The nice weather in West Michigan has finally arrived and settled in, and that means you’re probably planning on doing some outdoor work. Whether that is weeding and landscaping or tinkering on your bike, you’re going to need to move freely in, out, and around your garage. It might be time, then, for a thorough cleaning of your garage so that it’s in good condition and you can easily access everything you need to use to accomplish your tasks.

The first thing you need to do to clean out your garage is to remove everything from the space. Choose a nice, clear day for this job, and haul everything out to your driveway – everything. This may seem extreme or unnecessary, but while you are cleaning you should check for damage to your garage. You can’t do that if you can’t see everything, so haul it all out.

Once the garage is empty, look it over carefully. If you find evidence of damage or pest infestation, this is your chance to fix those problems. Then you can sweep everything out, wash the windows, and wipe out any cobwebs. When everything is clean, it’s time to do a thorough sorting of your belongings.

Another great thing about a comprehensive garage cleaning is that it gives you a chance to look over all of the stuff you had crammed in there and get rid of what you don’t need. This includes:

  • Broken items
  • Things you no longer use like kids’ sleds or old outdoor furniture
  • Duplicate items

Before you put anything back in you garage, you need to evaluate if you need it or will use it again. If you don’t need it or will not use it, either throw it out or donate it, depending on the condition of the item. Make piles for items you’ll keep, items you’ll toss, items you’ll donate, and items you intend to store. Like every other room in the house there are bound to be items you do not need immediately but do not want to throw away because you will need them some day. These are things that you should set aside to put into storage. Duplicate tools that are in good condition is an excellent example of this. Outdoor Christmas decorations is another.

When you’ve sorted out all of the items into piles, take what you’ve decided to keep and do another sort – this time like with like. If you haven’t already, create separate areas of the garage for different types of tools or belongings: garden, automotive, and sports, for instance.

Finally, invest in organizational tools like boxes, bins and shelving, and put your already sorted areas into the appropriate places. You will thank yourself the next time you need to find your rubber mallet or a badminton birdie and it’s in reach within a few steps.

When the job is done, step back and give yourself credit for accomplishing two jobs: cleaning and organizing. Not everyone has a deluxe, heated, space that could double as an operating room, but with a little work and the proper tools, everyone can have a clean and organized garage that is easy to access and navigate. It feels good to have a well ordered space, and you may find that you want to tackle more chores and projects now that you know where all of your tools and supplies are.