So this project recently came into need for me recently. I had been working on a few wood projects. . In my house, I am the handyman. I work with the tools. Heck, I am the one building much needed hanging brackets for my husband's mancave. Not that I am complaining, I love building things. Thus my single car garage became a mess with no car inside.
Normally for the blog I would do recipes for cleaning products, but lets face it, you need a place to store you stuff. Often, that is the garage. Most of us do this so badly the car wont fit inside anymore. Lets be honest, most of us invested a minimum of four figures in that vehicle before any repairs. Why would we store it outside? Metal does rust in weather eventually. Even the prolonged periods in the sun is damaging to the paint. This is the reason I decided to make a list of tips for cleaning the garage.
Get some help.
Cannot stress this one enough, especially when you have kids. Chances are you have things that are not "your's." What I mean by this is chances are you have things like bikes, toys, sports equipment, etc. Get your kids and spouse to pitch in so that you do not get rid of something that you all were nit ready to let go of. Not to mention this project may require heavy lifting. You do not need to blow your back out taking out heavy boxes of stuff.
Invest in storage
If you do not already have it, a large metal shelving unit is a big help. So are large plasic storage containers.
A wise idea would also be to get hanging storage for things like gardening tools and bikes such as a ceiling bike rack. You can use the other half of the wall for the single car garage or the other wall in the double car garage for this.
Sort things out.
For this you will need at least two large boxes and a trash can. Sort everything you find. Label one box as sell, and the other as donate. As you go through the stuff in your garage you will either deem the item as keep, sell, donate, or trash.
If you decide to keep items, put them away right away. Make sure you have areas of your garage designated as needed. I like to label this ahead of time so there is no confusion while sorting. You can tape labels into each shelf. For things like tools you may want to desginate an entire shelving unit or area of the garage for that and do so where it makes sense. For instance if you have a tool bench you probably want to put the tools on the shelves next to it.
This applies for the rest of sorting. If you have not used something you find in the last two years, get rid of it. Chances are you either do not need the item, or you forgot you even had it. In both cases you probably will never use it.
For things you are going to sell, put them in the box or boxes, and set them aside for a garage or yard sale. However, for the things you donate, DO NOT WAIT FOR A FEW DAYS. I have found this to be one of my personal worst at actually doing. My husband and I had a box that was meant to be donated before we moved to my current house. Low and behold a year later it finally got donated after sitting in my garage since the day we moved in. Take it from me, if you do not donate that stuff now, it may never leave. If you cannot get to a place to donate, you can call to see if they will come to you. Many organizations such as the Salvation Army can come to you for pickup. If you cannot even do that, post a craigslist ad for free stuff. Most of the time, it will be gone that day.
When it comes to what is trash, if the item is broken, expired, or you feel the item is not worth your time to get rid of at all, it is trash. Please do not donate your stuff that is broken. Unwanted but still worth the time to donate by you, yes please donate, but not broken. Donation centers will trash that broken stuff anyway. If you have expired chemicals, trash it. If you have nails and screws laying on the floor, trash it. You get my point.
In the end you want to get everything but your car off of the ground and into or onto those storage shelves and hangers you have.
Keeping the Garage clean
First off, remember to put nothing but the appliances, car, and shelves on the floor of you garage.
Sort again at least once a year.
Spray the floor with the hose once a year.
Any time you need to use something from the garage, put it back when you are done.
Keep a bag of kitty litter handy, even if you do not have a cat. This is the quickest and most environmentally friendly way to clean up oil or any other fluids you typically find in the garage that may spill. You just pour, absorb, sweep and toss.