Do you cringe when you behold the plethora of junk in your garage? Are you ashamed to leave your garage door open for all the neighbors to see your cluttered garage? If yes, then knowing how to declutter a garage will help you to gain back precious space in your garage.
After all, most garages are so stuffed that people can’t even park their cars in them!
Don’t worry if you’re in this boat. Although it can be challenging, it is indeed possible to declutter your garage and gain back valuable storage space.
If you’d like to simplify your home and reduce the amount of stuff that you own, then knowing how to declutter a garage can help you reap major benefits.
Here are 5 tips for how to declutter a garage full of stuff.
Before we dive in, I’d like to let you know that this post is one of many on How to Declutter Your Home.
Tip #1 | Define the function of the space.
This tip may seem like a no-brainer. I mean, it’s a space to store stuff, right? But defining the function of a space helps the decluttering and organizing process – even if it is a storage space.
This is because, for some, their garage might be more than a place to store random junk and park their car. It might be a place to park 1 car plus a home gym or something of the sort.
Whether it’s purely for storage or a multi-purpose space, define what function the space serves in your home. For example, “a place to store holiday decorations, hand-me-downs, bikes, and luggage.” Or “our home gym, tool storage, and a place to park 1 car.”
Whether the main storage area in your home is a garage, attic, basement, shed, or large closet, defining a purpose for the space and keeping it tidy makes it infinitely easier to find what you need. It also keeps the storage area from becoming a random “catch-all” without rhyme or reason.
Since we’re talking about how to declutter a garage, the goal is to make the space fulfill its optimal function. If you aren’t able to fit your car in the garage, then making space for a car would be a good first goal.
If you are able to fit your car, but can’t make sense of where things are, then setting up a system to easily find things might be a good goal.
Tip #2 | Categorize and declutter by category.
If there isn’t one, start by making a pathway through all the stuff. Then, utilize the pathway to access the stuff in order to categorize it.
Once the space is cleared, create piles of stuff by category. If your garage is really full of stuff, this can be achieved by shoving items of one category to one side of the garage.
A few ideas for categories are:
- Gardening Supplies
- Maintenance Supplies
- Bikes / Recreational Items
- Sports Equipment
- Outdoor Toys
- Lawn Equipment
- Exercise Equipment
- Sentimental Items
- Emergency Supplies
Next, declutter the items by category.
It’s critical to be as decisive as possible.
Postponed decisions slow down the process unnecessarily. And, honestly, storage areas usually hold excess stuff that we could do without.
In considering how to declutter a garage, a good rule of thumb is that if you didn’t even know what was in the box, you probably don’t need it.
Tip #3 | Create zones to streamline the space.
Creating zones for storing your stuff by category will help to streamline access to your stuff.
The categories you made will help you to set up zones accordingly. A bike zone, storage bin zone, outdoor supplies zone, etc.
Sometimes just labeling items in storage totes by category will help. You could also add shelves or hooks to maximize the vertical wall space.
Example of a Garage System
Here’s an example of how we’ve used bins in our garage. Each bin is labeled so we know what’s inside.
The top bins hold baby stuff, hand-me-down toys, and one child’s keepsakes, respectively. The bottom bins hold misc. household supplies, baby stuff, and maternity/nursing clothes, respectively.
Suitcases are stored on top of the bins to maximize space. The red duffle bag is an earthquake emergency kit with a black backpack on top filled with a 72-hour food kit.
Items that are accessed more often like tools and outside toys are stored in bins near the door to the garage.
Tip #4 | Set up a system.
Once you’ve decluttered, categorized, and zoned your storage space, you want to set up a system according to a workflow of how you use the space.
To make this a space that functions optimally, brainstorm ways in which you could create an intuitive storage system.
If you need to access bins of hand-me-down clothes, then they should be within reach. If you travel often, be sure to put the suitcases in a spot where you won’t have to move things in order to access them.
A system set up with zones will help other family members easily find things as well as return them to their rightful place. It’s simple and maybe obvious, but labels are the most helpful way to keep things tidy.
Once these zones are set up, you’ve got a good system. Reassess and tweak the system as needed.
Next-Level Storage Tote Organization
If you want to step it up with detailed organization, then grab these ToteScan labels. Simply slap these bad boys onto the side of your storage tote and the QR code will allow you to itemize the contents of the tote.
When you’d like to quickly find something, you can search by the tote name, item name, general keyword, or by scanning the label directly. It’s a great way to know where everything is, without having to know where everything is. It all works through the ToteScan app.
Tip #5 | Responsibly dispose of trash items.
Now that you know how to declutter a garage, getting rid of waste is the final step to complete the process.
It’s easy to donate items to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, or local charities.
However, once the garage is decluttered you may be faced with hazardous waste that cannot be donated or thrown in the dumpster.
Be sure to dispose of chemicals, paint, batteries, and other hazardous waste at a Hazardous Waste Recycling Center nearby.
How to declutter a garage full of stuff? Just start!
Like decluttering other areas of your home, decluttering your garage may seem like a daunting or even impossible task. It’s easier to perpetuate the mess instead of attempting to overhaul it and create order.
However, small progress can be made in just an hour or two. Then, before you know it, you’ve created an organized, tidy storage space that will have your neighbors asking, “how did you declutter your garage?”
All it takes is a little elbow grease.