Garage Cleaning Checklist: How to make it happen for free

I’m getting ready to embark on a garage overhaul and I needed a plan.  After a long winter it feels good to give the garage interior a thorough cleaning and work through stuff that has accumulated.

My garage space is full of my own stuff and has become a dumping ground for things family members have given me.  Just in case your garage is as full of unwanted items as mine, here’s the garage cleaning checklist I made for myself before I started.  If you prefer a printable garage spring cleaning checklist, you can get that here.  

An organized garage means two things:  

1.)  You know what’s there. This prevents you from buying things you already own or have multiples of similar items. Raise your hand if you have multiple cans of primer.

2.) You only keep what you will use.  We all have many things that we have saved over time because we “might use them”. This results in a lot of clutter. Clutter isn’t just inside, it can be in the form of scraps of spare wood or gardening tools.   Let go of the things that don’t have a clear plan to use.    

Step one: Categorize

The first step is to determine sorting categories according to what you keep in your home’s garage. 

  • Paint (or empty paint cans)
  • Paint Supplies
  • Wood scraps
  • Small handheld garden tools
  • Large garden tools, garden hose
  • Other tools (drill, driver, hand chain saw)
  • Snow shovels (if you are lucky to live someplace you need those)
  • Hardware (screws, nails, etc)
  • Car cleaning and maintenance supplies
  • Christmas decorations
  • Sports equipment
  • Halloween decorations
  • Christmas Tree
  • Extra tiles from remodeling
  • Workout equipment
  • Signs

Step Two – Sort

Sorting items to throw away to one side of garage and sort items to give away to the other side of garage.

I am not willing to take the time to sell things at a yard sale, but if that is your cup of tea, make a separate pile for things you want to sell.  I do sell some the best bits on Facebook (which I talk about here).

  • Move anything you haven’t touched recently (your definition, mine is things I haven’t used in the past year) to the throw away spot
  • Move give away items to the give away spot

Step 3 – Clean and Replace

For each shelf/area/bin determine a clear plan for where each category of items from Step 1 BELONGS,

garage organizaiton

Clean -This is a good time to sweep/hose down the floor of your garage.   If you are really ambitious you can use a power washer. Get rid of cobwebs and dirt that accumulate naturally.

Replace items.  If your garage is short on storage space make use of overhead storage and vertical space. 

Pulling everything out and emptying the entire garage is not really a good option for me.  Clearing out the entire space is a bigger time commitment and I only have one day to do it.  I’m NOT the person who is going to set up a bunch of beautiful matching storage containers and shelves in my garage.  I don’t have the time or the money for that, even if it looks really pretty.   

If you have the time, it’s a good idea to start with an empty garage and clean the entire floor before you start re-organizing items. 

An organized and clean garage has has nothing to do with beauty and matching bins.  It’s ALL about FUNCTION.  I just need easy access to the things I use most often and functional storage solutions. 

If you liked this, you might be interested in a more practical approach to pantry organization and garage organization tips that are free.

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