How to Incorporate Green Living Into Your Garage Organization

When the cleaning bug hits, it is easy to give into its organizational fury and start tossing unused items into the trash indiscriminately. This article will help you organize your garage quickly and efficiently while staying true to your green living principles. Simple tips on how to reduce reuse and recycle your garage “junk” will help you keep your garage and conscious clear of clutter.


  1. Image titled Incorporate Green Living Into Your Garage Organization Step 1
    Prep. Dress properly for the occasion. Put away your evening best and slip on old clothes, closed toe shoes, eye wear, work gloves, and a breathing mask. Depending on the state of your garage, you may want to bribe family or friends to help out by offering food, beverages and live music. Make sure you set up a temporary space to put everything you take out of your garage.
  2. Image titled Incorporate Green Living Into Your Garage Organization Step 2
    Clear the space. Remove everything out of your garage including cars and pets. Place items in your temporary space you set aside. Clean the garage walls and floor with dusters and brooms. Scare away all the critters and take a look at your brand new space. Do not be afraid to paint your garage a bold color that will make you feel glad to return home from a long day at work or do laundry.
  3. Image titled Incorporate Green Living Into Your Garage Organization Step 3
    Sort. Create a keep, sell/donate, recycle/repurpose, and trash pile.
    • Keep. Keep only those items that you need and use regularly. Visualize your nice clean garage if you are having trouble letting go of some items.
    • Sell/Donate. Sell or donate items that you have not used in the past year. You can sell or donate those "to be fixed" items if they are in fairly good condition and are not dangerous. Check out charities and local organizations that will pick up your items from home. You can also sell your items in a garage sale or on sites like Amazon, eBay, or Craigslist. Your garage may be where your year end bonus was hiding.
    • Recycle/Repurpose. Many items in your "Trash" pile, like metal, plastic, paper, wood or glass items can be recycled. Please help out mother earth and check out the following links for recycling old paint, hazardous chemicals, batteries and electronics. In fact, many cities have free electronics recycle days and many stores take back electronics and batteries. Check with your local government to see what items the city recycles and upcoming recycling events. Think of reusing items by turning them into lawn/garden art or totally re-purposing them into something new and useful around your house.
    • Trash. Trash items that have been labelled "to be fixed" but have remained in disrepair for the past year and are dangerous.
  4. Image titled Incorporate Green Living Into Your Garage Organization Step 4
    Return the Keep Pile Items. Take a good look at your empty garage. Now visualize how you need to use your garage on a daily basis. Start placing the items, grouped by terms of use (e.g. all like things together or all activity based objects together). For example, place all gardening tools together in one place close to the door because you garden every morning. Some example categories include gardening, recreation/sports, hobby/craft, laundry/cleaning supplies, tools, holiday decorations, long term storage, etc. Think about the best way to store each group of items in terms of how often you need access and who needs access to them. Choose storage units that are the proper size and shape for each group of items.
    • Use the best organizational tools for your space and budget. Some suggestions are ceiling mounted storage, wall mounted peg boards, hooks, utility shelves, wall-mounted shelving units, or re-purposed furniture (like bookshelves, crates piled up or nailed to the wall, or an over toilet storage cabinet).
    • Line up bins and crates along the garage wall to set up your home recycling system. You can recycle as much or as little as your lifestyle allows. Some recycling category suggestions are to create bins for paper/newspaper/cardboard, bottles (if your state has a take back policy), plastic containers, electronics, batteries, or compost.
    • Label all storage bins on at least two sides, and face the labels out when stored for easy access to the items within.
    • Organizational materials can be found at any home improvement store, dollar store, thrift/antique store, or even around the house.
    • Be sure to think about the space you will need for your car and ensure there is sufficient room to open car doors.
  5. Image titled Incorporate Green Living Into Your Garage Organization Step 5
    Maintain. In order to maintain all your hard work, train each family member on the organizational system. It will take two or three or more times for each person to remember to return the items to their assigned space in the garage. Once everyone knows and helps with the system, keeping your garage space organized will be a breeze. Schedule a biannual declutter of the garage. If all else fails, call in a Professional Organizer.


  • Take a short water break every hour, especially if it is very hot or humid, to keep your body energized to complete the project
  • If you find items in your garage keep pile that belong elsewhere in your house, then transfer those items to the appropriate location.
  • Long pants and a long sleeved shirt will help keep insects, dust, and old garage chemicals off the skin during the garage organization process.
  • For large scale garage projects, try using the old medium sized cardboard boxes as containers for the sorting piles. When the boxes get filled, it is time to make a trip to the local thrift store or recycling center. This way you are able to gradually sort through years of junk.


  • Be aware of falling items stored above your head when cleaning out the garage.
  • Wear personal protective equipment like closed toe shoes, eye wear, dust mask, gloves, long sleeves and long pants.
  • Do not to mix any hazardous or unlabeled chemicals stored in your garage. Be sure you know how to properly dispose of them by checking your local government website.

Things You'll Need

  • Appropriate work clothes
  • Water and snacks
  • Tools
  • Helping hands

Article Info

Categories: Home Organization & Recycling