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Garage Clutter With Kids’ Toys, Bikes, Clothes and Other Household Items

How To Clean Out Your Garage

A Complete Guide to a Successful Garage Clean Out 

If your garage is a dumping ground for all the unwanted items in your home, chances are you’re up to your ears in junk. We know it’s a big undertaking, so we pulled together a comprehensive list of garage clean up ideas to help you get started.

Start by setting aside some time for a clean-out-your-garage day. If you need to, you can even space it out among the whole weekend. Let’s get to work!


How to Declutter Your Garage in 5 Steps 


Step 1: Decide What to Keep and What Can Go

Aside from the daunting idea of cleaning out your garage, it can be difficult to let go of some of the things you’ve kept over the years. When all else fails, channel your inner Marie Kondo and ask yourself, “Does this bring me joy?” Use these tips to declutter your garage and sort everything into one of the following piles: keep, donate, sell, misplaced items and trash.

Ask yourself the following questions when deciding if you should keep something:

  1. Do I truly need this? Be honest. If you really do need it and you really do use it, leave it in the keep pile. Otherwise, say goodbye.
  2. Have I used it at least once in the last year? If the answer is no, it’s probably safe to put this item in one of the other piles. Exceptions to this question could be things like a snow blower that only get used when there’s a big snow storm. Maybe you got lucky this year and didn’t need to use it, but you might next year.
  3. Did I forget this even existed? If you’ve gone this long without it and never missed it, it can go.
  4. Can it be repurposed? If you can reuse this in some other way, it may be worth keeping, but only if you’ll actually follow through with repurposing it.
  5. Am I keeping this for sentimental reasons? Are you keeping it just for the sake of having it? When was the last time you actually looked at it? It might be time to work up the courage to let it go.
  6. If I’m saving this “just in case,” do I realistically see myself ever using this? If you’re having a hard time getting rid of it because you’re worried you might need this item down the line, just think of this – have you needed it thus far? It’s only taking up space, and chances are when you finally let it go, you won’t even miss it.
  7. Do I have more than one of this item? If you have multiple, you probably only need one or a few, depending on what it is. Can you downsize?
  8. Could someone else benefit from this more than I could, or could I make money by selling it? If the answers to these questions are yes, you should put these items in the donate or sell piles.
  9. Is this item worth the space it’s taking up? If you’re holding onto an old coffee table because you have plans to fix it up but all it’s done is collect dust for the last year and a half, it’s not worth the space. Chances are, you’ll never get to it. It’s time to consider other options.

If you were able to part with it, what should you do with it? On to the things you no longer need.

 

Person Placing Clothes Into a Cardboard Box That Says, “Donate”

 

Step 2: Take Your Donate Pile to a Local Charity

From sports equipment to patio furniture, a variety of items can be donated. Someone else might be able to put it to good use, and you can deduct the donation from your taxes. Places like Goodwill, The Salvation Army and other local thrift stores are great places to take your unwanted items. Make sure to check the store’s donation guidelines before dropping your boxes off.

If you’re getting rid of furniture or other large items, consider dropping them off at your nearest Habitat for Humanity ReStore

Step 3: Sell Items in Good Condition

If you’re getting rid of a specialty item or something with a higher value, you may want to consider selling it. Maybe you can at least make some money back on what you no longer need. We’ve rounded up a few different ways you can sell your unwanted items.

List It Online

There are several websites and apps that can be used to easily sell items online. All it takes is a picture and a description. You can try listing on:

  • E-Bay
  • Craigslist
  • OfferUp
  • Facebook Marketplace
  • Poshmark

 

Clothes and Other Items Set Up on the Side of a Red House With a “Sale” Sign

 

Host a Garage Sale

If the weather is nice and you have enough items from your garage clean out to sell, you may want to consider planning a garage sale. Consider the following tips with advice from Gary Smith from Best Garage Sale Tips.

