Garage Cleaning Tips For The Overwhelmed

Here’s our guide to garage cleaning tips for the overwhelmed including ideas on how to sort your things, garage cleanup scheduling, proper storage, and how to get started.
A look of a clean garage with organize stuffsThe garage is one of the most overlooked parts of the home, where clutters reign supreme. And a jam-packed garage with mounting things and materials can turn into a nightmare, especially if the clutter becomes out of control. 

Yes, it can be overwhelming, especially looking at the piles of junk you have to go through. But you can actually do it in a way that’s less intimidating. Here are some tips to help you with this enormous task.

How to Clean the Garage for the Overwhelmed

Steps to Garage Cleaning Details
Be Realistic with Your Garage Cleanup Goals and Expectations Set realistic plans and goals for your garage cleaning. Don’t pressure yourself into completing tasks in one go, but divide the task into smaller, manageable steps.
Survey Your Garage Space and Plan Survey your garage and make a list of problem areas you want to work on, along with pictures to make it easier to check. Take note of problems that need solutions before moving anything.
Schedule Your Garage Cleanup Schedule smaller tasks scattered within your free days and weekends. Consider techniques such as sorting and purging or decluttering for short amounts of time.
Compile a Resource List Compile a list of where some items will go, whether personal or organizational. Be straightforward when making your decision.
Throw Out the Trash Segregate everything you plan to keep from those you plan to get rid of. Throw out unimportant things that can only cause clutter and take up space.
Invest in Proper Storage Introduce the appropriate storage for most clutter to organize and clean your garage without throwing most of the stuff out. Sort everything in zones from most frequently used to least frequently used.
Keep Going Once you’ve cleared your garage from all the clutter, keep its condition long-term. Be firm with yourself when throwing away irrelevant things.
Give Yourself Grace Garage cleaning can be freeing and uplifting at the same time. Give yourself grace and thank yourself for a job well done, especially considering how most clutter affects how people feel.

Be Realistic With Your Garage Cleanup Goals & Expectations

Clean suburban two car garage interior with tools, file cabinets, and sports equipmentThe first thing you can do so that you won’t get overwhelmed is to be realistic with your plans and goals for your garage cleaning? Don’t pressure yourself into completing tasks in one go so that you won’t bite something you can’t chew. 

Think of cleaning your garage like any other tasks you’ve done before and do not overthink yourself to panic. Divide the task into smaller tasks and do them one small task at a time.

This will help you not be overwhelmed and actually think that it’s possible because of how simple these small tasks are. And as you go along with these tasks, at some point you’ll notice that you’re nearer to the finish line compared to where you began in the first place. 

Survey Your Garage Space And Plan

A garage with rolling gate interior and organized stuffsOne of the ways you can split this big task into smaller and more manageable ones is by surveying the garage and what you are to deal with. See our guide to various types of garages here.

Make sure that when you start to survey the garage, you’ll promise yourself not to be overwhelmed and to look at what’s in front of you as just a small task you would need to accomplish. You don’t have to touch anything yet.

You just need to take a deep breath and look inside. You can mentally take note of things you want to work on or creatively make a list of sections you want to put your hands on, along with the pictures of these sections to make it easier to check. 

Consider The Problems In Your Garage That Need Solutions

A cluttered but organized clean car garage with file cabinets, boxes and toolsAs you survey the garage, check the problems that would need a solution before you even move so that everything will be easier once you start.

Here are some of the problems you may encounter inside your garage:

• Not enough storage space in the garage

• Too many tools (Rakes, brooms, etc.)

• Seasonal items take up too much space

• Underfoot bicycles that you can easily mount

• Bulky recycling carts and trash bins

Schedule Your Garage Cleanup 

Garage interior with bicycle, storage shelves, and other stuffsOnce you’ve surveyed the problems you would have to deal with in your garage, schedule the smaller tasks scattered within your free days and weekends.

Make sure to schedule them accordingly but make sure the schedules can be flexible for emergency purposes.

Here are two garage cleaning techniques you can do:

Sorting and Purging

Schedule sorting and purging on the weekends, where you can go elbow deep in all of the clutter and garbage in the garage.

