Get your garage in order!

Story by Adam Boccinfuso

Summer 2019

Keeping a clean and organized garage requires everyone to be committed to returning items to their designated place”


Get your garage in order!

The best way to begin is to remove all the items you do not want or need, or have been meaning to get rid of. As Marie Kondo would suggest, ask yourself whether the item “brings you joy.” Purging doesn’t need to involve a trip to the dump as some items can be sold, donated and gifted to others in the community.

We really enjoy using the ‘Airdrie Cool Giveaway’ Facebook page. Search Facebook or your online community for one of these pages in your area. When you give away items for no charge people will come to your home to pick them up; talk about a win-win! Don’t worry about going through EVERYTHING at this first step. I recommend focusing on removing the big stuff and obvious things to make some space.

Items to purge may include:

  • Recycling;
  • Garbage that needs to be taken to the dump;
  • Outgrown baby and kids items;
  • Toys;
  • Broken tools and equipment;
  • Old, unloved flower planters and pots;
  • And more!

After you remove all the extra stuff in your garage you don’t love, the next step is to group like items. As you continue to group items in your garage you will likely find more items that you can purge; move those to the discard pile.

Make a pile or section of the garage for the different genres of items, such as:

  • Recycling, compost and garbage bins;
  • Yard tools;
  • Power tools;
  • Handyman tools;
  • Gardening items;
  • Sports equipment;
  • Christmas decorations;
  • Winter supplies;
  • Cleaners, oils and other chemicals;
  • etc…

The storage space of your garage can be amplified by creating shelving, hooks and storage systems from the ceiling and walls.

Here are some ideas:

  • Use hooks to hang bikes;
  • Install a tire storage rack;
  • Add overhead storage space (the space above the garage door is a great spot);
  • Utilize sturdy shelving;
  • Use old dressers and bookshelves;
  • Build garage cabinet (could use old kitchen cabinets, too);
  • Install wall shelving and hooks;
  • Create a foldable workbench;
  • Install storage near the man door for quick access to commonly needed tools/items;
  • Install pegboards and hooks.

For special items, draw an outline of them hanging in their proper spot to encourage family members to return to the correct place.

How clean do garages need to be really? A good sweep is usually clean enough for us. A shop vacuum is another great tool to use; while it is noisy it can prevent dust from getting spread into the air like a push broom might. Wash off open shelving and your man door, too – you will be shocked to see how dirty they can get!

Now that all your unwanted items are clear, organizational spaces and storage have been created and the garage has been cleaned – it’s the time to put everything back and find it a permanent home where it will belong and be returned to time and time again. Here are some tips:

  • Store the grouped items together. Keep in mind certain groups will have both small and large items which will require different storage solutions; try to keep these near one another if possible.
  • Alternate seasonal items, arranging spring/summer items into easy-to-reach areas, while fall/winter items can be up higher and switched out in the fall.
  • Store commonly used items near the entrance of the garage for extra convenience.
  • Use colour-co-ordinated bins and clear bins to create help with ease of finding your items later on.

I recommend you walk your family through the garage and share where certain items now belong. Keeping a clean and organized garage requires everyone to be committed to returning items to their designated place. Nonetheless, every season it will likely require a quick refresh as seasonal items need to be brought out and others are returned to storage until needed again.

Lastly – enjoy your newly clean garage, a.k.a. man cave!


Adam Boccinfuso is a Certified Master Home Inspector and co-owner with wife Veronica of Bocc Home Inspections in Airdrie

Photo Credit: iStock