If you were ever asked, “What is the black hole of a house?” what would your answer be?
I know my answer would be the garage! That is usually the one place in a house where everything goes never to be seen again.
Let’s face it, we all like to put away our problems and stuff them in a place where we don’t have to see them every day. We keep putting them away until they are ready to blow up, and it gets very tricky to find something important in the mess.
We often forget about how much a little effort on the weekends can give us – a spacious, organized, and recreational garage.
Here are a few steps to first clean up the garage and then do some remodeling. Let’s go!
Step 1: Remove the Clutter
If it’s been a while since you went to the garage (at least for cleaning purposes), I suggest bracing yourself for anything. Figure out what exactly is occupying your space. Be patient and take them out one by one. Two things to remember while doing that is:
- Size matters. Take the big items out first so that you can have enough space for other, smaller things.
- Don’t try to start at the end on your first try. Pick one section and work your way in.
Pull everything out in the driveway (but don’t block your car’s way, of course). Now, it’ll be easier for you to sort.
Step 2: Clean the Garage
Are you looking at your freshly decluttered garage right now? Yes, it can be unbelievable to see the kind of space your garage had all along. Now that you have an empty space, let’s focus on cleaning it!
I’ll take you through a deep-clean process of the garage ceiling, wall, door, and floor.
Your garage ceiling probably doesn’t have any stains (unless you’re in the habit of throwing crazy parties involving pizza tosses at the ceiling), so simply dusting it for cobwebs should be enough.
If there are any broken utility pipes or cracks, attend to them at once. If there are molds forming, wipe them with a vinegar-soaked cloth or liquid bleach.
The walls can sometimes be tricky, depending on what kind of walls you have inside the garage. If you have them decorated with wallpaper, I’d suggest tearing them down and getting new ones (depending on the condition and your attachment to it, of course).
But if you decide to salvage the existing wallpaper, here are some cleaning tips for you.
- First, you need to determine the kind of wallpaper you have. Vinyl, fiberglass, and fabric-based wallpapers are the most common types. Depending on the kind, use non-abrasive cleaners and microfiber cloths. Do not use harsh chemicals, as they pose the risk of causing the wallpaper to lose its color and texture.
- For water stains or grease stains, only use deep-cleaning methods for vinyl wallpapers. Try to do a patch test on areas where the stain can be hidden before moving on to the entire wallpaper.
If your walls aren’t decorated with wallpaper, you can use the old trick of “dust and wipe.” Use a long-handled sweeper to clean the grime and then some detergent and a mop to scrub off excess grease/stains.
The cabinets aren’t usually that tricky. A little wiping should do the trick. But if you store paint cans in your garage, oil or a detergent scrub is necessary. Steel racks get rusty, so be careful handling them.
Use TSP solutions to remove rust.
Just like the walls, the best method to clean your floors will depend on your floor material. Tiled, cemented, and carpeted floors are very common, so I’ll tell you about cleaning all three.
- If your floor is carpeted, focus on destaining or degreasing them. Use sawdust or cat litter to soak the stains up and then, deep clean with muriatic acid if you have tough stains.
- Tiled and cemented floors are easier. Liquid bleach should do the trick. If you have rust stains, use an ounce of TSP in a gallon of hot water to remove them.
- If there are cracks on the floor, fill them with epoxy solution and even them out.
I think it’s safe to say that we now have a sparkling clean garage! Time to organize the clutter that has been sitting on your driveway.
Step 3: Organize!
I think this is the hardest part of a garage cleanup. Time to sort out the “keep” and the “discard” pile. And remember, when in a dilemma, follow Marie Kondo’s philosophy and ask yourself if it sparks joy!
There will be a lot of things in the discard pile that you can donate and recycle. But think VERY hard before you think of keeping something. Will you really need the item or are you simply having a hard time letting go?
Putting faith in your judgment, let’s move on to organizing the “keep” pile.
Have a Floor Plan
You should look at the size and functionality of all the things you want to keep in the garage and create a plan in your head to follow through.
Do not throw everything in together, especially small items. Make the best use of garage bins to separate and categorize items.
Wall Mounts Are Magical!
You can save a lot of space by mounting tools on the wall. If you have a toolbox with designated space for all your tools, congratulations. You won’t have to go through so much trouble.
But if you’re like me, and there are a lot of things lying around, install a pegboard with tool outlines to organize them better. That way, you’ll know if something is missing. Add hooks to the pegboard to mount things up easily.
Recycle old cabinets for garden tool storage. What you no longer want inside the house can still have great uses in the garage.
Remove Combustible Items
Propane tanks are quite dangerous to be kept in the garage, so find another place for them. Also, paint cans risk losing their quality, so find a cooler place to store them.
Clean & Vacuum Properly
After all that hard work, looking at the result must bring a big smile to your face! Now, you must take regular care of your brand-new garage to maintain its status.
Keeping things clean is a priority, so vacuum thrice a week, clean the shelves every week, and, most importantly, return the tools right where you took them from.
Keeping the garage clean can have a lot of benefits and following the above steps will ensure that you do it in the simplest way possible. Just a few hours of effort in the weekend will ensure that you have a fully functional clean and tidy garage. So what are you waiting for? Get down to cleaning your garage this weekend. Happy Cleaning!