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Declutter your garage with these 5 easy steps

Recent studies showed more than half of the people with two-car garages can only park one of their cars in the garage because the rest is used for storage. We’ve all done it — just put that in the garage until later. And then, later never comes. You stack the clutter neatly, tell yourself you’ll take care of it and, still it sits. Then the job to clean and declutter seems insurmountable because of all the stuff you’ve accumulated. We’re going to help you out with our garage cleaning tips. Clean, declutter, and organize in five easy steps.

Right up front we are going to tell you it will be easier if you enlist the help of your family. They can pull you back from the ‘throw everything out’ ledge or push items off the ledge you are trying to keep. You should be able to do this in a weekend — let’s get started.

family cleans garage

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Divide and conquer

This is your garage cleaning mantra: Keep, sell, donate, toss, and reorganize. Pull the cars (or car) out of the garage so you’ve got room to work.

You are going to make keep, sell, donate, and toss piles. Then you re-organize the ‘keep’ items to make the space useable and the items accessible. Martha Stewart shows us how to get rid of anything.

tools hanging on wall


This is the easy and hard part. You are certainly going to keep the snowblower, lawnmower, bicycles, gardening equipment you use every week, shovels, inclement weather apparel, ladders, decorations, and recreational items, says Unclutter.

Now we re-evaluate the ‘keep’ pile to see if some of it should be moved into the ‘sell’ pile.

Are there items there that you haven’t used in a year or more? Never going bowling again? Sell the bowling ball, donate the shoes. Not really as into cross country skiing as you thought you’d be? Sell those skis and poles. The kids are never going to ride those bikes again, who are you kidding? Sell them.

Dog crates, cat carriers, and you don’t have either anymore; sell them.

Miscellaneous items you keep telling yourself you will need or use someday — someday is gone; sell or donate. 


Extra raincoats, winter coats, gloves, mittens, the third and fourth pair of shoes you keep as yard work shoes — donate them. Holiday decorations you bought because the kids, who are now in college, thought they were cute six years ago — donate them. Those special pruning shears you bought for the bush that has long passed on — donate them. 

Now take a look at the items in the ‘sell’ pile and be real with yourself. Are you actually going to sell them or let them sit in the ‘sell’ area because you are never going to have the time to do that? If the talk with yourself and the family ends with ‘we are never going to sell this stuff’ put them in the donate pile.

Put the items you are donating into the car so no one wanders out and decides, ‘We really should keep this.’ And you really do take them to a charitable organization and donate them.


Items you are keeping for spare parts — toss them. Shabby extra clothes or boots that shouldn’t be donated — toss them. Anything you have no idea why you kept or for what, of course needs to go. Faded, ripped, damaged decorations go into the trash. Any game or other item “just missing one piece” put in the trash. Empty boxes — people seem to think they need to keep item boxes because they will be needing them to put stuff in; discard or recycle. 

People also seem enamored with the idea of keeping ‘shop rags’ for use later. If you have four bins of ‘shop rags’ cull at least two of them. 

Properly dispose of old paint, old fertilizer, old insecticide, and any other cleaning or lawn chemicals you have been hanging onto for more than a year.

organized garage


Utilize your wall space. Bicycles, shovels, ladders, hoses can all be hung on the wall using some great organizing products. Put the gardening supplies, recreational items, and seasonal stuff like snow blowers and shovels clustered together in one area.

Look at your shelf space and put items you use a lot, like pet leashes, garbage bags, and shopping bags within easy reach. Group auto items in one area, gardening items in one area, and sports equipment in another area.

Holiday decorations that you use once a year go on the top shelves.

Keep floor space as open as possible so you can sweep and not track dirt, leaves, and salt into the house.

High fives and promises to keep things organized all around. Good job, you’ve done it.

Even if you live in a temperate climate and don’t necessarily need to keep the cars in the garage, that’s what the garage is there for. If your garage is functioning as more of a storage unit, then take a weekend and use these simple steps to declutter and organize it. Moreover, check our list of garage decor ideas, in there you will discover new ways to brighten the space and find inventive ways to improve its look while storing personal items — as well as organizing your space.

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Deb Goncalves
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Deb's work has appeared on Moms, Babygaga, and WorldAtlas. When she's not working (that's hard to say about a Capricorn), she…
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