Start sorting one pile at a time- separate what to keep and what you need to trash until you reduce the clutter. Make sure to schedule it during the time when the trash is also scheduled to be pickup. 

Decluttering for Short Amounts of Time

Clean garage interior with tools equipment and wheelsYou can choose not to spend the entire weekend decluttering and start with smaller cleanup tasks. This will make the cleanup even much less intimidating.

You can start with 15 minutes for the first day and then 20 minutes the next day, with the number of minutes increasing as you get comfortable with the entire cleanup. If 15 minutes is too much for the first day, you can start at 5. Make sure to work at your own pace. 

Deep Garage Cleaning

More than just sorting and decluttering, you will also have to deal with the inevitable deep cleaning of your garage to make sure of its condition. Once you’re sorted everything based on what to trash and what to keep, clean earnestly with a broom and a supply of towels and cleaners.

Sweep, scrub, or even paint the garage if necessary. You can also check if there are items that need replacement or repairing. 

Compile A Resource List

An almost empty garage with things on shelves, two bicycles, a christmas tree and storage boxesAs you go through the piles of clutter one at a time, make sure to compile a resource list and figure out where some items will go. Whether it’s a personal or an organization, be straightforward in telling of your decision.

Throw Out The Trash

Once you segregate all of the things you plan to keep and the ones you plan to get rid of, throw out the trash. Make sure to include unimportant things that can only cause clutter and take up space like the following:

• Old (no longer used) outdoor toys and sports equipment

• Dried out paint cans and rollers

• Cardboard (no longer used)

• Broken and irreparable things

Invest In Proper Storage

A modern garage interior with storage cabinets and shelvesThe solution to most clutter is introducing the appropriate storage for them. In fact, it is worth investing in them if you want to organize and clean your garage without throwing most of the stuff out. Space-saving storage will even work wonders in your home.

Here are some you can consider and what they can perfectly store:

• Plastic bins – holiday decor and children’s toys

• Archival containers – papers and textiles

• Wall-mounted – sports gear and things that can be damaged by moisture

• Overhead storage – least frequently used items

• Locked cabinets – harmful materials dangerous to kids and pets like pesticides, antifreeze, and motor oil

Sort Everything In Zones – From Most Frequently Used to Least Frequently Used

An organized garage interior with stend of tools and red and grey storage cabinetsCreate zones in your garage based on the most frequently used materials to the least frequent ones. You can even sort your things by category and group them based on what makes sense for you.

Keep the most frequently used tools and gears near the garage door so that you will see them immediately and easily access them. If you regularly play basketball, store the ball somewhere you can easily spot it to get it.

Other things that may also be part of this group close to the entrance are the following:

• Gardening supplies

• Bike hooks

See this wall mount bicycle 2-pack vertical bike hook at Amazon [sponsored post]

• Wire mesh for balls

Keep Going

Once you’ve cleared your garage from all the clutter, the next step is to keep its condition long-term. Yes, this means you need to get rid of that habit of dumping stuff without any thought in the garage just because it’s the garage in the first place. Once you start with the clutter and you see one pile on the floor, it will surely breed more.

Try to throw away irrelevant things, from cardboard boxes of your new small appliances to broken stuff you keep “just in case” you decide to have them fixed again. Be firm with yourself. See our gallery on garage makeover ideas here.

Give Yourself Grace

Interior of the empty garage in the residential houseGarage cleaning can be both freeing and uplifting at the same time. Many people feel the mental weight of the cluttered space because of their association with some of the things in the garage that somehow offers some sentimental value.

When cleaning up your garage, you are able to give yourself your grace back, especially considering how most clutter affects how people feel. Don’t be hard on yourself that it took so long, instead pat yourself on the back for accomplishing it and getting the job done.

If you need motivation in starting cleaning your garage, this is a good place to start. You are worthy of a clear mind and light heart. 

For more garage organizing ideas, check out creating a minimalist garage guide.

Written by Marisa - Author

Marisa Bolivar is an interior design writer with a passion for decorating and home design. She has a keen eye for aesthetics and specializes in rustic and minimalist styles that are budget-friendly.

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