As the keeper of everything that is really not worthy to go into the house, your garage can be one of the messiest places in your home. Why? Because it’s viewed as nothing more than a storage area and a place for your car to live.
If you’re like most people, your garage is probably a jumble of tools, old toys, sporting equipment, and just plain trash. While this is not the time to drag everything out to the driveway and do a complete clean (save that for a Saturday in the spring), there are a few things you can do in your 15-minute allocation of time – although some preparation must have taken place prior.
Be sure you have organized your garage in such a way that everything has a place – and that means on a wall, on a shelf, in a cabinet or in a designated floor area. It’s helpful to label these areas so that when you do a 15-minute decluttering, you know where everything goes.
When you’re ready to start, first take your car(s) out of the garage. It’s easier to clean up without large objects in your way. Tackle the big items first: bicycles, sporting good equipment, yard tools, etc. Put them where they belong. If something needs to be tossed out, do it. If something needs to be repaired, affix a tag or piece of tape on it indicating such and take care of it later.
With the big items cleaned up, you’ll want to start on smaller items. If there’s anything on the floor, put it on a counter or shelf. If the shelves are in complete disarray, spend no more than 5 minutes organizing them. The best approach with shelves is putting like items together. For example, if you have 5 cans of paint on the floor and an empty shelf, put all the paint cans on that shelf. Then, when you are doing a more thorough cleaning, find all the cans of paint and give them their own shelf.
Tools are a problem in and of themselves. If you have a lot, the only way to declutter them is to either put them in their place (and you may not have time for that) or hide them in a box. This is a touchy area and is decluttering is probably best accomplished by the person in the household who uses those items the most. Give him or her a plan for doing a major decluttering of just these items and a plan that includes a 15-minute decluttering just for them.
Cabinets are ideal in a garage because you can quickly stash things and then come back and do a cabinet reorganization later. They are also a good place to put anything hazardous so that it is either under lock and key or on a high shelf that it cannot be reached by small children.
A garage really becomes a series of 15-minute decluttering sessions. Start by giving it a good pass to see what you have, then come up with that plan to tackle specific areas. Oh: don’t forget to pull your car back into its freshly decluttered space!