Like basements and attics, your garage can easily become a room-sized junk drawer.
“Garages are often filled with items the homeowner no longer wants inside their home but just can’t quite get rid of yet,” says Anne Blumer, certified professional organizer at SolutionsForYou, Inc.
One answer to the garage’s clutter is to keep the door firmly shut and find an alternate spot to park your car. But for your car’s sake—and your own—a better option is to rid the space of unneeded items and neatly organize what’s left.
Once you do so, you’ll be able to use the area for its intended purpose (parking) without the awkward shimmy to get out of the car and through the cramped space, says Joshua Becker, author of The Minimalist Home.
With a cleared out garage, you’ll be able to grab any item you need, fast. Plus, you may feel better after you organize—after all, the garage may be your entry point when you arrive at home, and a chaotic, messy space can cause your mood to dip, Becker notes.
If your garage has become a chaotic catch-all space, here’s precisely how to transform it into an organized, useful, and safe space.
1. Plan ahead.
Since garages are large, it helps to do some advance work before diving in. First, figure out when you’ll do the project.
“Set aside an entire weekend,” Blumer says, and enlist the help of other members of your household or a professional organizer. Many professional organizers are now offering virtual consultations and support.
Assemble your cleaning supplies (think a broom, outdoor vacuum, and cleaning rags) as well as garbage bags for any trash, Blumer says. Rent a dumpster or schedule an oversized garbage pickup with your local provider if you anticipate a lot of landfill waste, and schedule a donation pick-up for larger items.
You may also want to think a bit about your garage vision: What do you want to keep in the space? Browse online for “inspiring photos of garages that you want to pattern your garage after,” suggests Michelle Hansen, organizing expert and owner of Practical Perfection.