How to Spring Clean the Garage

A Messy and Cluttered Garage.

Cleaning Out the Garage.

Spring Cleaning the Garage

The garage is generally where things go when they don’t have another home, so figuring out where to start can be overwhelming.

There may be toys, tools, and boxes stacked every which way, but don’t despair; spring cleaning the garage is possible.

The garage is one of my favorite places to clean and organize, although I’m not really sure why? Maybe because it’s a challenge because it doesn’t get cleaned as often as other parts of the home? Whatever my reason, I love the look of a clean and organized garage.

No matter the size or scale of your mess, in the end it will be totally satisfying to spend the time purging, cleaning and organizing your garage.

Set Aside a Dedicated Time

Because the garage can be a catchall for stuff, cleaning and organizing the garage will most likely take up a significant amount of time. We recommend to set aside at least a weekend for you to devote your time to this task.

Gather Supplies for Cleaning

Before cleaning, assess what needs to be done in the garage and then gather up all the necessary supplies you’ll need such as cleaning products, garbage bags, and storage bins and labels.

Move Your Stuff Out of the Garage

If you are lucky enough to actually park cars in the garage, move them outside into the driveway before cleaning, this will allow some extra room to work.

If the garage is used mostly for storage or your husbands workshop, move everything on the floor (that can be moved) out into the driveway. This might be items like your lawn tools, yard care products, card tables and chairs, kid’s toys, holiday storage containers and so on.

If you have shelves or cabinets in the garage, this is a good time to go through and purge these areas as well.

Moving everything (that you can) out of the garage will help you see what you have and help make decisions on what you keep and what you get rid of.

Sort and Organize

Take a look at what you have and create piles for:

  1. Items that need to be disposed of like broken tools, old paint, old yard chairs that aren’t safe to sit in, broken toys, etc.
  2. The things you won’t use again that are good enough for a garage sale (like toys the kids have outgrown) or to be donated.
  3. And a section for what needs to be organized and put back in the garage.

Make sure to check with your local garbage center to properly dispose of any hazardous materials you may have.

Cleaning the Space

Once you’ve emptied out the garage, now is the time to take the opportunity to thoroughly clean floors, walls, workspace, shelves, cabinets, and clean surfaces of dust and dirt and cobwebs.

Organizing the Work Bench

My husband’s work bench gets every little thing piled on top of it, which isn’t helpful when he needs the space to work on a project.

First, clear off anything that doesn’t belong on the work bench. If you have a couple of 5 gallon buckets or a few boxes these will work great for sorting. Gather tools and other items that belong in the work area and sort any non-tool items that don’t belong and go elsewhere.

When you’ve cleared the workbench, put back what belongs on the work bench. If you don’t have a tool box or you have more tools than will fit, here are a few ideas for storing tools and other work bench needs:

  • Use a pegboard for excess tools.
  • Use component drawers for screws, nails, etc.
  • Put tools/supplies used often in a tool caddy.
  • Use milk crates for storage under the bench to hold larger items.

Once you have found a home for all your tools and tool related gadgets, you can move onto other parts of your garage.

Organizing Holiday Decorations

The garage is a great place to store holiday decorations and supplies you use throughout the year. Make sure they are organized by season so you can easily find what you need for a particular season.

For example, if you only have a few things for Easter, but a ton of spring decorations, you can probably store them together since you’ll be looking for them around the same time of year.

Make sure to label the storage containers for each holiday. I also use clear storage containers so I can visually see what’s in the container. If they have both Easter and spring decorations, put that on the label and make sure you place them on the shelves with the label visible.

Put the decorations you use infrequently on the top shelves and save lower shelves for frequently used items.

Cleaning the Refrigerator and Freezer

If there are extra appliances in the garage like a refrigerator or freezer that don’t get regular attention, clean them now just like you clean the appliances inside the house.

The first step is to take everything out to clean the interior. Wash the removable shelves in your kitchen sink and dry thoroughly before putting them back in. If you have a freezer in the garage and it needs defrosting, put any items in a cooler so they stay frozen then defrost as usual.

After undertaking the inside, it’s time to clean the outside. Pay extra attention to the top and sides as they might have more dust and grime on them.

Don’t forget to pull the appliances away from the wall and vacuum the coils underneath and behind. Excessive dust in the coils can cause the appliance to function less efficiently.

Cleaning the Lawn Mower

In an ideal world, cleaning the lawn mower is something that really should be done in the fall but hey, sometimes we get busy and forget.

If the lawn mower is stored in the garage because you don’t have a shed and want to keep it out of the elements, you’ll want to clean it before bringing it back in to your spotless garage.

Use the hose to clean the blades carefully by spraying away the dirt, grime, and dried, stuck on grass. Make sure to carefully and fully dry the blades after rinsing so they don’t rust.

Never turn the lawn mower upside down because it could leak gas or oil; instead use a block underneath one side to tilt the mower so the underside is easily accessible.

Finally, use a rag to wipe the top, sides and handle of the lawn mower to ensure any remaining dirt or water is removed.

When you bring it back in the garage, first put down an indoor/outdoor piece of carpeting or rubber mat to keep the garage floor from possibly getting oil, gas, or grass stains.

Organizing Cleaners, Paint and Oil

If you keep extra cleaning supplies, have extra paint and painting supplies, oil for cars and fertilizers think about purchasing a cabinet. There are many different standing cabinets to choose from that will fit your needs and space requirements.

Cabinets are an extra nice way of keeping your garage organized and clean.

Cleaning Garbage and Recycling Cans

Some people keep their garbage and recycling cans in the garage, either to keep them out of the elements or to keep any critters from getting in them.

Make sure to clean the trash and recycling cans outside. The lawn is always a good option. First you have to empty them, so you may need to plan this for a day or two after your garbage is picked up.

  1. Pre-rinse the cans with the garden hose to get out any gunk.
  2. Mix some warm water with a squirt or two of dish detergent in a bucket.
  3. Use a long-handled brush with your cleaning solution to reach down and clean the inside of your trashcan.
  4. Rinse it out when you’re done. Make sure the water runs clean, so you know that you’ve removed all the soap.
  5. Let the cans dry out before adding any trash and putting them back in the garage.

Keeping Trash Cans Clean

Now that your garbage and recycle cans are clean, try to keep them that way. Although no method is foolproof, here are a few things you can do to minimize the mess:

  • Keep the garbage cans clean by making sure everything thrown out is in a bag. Double bag any wet or runny garbage.
  • Keep the recycle can clean by rinsing recyclable items.

Cleaning the Garage Floor

One of the last steps when cleaning your garage is to give the floor a good sweeping. If your garage has interlocking floor tiles, and you want to do more than sweep, use a shop vac with a floor brush attachment or dust mop with plain water. If there are some stubborn marks on the tiles, try a short-bristled deck brush to tackle the spots.

If you want to deep clean the garage floor, here is an article that will walk you through the steps.

Cleaning the Garage Floor

Once everything is clean, you can put away the items that are staying in the garage and find a new home for the items that don’t belong there or get ready to have a garage sale and make a little extra cash!

Storage Options:

  • Shelving
  • Cubby’s for kids toys, skates
  • Organizers for rakes and other gardening tools