If your garage has become nothing more than a glorified storage closet, it might be time to declutter. Take a few minutes out of your day to get organized.
Newspapers, Magazines, and Catalogs
“You’re not going to read these again,” says organizing and storing expert Emma Gordon of Clutter.com. “If they’ve been banished from the house to the garage they need to go.” If you can’t part with all of them, allow yourself to keep a few special editions or issues.
Chances are you have no use for that old clunky computer, printer, and fax machine from the early ‘90s. “If it’s in the garage, there’s a 90 percent chance that your old CPU is not worth the time it would take you to bring it back up to speed for day-to-day use,” says Gordon. “It’s better to find a recycling program that can take it off your hands.”
Broken or Duplicate Tools
You probably don’t need five hammers, and that broken drill is just collecting dust on a shelf. Take stock of your tool collection and consolidate, so you don’t have an overflowing toolbox (or too many bulky bins filled with tools).
Plastic Planter Trays
“It’s tempting to keep the trays after popping our spring blooms,” says Gordon. “Unless you’re a regular gardener, there’s no reason to keep these trays after transplanting. Clear them out so you don’t have to deal with spiders or other garage critters that will make a home in them.”
Old Paint Cans
Paint cans often are scattered all over the garage once a home improvement project is complete. If you don’t need it on hand for touch-ups, or if it’s gone bad, it’s time to get rid of those bulky cans. Paint usually lasts for up to 10 years unopened, and 2-5 years if opened and stored correctly. Depending on your state, there are different laws for disposing of or recycling paint. Check to see if your state has a paint recycling program, or if there’s a waste disposal place near your home where you can drop off the cans.
Remnants of DIY Projects
While you’re clearing cans from old home improvement projects, toss out old materials from DIY projects. “Almost every garage in America has a flimsy aluminum paint tray coated in house paint, with a matching roller in a crumpled grocery bag,” Gordon says. “As homeowners, we like to think we’re going to get more than one use out of our paint brushes, trays, and other DIY tools, but it’s more likely we’ll forget and buy these items again anyway. The only reason to save otherwise disposable DIY tools would be if you have a project in mind that you plan to tackle soon.”
Broken Sports Equipment
“Toss out balls if they don’t hold air any more,” says Gordon. Same goes for broken tennis rackets, skis, helmets, and more. If one of your kids no longer plays a sport, donate the used gear to a thrift store that accepts sports equipment.
Cast-off Shoes and Clothes
“I promise you won’t miss the clothes and shoes you’re storing in the garage,” says Gordon. “These are the items that you don’t even have in your weekly outfit rotation, and if they haven’t been kept in an airtight container, they will require a lot of laundering to nix the garage fumes and dust.” Here’s what to do with your old clothes, in one easy chart.
VCR, VHS Tapes, Tape Player, and Cassette Tapes
Sadly, your beloved tape collection is now obsolete. “Remember the static or flipping over to the ‘B-side’? Compared to streaming services, these outdated forms of entertainment require a lot of fussing,” says Gordon. “Make a quick list of the albums and movies you consider staples for your household, and plan to purchase in digital format.”