It's always going to be a mucky job, but getting your garage or shed organised is so much easier in the Summer when you can pull everything out. You'll have the space to sort through everything, deciding what to keep or discard, and then get it sorted so you're left with an organised garage that works for you and stays looking great.
This garage was full of toys, garden equipment, tools and keepsakes making it difficult to easily find what was needed. A lot of things had been stored in here 'just in case'.... sound familiar?
Declutter and Organise your garage - Step 1
Get everything out! Take things off of the shelves & out of any boxes and spread everything out so you can see what you have. If you can use your garden or drive to spread everything out.
Categorise all that "stuff" from the Garage
Make piles of similar items, use the following list as a starting point:
tools & hardware - you may want to separate it further by type of job
BBQ and outdoor entertaining
sentimental items - stored as there's no room in the house
Declutter anything in your garage or shed that you don’t use or need
Work through one category at a time, discarding any broken items.
If you have duplicates of tools choose to keep the ones you always pick up (there's a reason you don't choose the others - weight, grip, effectiveness).
Paint and decorating supplies are perishable and don't keep well. The paint on your walls will always be a different colour to the paint in the tin within a couple of months.
Seasonal items may be easier to review at Christmas when you realise it's the 4th year in a row you haven't used something! So you get a pass on this if you run out of time
"Just in case" isn't a reason to keep something... that's how the garage got to be as full as it is!
Garage Organisation and Storage Tips
Once you’ve decluttered your garage or shed it’s time to get organised. Decluttering by category means that you’ve already grouped together similar items (garden supplies, tools & hardware, garden toys, BBQ). I recommend that you store everything by category in your newly organised garage - with each category having a home in a different location. This will ensure that you’ll know where to find things and, more importantly, where to return them so you keep the garage tidy.
Make sure anything that you use frequently is accessible; store items that are used a lot (bikes, lawn mowers or sports equipment) close to the door, at an easy height for you to grab and go. Heavier items should be stored low down and seasonal/less used items higher up.
Make use of the height in the garage with shelving and by hanging bikes, garden equipment etc on the walls. If there's space you can also use the roof of the garage to store ladders, roof boxes or even paddle boards! This keeps the floor clear so you can actually use it – even if you don’t park your car in there, you can use it for an extra row of shelving or hobby/gym equipment.
Contain as much as you can – it will stop the inevitable spread of smaller items and will protect items from the elements. I always use robust lidded plastic storage rather than cardboard boxes as they stack well and I’ve seen how damp items in cardboard boxes get. If you already have suitable boxes use what you have but if not..
My preferred containers are from Really Useful Company – they come in lots of sizes and you can see what’s in them as they are transparent. The black Strata wheeled containers (shown above) are heavy duty and great if they fit your needs. Smaller hardware items can be stored in small stackable boxes or a drawer unit.
Label Everything in your garage and shed – Make it easy for yourself and others to find and things when they are needed. Simple labels (I love my Dymo machine) or stickers you can write on, will help your new system stay organised as they’ll be no excuse for things not to be put away.
Where to recycle or discard items from your garage and garden clear out
Try a good old fashioned garage sale or Facebook Marketplace to move on any items that you no longer need.
Tools with a Mission is a lovely charity with local representatives who will collect unwanted tools and distribute them to Africa to help set up people with tools so they can work.
Community Repaint is a Dulux backed scheme that distributes unused paint to community projects.
Local allotment associations or schools may be open to taking unwanted garden equipment.
Finally, if you have a lot of discarded items that you are unable to donate or sell then try local recycling centres or order a hippo bag, both options will recycle whatever they are able to. If you’ve got a really big job on your hands and need a clearance company, make sure they have a waste clearance licence – if they don’t and your rubbish gets fly tipped you are liable for the fine.
If you found my declutter and organise your garage tips useful then check out some other articles about how to declutter in a simple way to create space and time in your life:
Are you ready to start living A Life More Organised? I’d love to hear how easy you find it to declutter your home - what sort of things do you struggle with? Let me know them in the comments below!
I’m Sue, a professional home organiser and KonMari Consultant based in Hampshire, UK.
I trained with Marie Kondo and the KonMari team and help busy people declutter, organise and simplify their homes so they can get on with the important job of enjoying life.
For a no-obligation chat about how I can help, please get in touch.
m: 07740 782575 www.alifemoreorganised.co.uk