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A Dang Good Garage Cleanout

Last Updated: November 1, 2023

Written by Karen Norman

Give your Garage some TLC! 

Tips for a Garage Cleanout and suggestions keep it organized for good. 

If everything but the car is in the garage, it’s time for a good garage cleanout. Your garage is an extension of the home and deserves the same love, care and attention. Besides, if the garage is not housing your cars, you are costing yourself money and time (running the car to warm it in the winter, paint fading in the sun and needing touch-ups, higher risk of vandalism and theft – see Calgary’s Operation Cold Start). A messy garage also costs you when you have to buy tools or supplies you know you have – but can’t find in the clutter. No more excuses! Let’s reclaim the space with a garage cleanout, declutter, sort and clean up.

Getting Started on a Garage Cleanout. 

Before you begin, gather together some tools for the job. Here is a checklist of things to make the cleanout and organization processes easier.

  • Pressure washer or hose
  • Brush
  • Bucket
  • Painter’s tape
  • Drill
  • Assortment of screws and wall plugs
  • Storage bins and containers
  • Gardening gloves
  • Stanley knife
  • Cleaning products
  • Tape measure
  • Step ladder
  • Garbage bags and bins

The Garage Declutter and Clearout. 

The first step is to get rid of everything you no longer need. Make for different piles. This is also a great time to rent a roll-off garbage bin, as many items stored in the garage are too bulky for regular trash pickup. Ensure you know what can go in the bin. Some items like old paint, electronics, old fire extinguishers and car batteries may need special disposal.

Bob Vila has some great tips on 12 things you should always toss when cleaning out the garage.

As you do the clear-out, be sure to organize items into piles for the reinstatement and organization phase. Decide what to

    • Keep
    • Chuck
    • Donate or Give to Charity
    • Repair
    • And perhaps even a box of items you are not quite sure what to do with.

Items to keep include the following:

    • Tools
    • Camping gear
    • Cycling
    • Gardening tools
    • Car maintenance items
    • Seasonal décor
    • Sports equipment
    • Kids toys

Also, give consideration to what you regularly use that might need to be easily accessible.

Extra Garage Cleanout Hacks. 

  • If you rent a roll-off bin, it’s also a great time to quickly purge the home and toss other large items such as broken blinds or bedframes, large artworks, monitors, mattresses, chairs, etc.
  • Make it a weekend project, or alternatively, pick a corner of the garage at a time to sort out.
  • Get friends or family involved. On the condition of pizza or an agreement to help clean out their garage or another room in the home.
  • If you want some more visual ideas before you get started check out the videos: How to Organize a Garage with Monica from the Weekender or Garage Organization Ideas and Organized Garage Tour by Abby Organizes. 

The Garage Deep Clean. 

Once you are left only with the items that will be reinstated, it’s time for a deep clean.

Start by sweeping the floor. This will kick up a lot of dust, so put on a mask and keep the garage door open. Take care not to sweep it onto the lawn if you have metal shavings from toolwork, grease spills, and other such items in the grit and dirt. Put the dirt into a bin. After you sweep up:

  • Pressure wash or hose down the floor
  • Wipe shelves and surfaces
  • Allow the garage to dry, use a fan if necessary

If the floor has oil, grease or paint stains, try these tips on removing paint from concrete and check out this video on removing oil stains from concrete.

The Garage Repair Phase. 

Before things go back in, fix up broken or damaged items and tools, plus the garage itself. Here’s a checklist for garage repair:

  • Repair cracks in the garage floor
  • Address trip hazards
  • Resurface or paint the floor
  • Clean the garage window
  • Paint the trim around the garage door
  • Replace or maintain the garage door if needed – and for this, we strongly recommend you use a professional. See the Dangers of Garage Door Spring Repair. It can be tricky. Torsion springs, and even extension springs, can cause severe injury or worse if not handled properly. Garage door installers are trained on how to handle these springs.

The Garage Organization Phase. 

The garage is now cleaned out, repaired and ready for things to be reinstated, but first, have a system in place, so things stay organized.

  • Designate certain areas of the garage for certain things
  • Make use of the walls with shelves and hooks
  • Use pegboards
  • Use stackable bins
  • Use overhead space
  • Install cabinets or closets

Make a list of where you have put everything in the garage. Use a binder for this and keep it in a safe place.

You may even want to have a plan ahead of your garage cleanout day. Inspecting the garage ahead of time and noting what is in there may be useful for plotting out how you want your garage organized going forward. 

After your Garage Cleanout. 

Have you thought about what you are going to do with all the items that are not going back into the garage? Consider these options: 

  • Renting a Dumpster 
  • Taking items to the Local Dump
  • A Garage or Yard sale
  • Where to dispose of
    • Paint
    • Paint Thinner
    • Chemicals
    • Other Hazardous Materials

Remember to include cleaning the garage when spring cleaning and organizing your home. It is not a holding tank for discarded items. It protects your vehicles, adds needed storage and adds value to your home.

See all our Cleaning Hacks.

Check out our Specialized Cleaning Options for Carpets. Furnaces, Windows and Upholstery when you are planning a deep cleaning of the home.  

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