Where to start when clearing the garage

The garage, if you have one, is probably the easiest part of your home to ignore. A recent survey revealed that less than half of us actually use our garages to store a car, instead we slowly fill them up with all kinds of domestic detritus, from broken bicycles to boxes of kids’ toys, all gathering dust.

Read: How to improve your outdoor space

But wouldn’t it be great to claim it back? Turn it into a home office, gym, cinema room or simply have enough space to park your car? Here’s how to get started decluttering your garage.

1. Purge the really easy bits
There are hard decisions in every decluttering session, but there are usually some really easy ones too. Ease yourself in by throwing out the VHS machine you haven’t used since the late 1990s, the seed packets for a plant you grew once and hated, the weird baskets of bits and bobs you definitely won’t miss because you never knew they were there.

Start in the shallow end; tackle the deep end when you’re warmed up.

2. Harden your heart
The ‘if in doubt, throw it out’ brigade can simply keep reading, but for some of us, discarding long-held possessions, however useless they might be, feels like a bit of an emotional trial. You don’t need to go full Marie Kondo, and only keep gardening tools that ‘spark joy’, but if it doesn’t spark anything, it can probably be moved along.

3. Consider storage solutions
You don’t have to throw things out to alleviate domestic chaos, and an unrationalised garage can be made much more streamlined without a single thing going in the bin. Cardboard boxes, a bit of flat pack shelving, just putting things in a neat pile – a smattering of items can create a massive mess if strewn all over the floor, and you might find your garage isn’t as over-subscribed as you thought.

Read: Could your household clutter be valuable?

4. Either mend it or bin it
The garage is often the destination of choice for items that are broken but not beyond repair, where they can sit unmended for quite literally generations. Give yourself a couple of months, perhaps, to fix the handle on your old wheelbarrow. If you still haven’t done it by then, you probably don’t care enough to do it thereafter.

5. Consider a garage sale
The clue is in the name: unwanted household goods are ten a penny in many garages, and a sale on your lawn could kill two birds with one stone. If you’re going to have to part with mountains of bric-a-brac, you might as well let it help with the mortgage.

Read: Making the most of a garage sale

6. Clean up to clear out
Dust and dirt do not typically take up much space, but it is remarkable how much more open and spacious an area feels when everything has been spruced up spic-and-span. The unsung hero of decluttering might just be your vacuum cleaner.

7. Plan for your space
You’ll be much more motivated to clear your garage if you have a clear idea of what you will then do with it. Workshop, gym area, home office or, if you’re feeling old-fashioned, just a place to park your car.

8. Reward good behaviour
Some people enjoy decluttering, but others really do not, and need to see it as the hard work that it can sometimes be in order to get the ball rolling. Don’t expect yourself to breeze through a gruelling day in the garage, and reward decisive sessions with something you enjoy.

How much clutter is in your garage? What would you use the space for if it was clear? Why not share your decluttering tips in the comments section below?

– With PA

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Written by Luke Rix-Standing