongings or just objects you “may need someday.” If you don’t use it frequently, it’s not useful to you. Throw away toys your children have outgrown and those tools that are too rusty to use anyways. Donate the random object you forgot you stored in the garage. The goal is to clear up space. Once you have everything sorted, take the trash out right away, and take the donation items to a charity as soon as possible. You don’t want it sitting around, continuing to clutter your space. Return all the things you’ve borrowed. Let go of things you don’t need.

Things Not to Store in Your Garage

Find another place to store these things or get rid of them immediately. They are hazards in an unconditioned garage area.

  • Paint
  • Propane
  • Lawn mower gas
  • Paper (attracts roaches)
  • Refrigerator
  • Pet food
  • Chemicals
  • Pesticides

If you are cleaning these potentially hazardous materials out of your garage, make sure to wear protective clothing (long pants, long sleeves, rubber gloves, closed toed shoes). If things have been sitting there for a while, you never know what might have leaked or cracked. This can also protect you from poisonous spider or animals that may have made a little home in your clutter.

Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

It’s as important to have smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your garage as it is inside the rest of your house. Vehicles produce carbon monoxide, and (as you might discover in your cleaning process) there are often many fire hazards stored in garages. Test them as regularly as your indoor smoke and CO detectors.

Good luck!