CLEAR OUT, CLEAN UP, OPTIMIZE

If your garage is so cluttered you can’t even find your car, make this year the one you finally tame those mountains of mess.

Sort your stuff. Sort all the piles of junk … er … stuff that have somehow collected in your garage. Set up four separate action categories:

1. Donate or sell—things which are still usable, just not by you.

2. Recycle—old newspapers, plastic containers without lids, etc.

3. Throw out—whatever is not worth anything to anybody. Use caution when disposing of toxic or flammable items; handle with care and take them to your local hazardous waste center.

4. Keep—what you really promise you need. Notice how we strategically placed this one last, so you’ll be less tempted to lump everything into this category. This category can be broken down even further, into seasonal and regularly used.

Clean and brighten. Once you finally get rid of the garage clutter and make some room in there, do a pre-spring cleanup.

Wash your garage windows and floor. Rent a hot water pressure washer if the floor is badly soiled. For safety’s sake, before you begin pressure washing, remove all flammable substances, and ensure that you have adequate ventilation and drainage.

Wipe down the garage doors and walls, as well, to remove spider webs and general grime. While you’re at it, schedule an inspection of the garage doors to make sure they’re operating smoothly and safely.

Plan your garage space. Now sit down, take a deep breath and relax. You’re not done yet, but a brief time out will allow you to consider exactly how you’ll make optimal use of your newly cleared and cleaned garage. Take accurate measurements, then sketch as you plan.

Remember that the main function of a garage is as a protected parking area. It also may be the only practical place for your washer and dryer, and possibly your freezer and water heater too. With that in mind, calculate how much room you need for your vehicle(s) and appliances before anything else. Then you can add in the extras, such as workspace and storage.

A place for everything. If your garage will be multitasking, install a parking bumper or stop to keep your car where it belongs. This is actually required according to the building code in many localities.

Optimize your “bonus” space by fitting in a convenient combination of work area and storage. Install a fold-down workbench, which can do double duty as a craft table. Those outdated cabinets you took down when you remodeled your kitchen? Repurpose them as no-cost storage units.

—Laura Firszt | More Content Now

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