Do you want to know how to really clean the garage? As an often neglected area of the home, your garage should be on your spring cleaning to-do list. By giving your garage a yearly once-over, you'll avoid the pile up of junk and accumulation of dirt that often plagues this space. This doesn't have to be a back-breaking job that takes a week to finish. By following a well laid out plan, you can have a clean, organized garage in a weekend.
The first step in cleaning the garage should be to remove any items you don't need.
You should have three piles: throw away, give away, and put away. (My wife is the queen of decluttering - she even has a "Whole-Home Declutter Course" about it, so we do it often.) Any broken or unusable items need to go in the throw away pile.
Look for broken garden tools, worn out sports equipment, or anything missing parts. If you have dried out paint cans, these need to be disposed of properly. Most trash services won't take paint cans.
The second pile is the give-away pile. Anything you haven't used in the last year should be gotten rid of. Take these items straight to your nearest thrift shop and out of your way. The last pile will be items that need to be stored. Seasonal things, like snow skiing equipment and sleds, or large items you rarely use, such as tents, should be packed up and stored in the attic. Your garage shouldn't be a maze of junk to wade through. By storing items you don't use very often, you'll free up a lot of space.
Once you've cleared out all the stuff you don't need in the garage, it's time to organize the rest. Sports equipment and large garden tools can be hung along one wall using inexpensive screw-in hooks.
Have a shelf or workbench for smaller tools. A pegboard is a cheap way to organize screwdrivers, hammers, and other hand tools.
Cans of paint and chemicals need to be stored in a safe place. You can buy a small cabinet or check on craigslist or your city's freecycle to find one for free.
Now it's time to clean. You'll want to start at the top and work your way down, just like any other cleaning you do. Garages are often a magnet for cobwebs and dust. Get a broom and sweep across the ceiling and then down the side walls, paying extra attention to the corners.
If you have wire shelving in your garage, as many people do, make sure to sweep along the undersides of those too. Now you can sweep the floor. If you haven't cleaned your garage in a long time, you'll most likely have an accumulation of dirt, dust, and leaves that have blown in throughout the year.
These are very attractive to insects and little critters, so you definitely want to get them out. Have a large trash bag ready to scoop them into. If you just sweep them out, they'll end up blowing right back in.
Once you've swept everything, give any windows a good cleaning. Make sure to get both the inside and the outside. You can use any glass cleaning product but straight vinegar works just as well and believe it or not, newspaper makes the best cleaning cloth for windows (my wife's aunt shared that tip with us years ago.)
Your glass will come out lint- and streak-free. As you clean the windows, give the sills a once-over to get rid of any dirt or dust that's collected.
So far you've cleaned out and organized your stuff, swept the whole garage, and washed the windows. Now you need to check a few final things. (Note: If your washer and dryer are in the garage, this is a good time to check the hoses and clean the lint trap. A little WD-40 can be applied to door hinges and your garage opener's chain to help them work smoothly through the year.)
If you plan to do any gardening now that it's spring, make sure your gardening supplies are accessible and well organized. Finally, if you don't already have one, get a good door mat to wipe your feet on before going into the house. This will save you lots of cleaning inside in the future.
Cleaning the garage is never fun but by following these easy steps, you can have yours looking spic and span in no time.