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Step-By-Step Guide To Decluttering A Garage: Garage Declutter Tips

Are you struggling to find a place to store your holiday decorations? Are you running out of room to park your car? If so, it might be time for a garage declutter! A cluttered garage can make it difficult to find things and can be a safety hazard.

Read my step-by-step guide on how to declutter a garage, plus tips for garage storage, so you can keep your garage decluttered for good!

How many people do you know that have a two-car garage but only room for one car right now due to having too much stuff? That might be you right now with a goal of getting two cars back inside your garage!

Or maybe you want to set up a mud room area in your garage but right now your messy garage doesn’t even have any floor or wall areas free of all the clutter!

Cluttered garage

Why Decluttering A Garage Is Important

A garage is often one of the most cluttered areas in a home. It can be difficult to keep up with the garage decluttering because it’s not an area that we spend a lot of time in each day. But it is an area we often pass through multiple times each day!

This makes it essential that we prioritise keeping our garage clutter-free and organised, just as we would with the spaces inside our home.

One of the biggest reasons is due to safety! A garage is full of potential hazards, such as sharp tools, power cords, and chemicals. If these items are not stored properly, they can pose a serious safety risk to you and your family.

Lots of clutter can also get in the way of opening garage doors or working on projects. This can be frustrating and waste a lot of time!

Decluttering your garage has many other benefits too. A decluttered garage can:

Now that we know all the benefits of decluttering a garage, let’s get started with the step-by-step guide.

Free 30 day declutter challenge

How To Declutter A Garage

Depending on the state of your garage right now, the prospect of getting started decluttering is always going to be a little daunting.

But by following these simple garage decluttering tips and six easy steps, you’ll have that garage decluttered and organised in no time, without making a bigger mess!

1. Create A Clear Vision For Your Space

Before you even get started, you need to create a solid plan for what you want this space to be like.

Your garage might simply be an area you want enough room to comfortably park your car, without dodging obstacles. Or you might want to create a garage workshop, complete with space for woodworking or gardening tools.

Maybe you want to turn your garage into a home gym, or perhaps you need extra storage for holiday decorations and sports equipment.

Whatever it is, the first step is to take some time to visualise what you want your garage to look like when it’s decluttered. This will help you to stay on track as you declutter and make decisions about what goes where.

Cluttered garage

2. Clear The Surface Clutter

Surface clutter is anything that you can get rid of (or put in its right place) straight away. Often this is trash or items that don’t belong in the garage.

Start by doing a quick sweep of the garage and getting rid of any garbage. This includes things like old newspapers, broken items, and empty paint cans.

Next, put away any items that don’t belong in the garage. This might include things that have been stored in the garage temporarily, such as boxes of cans that need to be taken to the recycling centre or your child’s muddy football sneakers that need to be cleaned and put back inside.

3. Sort Your Garage Into Zones

The next step in decluttering your garage is to start sorting your belongings into zones. This will make your overall job much less overwhelming, focusing on a single zone at a time.

The type of zones you have will depend on the size of your garage, the type of items you have in there and the storage systems already in place.

A single set of shelves would be considered a zone as would a cupboard. You may even like to sort these zones into smaller areas, such as a single shelf or storage tub.

Alternatively, you might like to do a floor plan of your garage if it is a really large project or a large garage.

A few other common garage storage zones are:

  • Seasonal decoration storage
  • Sports equipment
  • Garden tools & lawn equipment
  • Workshop area
  • Chemicals & paint
  • Automotive accessories & products
  • Storage tubs & plastic bins
  • Hanging storage

Make a garage declutter checklist of each of your zones so that you can tick them off once you complete them.

Storage boxes

4. Have A Plan For Your Clutter

The next thing you need to do before you even get started is to plan ahead for your unwanted clutter. This way you can declutter your garage quickly and efficiently without having to make too many decisions on the spot.

It also saves you time when you have already worked out what you will be doing with your unwanted items.

Here are some ideas for what to do with your unwanted items:

  • Donate – If you have any items in good condition that someone else could make use of, consider donating them to a local charity or organisation.
  • Sell – Have a garage sale or sell items online to make some extra cash.
  • Trash – If an item is damaged or broken beyond repair, it’s time to say goodbye and put it in the trash.
  • Recycle – Many items can be recycled, such as cans, glass bottles, plastic containers and certain types of electronics.
Boxes for decluttering

Set up garbage bags or cardboard boxes to sort each of the smaller items that you plan to get rid of. One for each of the above types of items.

Of course, getting rid of trash sounds easy, but there may be items you are holding onto just in case. Much like when decluttering sentimental items, the garage tends to be the home of ‘what if’ items.

The best way to deal with these is to consider how long you’ve had this item and if you have found a use for it yet. If your spare parts have been collecting dust for a long time, it’s likely going to continue to do so.

Alternatively, is it something you could easily replace without spending a lot of money? In that case, getting back enough space in your garage is a far bigger benefit than the small chance of saving a couple of dollars in future.

If you have some high-value items that are in good condition, you might like to sell them. A yard sale can be a good option for lots of larger items. You can find more tips on selling unwanted items.

The goal is to get your clutter out of your house as soon as possible so that it doesn’t just end up in a different corner of your garage for a few more years to come.

5. Start Decluttering The Garage

Now that you’ve got your plan, you’ve identified your garage zones, and you know what you want to do with your garage clutter, it’s time to start decluttering!

Focus on one zone at a time and work through each of the items in that area.

If you come across something that doesn’t belong in that zone, put it aside to deal with each of those items later, rather than disrupting your efforts repeatedly.

The key is to stay focused and not get sidetracked by decluttering other areas of the garage. Remember, you can always come back to those later.

