Uncluttering the garage

When you’re deciding where to start on a whole-home organizing project, it often makes sense to start with the attic, basement, or garage — whatever space you use as secondary storage for things you don’t use very often. There are two reasons for this:

  • As you clear out the rest of your home, you’ll probably find things you want to move to one of these secondary storage places. Clearing it out first makes room for you to do those moves later.
  • You’re probably less attached to many things in these secondary storage spaces, so it’s often quick and easy to make some real progress.

I’ve been doing my own garage uncluttering project for the past couple weeks. I knew it was time when bags and boxes were accumulating on the floor, making it harder to get into the storage closets. The following are some things I’ve done:

  • Dropped off donations that were just sitting in the garage.
  • Donated some items I had thought I might sell, after realizing I hadn’t done that for years and was unlikely to do it in the future.
  • Recycled the box from my printer. It made sense to keep this for a while, in case I needed to return the printer, but that time has passed.
  • Tossed an old pre-packaged emergency kit that had somehow gotten moldy.
  • Put the lid to a kitty litter box in a dumpster someone let me use — it won’t fit in my garbage can — since I’ve now switched to using an unlidded box.
  • Took a box of packing popcorn my local UPS Store. I rarely package something for mailing, and when I do I’d use something other than packing popcorn.
  • Got rid of random items I’d saved because they might be useful sometime — but which I hadn’t used in years and couldn’t reasonably imagine needing in the near future. And they were all things I could easily get again, pretty inexpensively, if by any chance I did need them.
  • Moved my cat carriers out of the garage and into my front hall closet, per the post-wildfire advice I read.

Now that I’ve done this uncluttering, it’s easy to put away the things I just bought that belong in the garage: spare light bulbs and batteries. I could also find spots for things I’d recently moved to the garage from the house but hadn’t put away for lack of free space.

I’m not done yet — I still need to go through all the old paint, for one thing. But my garage is working a lot better now.

Want to join me in clearing out a space? A friend named Dinah just wrote that instead of joining NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) she would celebrate DiProProMo (Dinah Project Progress Month). That sounds like a nice idea that other non-novel-writers may want to adopt.

3 Comments for “Uncluttering the garage”

  1. posted by infmom on

    We got a HUGE start on the garage uncluttering by calling 800-GOT-JUNK. They will recycle what can be recycle, donate what can be donated, and get rid of the rest. The service isn’t cheap, but not having to do all that work ourselves was priceless, especially since my husband’s tendency to cling to stuff that “might come in handy someday” faded in the face of four burly guys moving our stuff into the back of the truck.

    The garage is not totally clean, but we can now see the floor and we’ve got a lot of empty spaces on the shelves. Win!

  2. posted by Sidney Leonard on

    I just did this as well, we used 1-800-GOTJUNK also but they don’t take paint. For that I lined my wheelbarrow with newspaper and poured the paint onto the newspaper to dry. Once dry it can go into the regular trash, its no longer considered hazardest waste!

  3. posted by SkiptheBS on

    For paint and chemicals recycling, check with your local recycling center, landfill, and fire department. Many counties have a chemical drop-off day one or more times a year.

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