How to Have a Successful Garage Sale:

  • Clean and present your items for sale.
  • Prepare signs and advertising.
  • Decide on pricing for all items.
  • Think about how you’ll set up the sale.
  • Consider safety and security measures.
  • Decide what to do with all the money you make.

Step 4: Rehome Misplaced Items

These are items that need to be moved out of the garage. Whether it’s something you borrowed and need to return, an item that needs to be repaired or an object that belongs somewhere else in your house, put them together in a pile. Make sure you actually follow through and return them, repair them or put them away. After all that hard work, don’t let them become clutter again and sit around collecting dust for another few years.

 

CTA Banner for Roll Off Dumpster Sizes

 

Step 5: Plan for Junk Removal

If it’s broken or unusable, it’s time to throw it away. If you’re doing a major garage clean out, you might want to consider renting a dumpster. Whether you have boxes of moth-eaten clothes or larger items like appliances and furniture, a dumpster rental is the most convenient option to get the job done. Depending on the size of your garage and the amount of junk you plan to throw away, try renting a 15 cubic yard dumpster.

 

Person Pouring Oil into a Car

 

Pro Tip: Did you come across paint thinners, gasoline, old batteries or other hazardous materials while you were cleaning? You can find out how to safely dispose of these and other prohibited items on your city or county’s websites. You can also search Earth911 to find out how to get rid of automotive fluids and other specific debris.

Now that you’ve cleaned out your garage, it’s time to scrub it down.


How to Deep Clean Your Garage


Take advantage of the momentum you have from your garage clean out and give it a good wash from top to bottom. Here are some garage cleaning tips to get help get rid of dust and stains.

Sweep and Wash Your Floors

The first and easiest thing to do is sweep the floor to get rid of dust and dirt. If you don’t have any stains, go over the floor with a mop, or even try power washing the area, and you’re good to go. If you find grease, oil or paint spills that have left a mark on your floor, we have some steps for you to try that should leave your garage spotless.

Get Rid of Grease and Oil Stains

Step 1: Absorb the stain.

  • Put down a layer of kitty litter over the stain to absorb any excess liquid. Sawdust or cornmeal works, too. 
  • Vacuum or sweep up the absorbing material.

Step 2: Scrub out the rest of the stain with a detergent or cleaning agent. 

  • Try a degreaser from a home improvement store. We recommend using it in a corner of the room first to make sure it won’t ruin the floor. 
  • Apply the degreaser to the stain and let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • Scrub with a nylon brush until the stain is lifted. 

Step 3: Mop the floor with water and floor cleaner.

Remove Dried Paint

Did you spill some paint during your last DIY project? Here’s how to get it off your floor.

  • Scrub the paint stain with trisodium phosphate (TSP) and water.
  • Rinse it with water and let it dry for a few hours.
  • Scrape off any peeling paint with a putty knife.
  • Apply paint thinner and leave it overnight.
  • If the stain is small, use a wire brush or scraper to remove the remaining paint. If it’s a large or outdoor area, use a pressure washer.
  • If the paint still isn’t completely gone, repeat steps 4 and 5.
  • Mop the floor with water and floor cleaner.

Wipe Down Your Garage Door and Walls

You’re less likely to have major stains on your garage door or the wall, so getting this clean should be a lot easier.

  • Brush off dirt with a stiff brush or broom and get rid of spiderwebs.
  • Get a bucket of warm water and mild household detergent. Wipe the door and walls down with a sponge or old rag.
  • If you need to remove stains from the walls, mix one to two cups of ammonia in a gallon of water, or TSP and water, and scrub it over the mark.

Pro Tip: While you’re cleaning the garage door, check for any hinges that need to be tightened or greased. 

 

Clean and Organized Garage

 

Time to Get Your Garage Organized!

Now that you finally have a cleaned out and cleaned up garage, you’re ready to organize everything that made it into the “keep” pile. For ideas on where to put what’s left and how to keep the space clean year-round, check out our post on how to organize your garage.