You open your garage doors to start your garage cleanup project and immediately feel a sense of dread at the daunting task ahead.
As you stare at the stacks of clutter that have accumulated over the years, you wonder where to even start.
24% of homeowners who are embarrassed to even open their garage doors, according to an Impulse Research survey. If you’re in this group, we have some tips that can help!
Get rid of these 9 things during your garage cleanup
When you’re worried about what the neighbors will think about your clutter-filled garage, that’s a sure sign it’s time to take some drastic cleanup action.
Keeping useless clutter at the expense of being able to park inside your garage doesn’t make any sense.
A garage cleanup can be a big undertaking but is well worth it to reclaim your garage space once again to be used more meaningfully for parking and efficient storage.
Start your garage cleanup by getting rid of these nine common items that are responsible for much of the clutter found in garages.
1. Old sports and fitness equipment
At one point or another, you or someone else in your family went on a health kick that involved buying some fitness equipment.
Maybe that enthusiasm has faded or perhaps it belonged to one of your kids who has moved out. The bottom line is that the equipment is just sitting unused in your garage, taking up valuable space that a vehicle could be parked in.
Whether it’s an old weightlifting bench and set of weights, an ancient NordicTrack machine from the 70s, a rusty exercise bike, or a broken treadmill, get rid of them.
The same goes for old bikes and old baseball, hockey, football, and golf equipment.
Donate or sell the equipment if it is still functional. Otherwise, add the equipment to your garage cleanup “junk” pile.
2. Broken and old tools
During your garage cleanup, decide which of your tools are in good enough shape to keep.
Rusty garden shovels, rakes with missing tines, plastic snow shovels that are cracked, a rusty hammer, a leaky and cracked garden hose…the list of old tools in your garage that you never use can go on and on.
By now you’ve probably replaced your old tools with something newer. Keeping those old tools around only makes your garage more disorganized.
They also give you more things to look through when you’re searching for a specific item.
3. Old children’s toys
When kids inevitably lose interest in their toys and want the next trendy thing, their old toys tend to end up in the garage.
Obviously, donating them to a charity should be your first course of action if the toys are gently used and in good condition. As with any donations, the charity of your choice should be able to give you a tax receipt.
For broken toys or toys that are simply no longer usable, your only option is to throw them in the garbage. Unfortunately, the materials in most plastic toys are too difficult to recycle.
4. Old paints and chemicals
All of those half-used paint cans and partially used containers of different solvents and cleaning products in your garage aren’t just a flammable or ingestion hazard.
They’re also probably unusable if they’ve been sitting there for any length of time. Temperature changes will alter their consistency and effectiveness.
Round them all up, take them to your local hazardous waste disposal facility, and make your garage a little safer (and emptier).
5. Old tires
Old, useless tires are another garage clutter staple.
Whether it’s old tires from your bicycles or vehicles, you’ll likely need to dispose of them at a proper tire recycling facility. In most parts of the U.S. and Canada, old tires can’t just be discarded in a landfill.
Here are just a few things your recycled tires can be used to make:
- rubber mulch
- tire-derived fuel
- rubberized asphalt
If you’re thinking about selling any of your old tires or using them eventually, keep in mind that they do have a shelf life.
Even if they still have a deep tread, the tire rubber will degrade over time (known as tire dry rot or sidewall cracking). Most vehicle tire manufacturers suggest a maximum service life of 7-10 years for their products.
6. Broken patio furniture
Your garage cleanup effort might uncover some old broken patio furniture that got buried by the rest of your garage clutter over the years.
It’s probably rusty, cracked, faded, or has a hole in it, so the only reasonable thing to do is to toss it.
Chances are, your old patio furniture will be tough to recycle or be worth donating.
7. Old building materials
If you live in a house for long enough, you’re sure to accumulate some building materials and supplies left over from one or more of your home improvement projects.
Maybe it’s half a bundle of roofing shingles, some broken patio stones, or extra interlocking stones from the driveway you redid.
Perhaps some of your garage floor space is being taken up by leftover building supplies you’ll never use, such as half a box of roofing nails or a partially used pail of driveway sealer that’s so old its contents are as rock solid as the driveway it was used on.
Any materials or supplies that can still be used could be donated to a worthwhile charity like Habitat For Humanity. They may be able to use some of your donations to help in their efforts to build housing for the less fortunate.
8. Old appliances
In garages overrun with clutter, you’re virtually guaranteed to find large or small appliances needlessly taking up space.
The garage is where small appliances like a slow cooker that’s been used once or an old coffee maker that still works go to die. If they’ve been stored in boxes or storage bins, give them new life by donating them.
A broken old stove, fridge, or washing machine might have been sitting in your garage for years because you just didn’t feel like dealing with disposing of them.
Now that you’re in full-on garage cleanup mode, now is the time to finally give this garage junk the heave-ho. If a charity won’t take your old appliances, look for a local business that can pick up your appliances and save you the hassle of getting rid of them.
Here’s another reason to get rid of your old larger appliances – they’re perfect breeding grounds for pests like mice.
9. Old bundles of newspapers and magazines
Walk through most neglected garages that have become a home’s catch-all space and there’s probably a bundle or two (or three, or four) of old magazines or newspapers in there somewhere.
But if you haven’t looked at any of those saved magazines or newspapers in the past 5-10 years, chances are you never will.
On top of the fact they’re probably dirty, dusty, and yellowed due to temperature fluctuations and exposure to moisture, here are a few more reasons to recycle them:
- any information in them is probably outdated
- they’re a fire hazard
- information in the reading materials can easily be found online
- stacked clutter is a tipping hazard
While you’re at it, recycle any old books you’ve had sitting in the garage for a long time. Let’s face it, you’re also likely never going to read them and they also won’t be in the best shape after years of garage storage.
Get your garage cleanup project started
Once your garage cleanup project is finished, you’ll want to ensure your tidy garage stays that way.
Consider adding PVC slatwall panels to your garage. This is a great way to get things off the floor and onto the walls to maximize your garage storage space.
A garage makeover professional can also make other aesthetic upgrades to your space, such as adding new garage flooring. Your previously messy garage can truly become an organized, visually appealing extension of your living space.
Schedule a free in-home consultation with a Garage Living design expert to find out how our garage storage solutions can keep your space well-organized. We can also tell you about our junk removal services.
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