As you go through each item, decide whether you want to keep it, sell it, donate it, recycle it or throw it away.

For example, if you come across a box of old clothes, go through each item and decide whether it is something you or someone else will ever wear. If it’s in the garage, probably not! Is it in good enough condition to donate? Great! If not, into the trash it goes.

The goal is to get rid of as much clutter as possible so that you can actually start using your garage for its intended purpose – storing your cars!

If you have decluttered a zone and it is still far too cluttered, you might need to go back over that zone and be a little more ruthless. You can only store as much as your storage space allows!

6. Maximise Your Storage Space

Once you have decluttered each zone in your garage, it’s time to start thinking about how you can best use the space to store the items you wish to keep. Having a logical storage system will make a huge difference in keeping your entire garage more organised long term.

Sports equipment in garage

There are a few key garage storage ideas that will help you to make the most of your garage space:

  • Use vertical space – Install some shelving high up on the walls or even hanging from the ceiling. This is great for storing seasonal items or things you don’t need to access very often.
  • Hang items – Use hooks or pulleys to hang items such as bikes, ladders, garden tools and sports equipment from the ceiling or walls. This will free up a lot of garage floor space in your garage.
  • Install cabinets or shelves – If you have room, consider installing some garage cabinets or shelving units. This will provide some much-needed storage space for things like power tools, car maintenance supplies and gardening equipment.
  • Get creative – Be creative with your storage solutions! You can use things like old tires, PVC pipes, wooden crates or even cargo nets to store items in an unusual way. Some of these outdoor toy storage ideas are brilliant examples of creative storage ideas.

Garage shelves have definitely been our best upgrade, now with an organised space on the wall with open shelves to store smaller items such as garden tools, holiday decor, and cleaning supplies.

You can’t make your space bigger but you can organise it better. This helps to keep your garage decluttered by ensuring everything has a designated place.

RELATED READING: Outdoor toy storage ideas

Where To Start When Decluttering A Garage

Knowing where to start when decluttering a garage can be tricky. After all, it’s not like you can just throw everything out!

There is no right or wrong place to start when decluttering any space of your home.

The best option is to identify which area you want to start with when you are creating your zones.

I recommend starting with the area that is most cluttered or hazardous while your motivation is at its highest. This way, as your motivation declines (which it naturally will as you get more tired), you will have already decluttered the most challenging areas.

Shelves in garage

Starting with an area that is already fairly decluttered will make the decluttering process much easier and help to keep your motivation levels high.

The best thing about using this method is that you get a big win right at the start which helps you keep up your momentum! Seeing results from your efforts is a great motivator to keep going.

How Long Does It Take To Declutter A Garage?

The amount of time it will take you to declutter your garage depends on the size of your garage and how much stuff you have stored in there and how much help you have.

If your garage is small and only mildly cluttered, your garage decluttering session might only take a few hours.

However, if your garage is large and crammed full of stuff, it could take a full weekend or more to declutter it completely.

It’s important to be realistic about how much time you can dedicate to decluttering your garage.

The fastest way to declutter a garage is by having help! Get your partner or kids involved in the process and set up a working party.

Enlisting help will also make the decluttering process more fun and less daunting. It’s a great way to spend some quality time with your family, even if it’s not the most exciting activity!

The garage is a big project but it’s definitely worth the effort! Imagine being able to actually park your car in your garage again or being able to use it as a workshop without having to move things around first.

How To Declutter Hazardous Items

If you have any hazardous items in your garage, it’s important to safely dispose of them. The best option is to seek advice from your local council or a disposal service that deals with hazardous waste. Many of these toxic materials items cannot be disposed of in your trash can.

Hazardous items include things like:

  • Old paint
  • Pesticides
  • Weed sprays and garden chemicals
  • Pool chemicals
  • Fuels and oils
  • Thinners and solvents
  • Car batteries
  • Gas bottles

If you’re not sure whether an item is hazardous or not, err on the side of caution and assume that it is.

Keeping Your Garage Clutter-Free

You’ve put in the hard work and you’ve done a complete garage declutter! Well done!

The next step is to make sure your garage stays decluttered.

The best way to do this is by setting up some simple systems and routines to help you keep on top of the clutter.

Storage in garage

Here are some tips for keeping your garage clutter-free:

  • Don’t use your garage as a dumping ground – Every time you bring something into the garage, ask yourself whether it belongs there or not. If the answer is no, put it away in its rightful place.
  • Create a ‘home for everything’ – Make sure you have a designated place for everything in your garage. This could be shelves, hooks, racks or storage boxes.
  • Regularly declutter – Schedule some time each season to declutter your garage and get rid of any unwanted or unused items.
  • Identify clutter hot spots – These are the areas in your garage that tend to attract clutter. Be extra vigilant in these areas and find storage solutions that prevent these areas from becoming a dumping ground.
  • Store similar items together – This will make it easier to find things when you need them and will help to prevent clutter from accumulating.

By following these simple tips, you can be sure that your garage will stay decluttered and organised all year round!

Decluttering a garage can be a daunting task, as it is often one of the most cluttered areas in the home. By following these simple garage decluttering tips, you can make the process much easier and less time-consuming. Not only will your garage look neater and more organised, but you’ll also have an area that is functional and usable. Woohoo!

Declutter your home checklist

Do you have any garage decluttering tips to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

For more cleaning & decluttering tips:

Garage declutter

Nicole @ The Builder's Wife

Thursday 8th of October 2015

I've just printed this off and popped in my Husbands intray :) Thank you xx


Friday 9th of October 2015

Smart thinking! lol The garage is one of those ones that gets neglected a lot but geez there's some strange stuff in there after a few years. The stuff that has no other home!