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How to Declutter Your Garage and Get It Organized

Updated on December 3, 2012

How many times do you come home to a mound of clutter in your garage and wish you didn’t have to park your car outside because there’s no room for it? Clutter builds up without you noticing and suddenly you realize the job is too big for you and you don’t know where to start. The traditional way of decluttering your garage is to fully empty your garage, sort through your stuff and then put back what you want to keep. The problem with this method is that it is such a big job that you will procrastinate and never start. I suggest another method below that you may prefer.

Reserve three consecutive weekends on your calendar

That’s six days to declutter your garage, not just one. If you think one day is not enough time to declutter your garage, do you think you can declutter your garage in six days? Most people can.

 Recruit a family member

Sorting out a garage is such a big job that it’s difficult to do alone. Recruit a family member if you can, or ask a friend to help. If you have children (not preschoolers) then they can be very helpful too. Just remember the more helpers you have, the less work there is for you to do.

Weekend #1 - Start with the trash

Somehow the garage gains trash like no other room of the house. Things that should have been thrown away can sit in a garage for years without ever seeing a garbage can.

Move your garbage can as close as you can get to the center of the garage and put as much as you can directly into it. Or walk round the garage with a garbage bag and fill that. Remember, the more garbage you can get out of your garage at this stage, the less you have to deal with later. Be ruthless, if something is worn out and you haven’t used it in a long time then let it go.

Just be careful you don’t throw away those things that shouldn’t be put in the garbage bin and you dispose of everything correctly. Most cities have a special way to dispose of paint and other hazardous chemicals.

Weekend #2 - Items to donate

Get a large box or bag and put in it as many items as you can that are too good to be thrown away, yet you don’t want. These can be taken to a nearby thrift store or freecycled. If you haven’t used it in the last year, consider donating it.

Some thrift stores will come to your house and collect large items from you.

Sometimes people drive past and see you sorting your garage and think you are having a garage sale. Let them have your unwanted stuff, then it’s less stuff for you to deal with. If you live in a busy location you can put a pile of stuff outside your house with a sign saying free, you’ll be surprised how quickly it will be taken.

Weekend #3 – Organizing your garage

By now you should have got rid of at least half of what was in your garage. So now you deal with what is left. Only keep the things that you really want to keep, the rest is just clutter. If your garage isn’t too full you can move things from the back of the garage to the front, then the things that you really want can be placed toward the back. Work from back to front just placing those items you really want in an orderly fashion. Keep throwing things away and putting others in the donate pile as you work.

Before you place the items that you want to keep, brush the floor. Or you can use your leaf blower to blow the dirt out of the way and toward the front of the garage.

Now is the time you can buy things to organize your stuff. There are many products that make use of the wall space where you can hang things, or you can buy shelving. You can also buy overhead storage space. Be careful you don’t buy stuff too early in the project. Look at what you have left and then decide what sort of storage to buy. Try to get everything onto walls and shelves and keep the floor clear.

Tidying takes a long time

Don’t expect tidying your garage to be a one hour job. That’s why I suggest planning 3 weekends for the whole job. Most people have so much stuff that they are overwhelmed to even start, but by breaking it down into reasonable pieces you are more likely to get the project finished.

Regularly tidy the garage

You can’t just leave it alone and expect the garage to stay tidy for ever. Once every weekend see what you can throw away and put away, and don’t let it get so bad again.


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    • MopHolder profile image

      MopHolder 3 years ago

      One of the best ways to get organized is to use cabinets.

    • profile image

      Jon 5 years ago

      Found this article after reading the other decluttering one. This is perfect for me! Great ideas for what to throw out and what to keep. This will get my garage nice and neat like it was when I first moved to my home. Thanks for the great article! Keep em coming!

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 6 years ago from California

      Great ideas. I would have loved to see the after picture.

      We have a garbage can in the garage that gets stuff put into, but somehow it never gets emptied.

    • CaliGirlsCorner profile image

      CaliGirlsCorner 7 years ago

      Nice hub, Tina,

      I have been working on mly garage a bit. I wanted to add that I asked for shelving from freecycle. Also, call around and price a sheet of plywood that you can cut and it makes a nice shelf for the walls. Some of us don't have the shelving to begin with, like me, so I am having to install them. That was half the battle. You need those L-shaped metal brackets or 2x4s cut to brace from the wall to the shelf. Also, some plywood sheets across the rafters will give you more storage too. Great hub!!