How to organise your garage in 3 steps

There’s this funny thing about garages in the UK; many of them are too small to fit modern cars inside. At least those attached to older homes or the garages in blocks from the 60s.

So we tend to use them for storage or a dumping ground!

But are we missing a trick here? Instead of keeping excess junk that we don’t need, which we are effectively paying a fortune for; I mean, if we’re talking wasted square footage versus mortgage or rent payments.

Why not clear the clutter and create a room that you and your family will use daily? Many of us struggle with a lack of space, yet happily dedicate entire garages to stuff we rarely use.

You’d be amazed at the increase in value it would add to your home, converting a knackered old garage into a playroom/gym/home office or extra bedroom.

So why not use a day this weekend to make a start?

Preparation is key

I’ve organised several garages for clients and family in my time, and it can be a lot – even for a professional organiser.

I don’t want to put you off before you get started, because the process is so rewarding and the end result can be life-changing!

Some people just have a few tools, pots of paint, and gardening paraphernalia, but they are usually packed to the rafters with random junk.

How to organise your garage in 3 steps

If that’s the case for you, then you need to be prepared before you start.

Pro Tips:

  • Bring your bins round to the garage, both rubbish and recycling.
  • Get as many empty containers or cardboard boxes as you can for temporary organising.
  • Make sure you have your phone with you, on loud if you’re putting things on selling sites.
  • Stay hydrated! Always have a water bottle with you.
  • Stop for regular breaks.
  • If you can, bring your car close by to the garage and open the boot so that you can put stuff straight in there for the recycling centre. Once your vehicle is full you will have to make the trip, and this gives you some accountability so that the rubbish doesn’t go back into the garage and stay there for another year!
  • One last thing, don’t forget to take before photos! Everyone regrets not taking pictures before the start.

If you’re one who loves a bit of time pressure. Or if you’re the competitive type who likes to make things into a challenge, set your timer for 30-minute stints, then have a quick 5-10 minute break. (This can help with motivation too!) Then repeat.

Download the apps and set up the accounts you need

I’m sure you’ve heard me going on about this app a million times if you follow me on Instagram, but it is epic. And no, I’m not getting paid to advertise them. But, If I was, I’d probably be a millionaire! Olio is not just a food sharing app, you can put anything on there, and you can list items for free or sell. I absolutely love it and many of my clients have downloaded it during sessions with me to get shot of things that day! I can’t promise anything to you on the selling front as I’ve not listed anything that I’ve wanted payment from so far, but the free side is a winner.

You can of course stick to using Facebook marketplace if you prefer, however, the trouble with that is sometimes your post can get lost amongst a whole load of others, and the algorithms sometimes hide your posts, which may mean you don’t get any takers.

Whichever you choose to do, make sure you download the apps and have your account set up before you start the garage declutter so that you can snap and upload as you go.

I can’t tell you how good it feels when someone comes to collect that annoying bread maker or bed frame that you’ve had for years gathering dust. You are claiming back your space and you don’t even have to leave your house, well garage anyway!

Managing your expectations

There are a couple of different ways to go about decluttering your garage and to be honest, it’s going to depend a little bit on personal preference and how much stuff you have.

Either way, you need to bear in mind that you might not be able to get the whole project completed in one day. So don’t be too hard on yourself if you don’t achieve everything you set out to do. I’m an optimist and generally super positive, but I need you to be realistic, so I’m honest with you upfront. You can only do what you can do!

My advice is to start your garage decluttering project on a Saturday morning. (Or whenever you have 2 days off in a row) so that you have the whole weekend if you need it.

Oh, and please schedule this for a sunny day! You do not want to be doing this when rain is forecast, no matter how desperate you are to start!

Time to get stuck in

You can either create three piles, donate, sell and keep. This is the simplest option, and it’s a little quicker to start than the alternative.

