How to Clean out Your Garage

Four Parts:Setting aside the timeGetting organizedCleaning out the garageFinalizing the clean-out

This guide explains how to clean your garage well and keep it organized without clutter.

Part 1
Setting aside the time

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    Set aside a full weekend for this project. Get the family involved too, unless you think they will prevent you being thorough, and assign tasks to everyone. Suggest a garage sale and the possible cash flow arising from that in return for their assistance!

Part 2
Getting organized

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    If you don't have shelving in your garage already, consider purchasing a strong shelving unit for your garage walls. All warehouse hardware stores sell various types. Storing stuff on the floor is the no-no of organization.
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    Buy a number of plastic containers with lids that will fit into your shelving unit. Measure the height of your shelves, and make sure the bins are not too tall for your shelving. These are available at Target, Wal-Mart, or other such stores.
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    You will need three (3) areas or containers for the following:
    1. Trash
    2. Donation/Sell, and
    3. Action Items. Action items include items that you have borrowed and need to return, things that need to be taken for repair, and items that belong somewhere else in your home. If you can, use a large trash bin for the trash, and boxes or large trash bags for the charity stuff and the items you want to repair or return to others.

Part 3
Cleaning out the garage

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    Throw away any obvious junk that is lying around that you never use. It doesn't matter if its "good stuff." If you are not using it, it doesn't matter what it's worth. Exceptions, of course, include photographs and other keepsakes. Adopt the rule that it if hasn't been used for 12 months, it is probably not needed (except for very expensive equipment, or if you have been too ill or work-swamped to get to a hobby).
    • Remove big items, such as work tables, totes, vacuums, etc. for more cleaning space.
    • Pick up small things, such as tools and decorations and separate.
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    As you go through all of your stuff, you will want to organize it into major categories; for example, tools, Christmas ornaments, collectibles, pet supplies, etc. Be methodical, as the more things that you can place together in related groups, the easier it will be to see what you want to keep, what you have in duplicate, and what you no longer want or need. You will likely find something that you have been looking for!
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    Consider using eBay, Etsy or other online sales sites to sell anything that has commercial value. It is easy enough to post items, and you may have something in your garage that is worth more than you might think. Look up a similar item first to see what the potential value might be.
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    Start collecting these groups of things in the separate containers you purchased.
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    When a container is filled, label it clearly, put it on a shelf, and start filling the next one. The goal is to have everything you want to keep in a container on your shelves clearly labeled so that you can see where things are from a distance.

Part 4
Finalizing the clean-out

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    When you are finished, call the people you need to return things to and arrange to drop them off or have them picked up. If they have decided they don't want these items anymore, add them to your Donation/Sell pile.
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    Review the items that need repairs. Is it going to be worth the trouble and the expense? If not, put them into your Trash bin. If you decide it is worth the trouble, then put that item into your car to take to the repair shop tomorrow.
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    Take the donation stuff to donate to charity immediately. Don't let anything just sit around. The objective of this project is to create space and organization, so things you don't want or need shouldn't be in your garage anymore, or anywhere else around your house for that matter.
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    Get to the business of selling what you can. As mentioned before, you can use your unwanted garage stuff to have a garage sale, if you are so inclined. Or, you can also sell your things on eBay or Etsy as described earlier.
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    Now you can sweep your newly acquired floor space. And pat yourself on the back. You did it! Congratulations. And enjoy your new space.


  • Throw anything away that you don't need anymore.
  • Keep only the necessary objects and get rid of all the rest.
  • Take short breaks but don't sit down and watch your favorite TV show, otherwise you never get done with the job.
  • Put the stuff you want to keep in a safe place where it won't get damaged.
  • Wear protective clothing (long sleeves, long pants, and gloves) if you live in an area with poisonous spiders, snakes or other potentially dangerous insects.
  • Think of the last time you used that item. If it isn't special (like a childhood teddy bear or doll), and you haven't used it in the last 12 months, donate it or throw it away.


  • Clean up oil spills before they stain or cause possible slips.
  • Be wary of chemicals. Make sure they are stored or disposed of carefully. Do not handle with bare hands; always wear gloves when moving chemical products (gardening, tool-related etc.).
  • If you are allergic to any kind of dust avoid that step and have someone else do it.

Things You'll Need

  • Labels
  • Plastic containers
  • Broom
  • Cloth and paper towels
  • Vacuum
  • Fan
  • Trash bags
  • Tape
  • Boxes

Article Info

Categories: Clutter Busting