Garage neatly organized with carked parked inside

The Great Garage Cleanout: What Should Stay and What Should Go This Spring

We talk a lot about how you should break down big organizing tasks into smaller ones. (We even have a 30-day checklist to help you get organized without feeling overwhelmed.) But sometimes, an organization project warrants your full attention over several hours. Yes, we’re talking about that major catch-all space where your car is supposed to stay: the garage.

There’s a great chance you’re unsure of exactly what’s being stored in your garage. If you’re lucky, you keep your car there. The other items stored in your garage are probably a mix of sports equipment, bikes, outdoor toys, tools, boxes that have never been unpacked, furniture and food. But some of those things should be stored there and some shouldn’t.

Here’s how to clean out your garage and what you should store elsewhere.

Two teenagers cleaning out and organizing the garage

First, Remove Everything

To get started, back the cars out of the garage and park them on the street if possible, giving you the driveway to work with. You may want to put down some tarps to help you remove everything from the garage and separate items into piles.

After you’ve removed everything from your garage, take the opportunity to clean the floors, walls and windows. Time to do away with cobwebs that have crept into windowsills and dirt and leaves that have accumulated into corners. Sweep out your garage and power wash the floor for a fresh start. You may even consider painting the floor for a more finished look.

Make three piles: what to keep, what to donate and what to throw away.

What Should Stay

Obviously, these guidelines are different for everyone, but generally, you should keep:

  • Things you’ve actually used over the past year, such as gardening equipment or patio furniture.
  • Bikes and outdoor toys that will be passed down to younger kids in your family.
  • Tools you use frequently.
  • Sports equipment, gardening tools, home improvement tools.

Paint cans with different colors stored in garage

What Should Go

It’s time to toss these items that likely won’t be used in the near future:

  • Anything that you’re going to fix “soon.” If a tool, bike or a piece of equipment hasn’t been repaired yet, it’s time to get rid of it.
  • Old or unneeded gasoline, kerosene, paint or other chemicals. Find out how to dispose of chemicals here.
  • Expired food, pet food or anything else that can go bad after time.
  • Building supplies that you had hoped to turn into a “fun” project, but that have been taking up space for a few years.
  • Furniture that is warped and broken.

What You Shouldn’t Store In Your Garage

There are a number of things you might be storing in your garage that just shouldn’t be kept there:

  • Paint should be stored in a temperature-controlled area. Other chemicals should be stored away from all heat sources.
  • Propane tanks should be stored away from your house in a well-ventilated area.
  • Furniture and leather goods are susceptible to warping, mold and mildew.
  • Food, including pet food, attracts mice, possums and other critters.
  • Paper goods, such as paper plates, paper towels, tissues and toilet paper can attract bugs and could be ruined by moisture.

Garage cleaned out and neatly organized with motocycle stored

Organizing Your Garage

Now you’ve removed everything from your garage and figured out what stays and what goes, it’s time to reorganize your tools, toys and outdoor accessories.

One key to keeping your garage tidy—and always having room for the car—is to keep things off the ground. A custom garage solution with a storeWALL organization system (see it in our Utility Racks section) and plenty of baskets, hooks and bins can help you securely store a variety of equipment off the ground and on the wall. Custom cabinets with space-saving sliding doors can also help you find the right place for those outdoor couch cushions and your golf clubs, for example. And a built-in workbench provides space to build and repair things right where you need it.

If you’re interested in a custom solution to organize your garage, reach out to us for a free, in-home consultation!

Garage Organization | Home Organization | Organization