However, ultimately you want to end up with everything categorised like for like. For example, all paint together, gardening bits, DIY tools, Christmas decorations, paperwork, kids’ toys, gym equipment, electrical items, etc. If you prefer to do this simultaneously, you can do, but if you’re limited on space and have a lot of stuff, this might be tricky.

In my latest garage decluttering client job, this is exactly what we did as we had the entire garage block space that was virtually unused by the other garage owners, so we could spread out.

You could even do a bit of a mix, just remember where you have put what! Using a pad of paper and a marker pen to make a sign is a sensible thing to do.

As soon as you have something to give away or sell, I advise you to put it straight online. You can then state pick up between the times that you will be outside, say 10-4 pm. This means that it’s out of your hair and you don’t need to put it back in the garage and then get it out again when they collect! It might not be possible for someone to collect that day, but if you get the items up straight away there’s a higher chance than if you were to put them up at 3 pm when you’re nearly ready to retire!

It’s also a bonus because often the person who comes to collect that old wardrobe you’ve never used might see something else that catches their eye and ask to take that too. Great, more stuff you don’t have to deal with!

Get it gone!

Once you have a full car take it straight to the recycling centre if you can. This is easier if there are two of you so that one can keep an eye on your stuff! If it’s not possible then you can do it at the end of the next day if needs be. It’s just one less thing to think about if you can get it gone asap.

Another reason is that you can then refill the car with charity shop items. If you have another car then it’s not so much of a priority. As I said, there is no one size fits all way to do this! Everyone is in wildly different situations, so tailor my advice to yours.

Storage

Once you’ve decluttered, you’ll be able to see what you’ve achieved so far. How much is leftover in the keep pile or multiple keep piles?

If you’ve not yet categorised, now’s the time to do this. If you have far too much stuff in the keep pile, don’t panic; you can go through it again and make the more challenging decisions when you’re categorising and/or putting everything away. Once you’ve done the first round, it becomes a lot easier as you’ve had a bit of practice as well as the motivation gained from seeing the new space appear!

My advice, as always is not to buy any storage until you have decluttered. If you buy first, it’s either going to be wrong or the wrong amount and that is just annoying and frankly, makes more work for yourself.

The point of decluttering and categorising first is to see what you have leftover that you need to containerise and store!

Metal racking is great for garage storage, as well as solid wall hooks. If you can get things off the ground and onto walls, you’ll have more floor space to use for something better, like a car!

Plastic boxes like these “Really Useful” storage boxes are perfect for outdoor uses. They are airtight and stackable, as well as being easy to label.

Labelling

Once you’ve organised what you’re keeping, find suitable containers for each category of items and clearly label them.

You truly do not need fancy or expensive labels. If you’re on a tight budget, simply use a cut out of paper and stick it to the front or top of the container. Whichever is visible and Bobs’ your uncle.

As long as you’re happy with the look and you can find what you need, that’s all that matters.

This is about making your life easier and not featuring on the Home Edit! That being said, if you want fancy labels, go ahead, there are some great options on Etsy.

Happy decluttering!

I hope this has helped you and given you some inspiration to start planning or get on with decluttering your garage! Don’t forget to tag me in your Facebook photos, share them on my page or tag me in your Instagram stories, I love to see you’re decluttering and organising wins :)

If you have any questions, comment below or drop me a line on Instagram, and if you don’t already, give me a follow to get daily tips, tricks and inspo!

Want to know more about me, The Space Creator and how I can help you? Click here.

If you’re looking to really up-level your life and get organised once and for all, why not check out my new Declutter Like a Pro: The Simple Success Formula course? Click here to find out more and get yourself on the exclusive VIP waitlist for a treat.

I hope you have the best weekend!

With love,

Amy xx

– your decluttering & organising bestie

PS if you’d like my blog posts straight to your inbox each week, sign up here, and get yourself a free declutter bingo checklist! Watch out; it might go into your junk, so make sure you add me to your “safe senders” list.