6 Essential Tips for Decluttering the Garage

Follow this advice to reclaim your garage as a functional space.

The garage is a place to keep our vehicles—and things would be a lot easier if we just stopped there. But, for many, this ultimate utilitarian space is clutter’s final graveyard. The garage becomes a space to store all the things we don't have a clear home for and the clutter can build and build until sometimes, there's not even room for a car. Use our tips below to address the clutter and start transforming your garage back into a truly functional space.

neatly organized sports equipment on garage wall

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Clear Everything Out

The garage is one space that absolutely benefits from being cleared of every single item. Carry everything out to the driveway or, better yet, to a tarp spread on the lawn. Touching and moving items quickly reveals damage or if something is just too cumbersome to regularly use. Sort like with like as you bring out the items. Review duplicates rigorously. Can you edit down to just the best one? Do you have all the attachments?

Focus On What You Currently Use

Garages are filled with the remains of past projects and things you used to do (trampoline aerobics or tilling the garden every summer). As you consider items, remind yourself that you can easily rent or borrow recreation and gardening equipment if inspired.

Map Out Your Available Space

With your garage emptied, park all vehicles in their ideal spots. Open the doors and trunks and mark how far each swings out with masking tape applied to the floor. Consider any space beyond the tape marks available for storage.

Make Everything Visible

Refill shelves and wall hooks as if you’re working in a store: tallest items in the back, all items turned so labels are visible, and dividers to ensure separation (pieces of cardboard work amazingly well). As your budget allows, opt for wire mesh containers for kids toys and recreation gear and see-through plastic for gardening, DIY, and decorating projects.

Find New Homes for Delicate Items

Read labels on all chemicals and liquids. Many are temperature-sensitive and are best stored indoors. Fabric, paper, and cardboard are easily damaged by moisture, so reconsider where you store school mementos, family heirlooms, and some holiday decorations.

Your garage is almost certainly not a good place to store paint. The ideal storage temperature is between 60 F and 80 F. High humidity tends to rust metal cans faster; low humidity speeds up drying.

Address Your Electronics

“In an effort to declutter rooms, we tend to stash old technology in the garage. Be laser-focused looking at this technology graveyard. Separate technology that’s donatable versus what’s a candidate for responsible disposal. Then schedule a donation pickup or drop off your donations immediately," professional organizer Tanisha Lyons-Porter says.

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