If you live in a single-family home, there's a pretty good chance that you have a garage that was intended to hold your car. Statistically, there's an even better chance that you park your car outside and, instead, fill your garage with all of the junk that you don't want cluttering up your house. Sound familiar?
According to Household Tips, about 82 percent of U.S. houses have an attached garage, but only 15 percent use them to park their car.
We're not saying you need to change your whole garage-home-system around and start parking your car there – though it would probably extend the life of your vehicle – but it is a good idea to clean it out at least once every year to get rid of all the junk that you really don't need and to make sure that you can find the stuff that you do need. What better time than during your spring cleaning, which is just around the corner? We've put together a few steps for you to follow in order to get the most out of your time this year.
Step 1: Get everything out
That's right, you may need to recruit a little bit of help for this one. Get everything – and we mean everything - out of your garage. As you're removing all of the bicycles, scooters, old furniture and other odds and ends, try to sort everything into piles of like items. This will make things go way faster when you're putting everything pack in later, and it will make identifying the junk that you want to throw away easier. If you have a lot of stuff in your garage that hasn't moved in a while, consider making a pile of things that you don't want, but that are still valuable – you can probably make a few bucks selling this stuff on Craigslist or eBay.
Step 2: Clean up
Now that you have an empty garage, you can probably see just how dirty it really is. Time to get cleaning. DIY Network recommends that you do two specific cleans to really get everything. First, use a sweeping compound, which you can buy at your local hardware store, to get rid of all the dust. Sweeping compounds contain a small amount of oil, which will help to pick up more dust. Next, add some TSP (trisodium phosphate) or a degreasing cleaner to your mop bucket and go to town on the floors. When you're done, you won't believe how much better your garage looks.
Step 3: Designate zones
Before you rush to put everything back into your garage, designate zones that will be used for specific tasks, suggests Peter Walsh for Oprah Magazine. Are your laundry appliances in your garage? That's a zone. Does someone in the family do woodworking? Another zone. By specifying a few key zones in your garage, and making sure that only items that fit in the zone are there, you can make sure that your garage will stay organized for longer. If you just put everything back into the garage at random, on the other hand, your garage will be a mess almost before you are even done – what's the point of that?
Step 4: Store strategically
After you've finished organizing your zones, chances are pretty good that you'll still have a lot of stuff left over that still needs to be stored. Don't panic! What you need to do is think strategically about your storage. The first thing to do is to buy some large plastic storage containers, if you don't have any already. Not only will these containers make it easy to arrange and label all of the piles of stuff that you just made in your driveway, they will also discourage pests, which like things like cardboard boxes to make their nests with.
It also helps to think vertically. It might take a little bit of extra work to make or install a few simple shelves in your garage, but the space and time that they will save you in the long run is definitely worth it. If you have a lot of bicycles that rarely get used, you can add a few hooks to the ceiling and hang them up for easy storage.
Now that you've finished cleaning out your garage, take a moment to admire how great an organized life can be. You might even find room to park your car after all! While you're being responsible, consider investing in a home warranty. A TotalProtect® Home Warranty will limit your liability by replacing the risk of costly repairs or replacement for your home appliances with a low, monthly payment.
The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.