Are you one of the approximately 70% of Americans whose cars live outside their garages because they contain so much stuff? Keeping your car where it’s constantly exposed to the elements and creatures such as birds and vermin can not only be a frustration for car owners, but it can actually shorten the life of the vehicle. Not to mention that a messy garage is both a fire hazard and an ideal place for critters to nest in old cardboard boxes, in dark corners, and under items such as refrigerators. In our last post, we talked about cleaning up your garage, but now it’s time to talk about cleaning it out and getting it organized! Check out the following advice from your ATX maid service.

The entire cleaning process needs to start with you taking everything out of the garage. Then, you need to sort out your stuff. We recommend making three piles: keep, donate, and toss. Once you’ve separated everything out, be sure to go through your “keep” pile again and try to pare it down even more. As you sort, keep these tips in mind:

  • Ask yourself whether you’ve used an item in the past year. Be honest. If the answer is no, out it goes!
  • Don’t focus on someday, as in “Someday my kids/grandkids will use this old badminton set.” If you don’t realistically see something getting used in the next year, get rid of it.
  • If someone in your household is an avid gardener, mechanic, carpenter, or tinkerer, pare down the relevant tool collection to one item of each size or type. If no one into your house is into these pastimes, take a good look at your collections of tools and decide what’s really worth keeping around versus what you rarely use that could be borrowed or rented instead.
  • Evaluate your collection of paint, automotive fluids, and other chemicals – some do eventually expire, and if they’re stored improperly or develop leaks, they can create a fire hazard. Anything out of date or that you don’t really need should be disposed of properly.

Once everything has been sorted, it’s time to organize and store! Your goal should be to get everything stored off the floor (except the car(s), obviously). Hang large items, such as bikes, kayaks, ladders, and large tools (shovels, rakes, etc.) from the ceiling or high up on walls. Consider installing a peg board to hang smaller tools and items such as baseball bats and hockey sticks. Group like items together, such as tools, cleaning products, sporting or camping equipment, toys, holiday decorations, etc. Place everything into plastic bins (cardboard will break down over time and is super inviting to vermin) and label them clearly on the top and sides, or invest in heavy-duty shelving units. Store the items you use most in easy-to-access places; relegate seasonal or rarely-used items to higher or further back spots. Keep in mind that the following items shouldn’t be stored in garages: fuel tanks of any kind (fire hazard); pet food and paper goods (easy to mold and attractive to vermin); and refrigerators (attractive to vermin and a huge power drain in an un-air-conditioned space).

Clean, safe, and organized garages are very important parts of clean Austin homes, so don’t put this project off any longer. Once your satisfied with your garage area, you can turn your attention to the inside of your home. Remember that It’s Cleaning Time is the perfect choice to help you keep up with household chores big and small!

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