The best starting point for getting your garage in order is to separate items seasonally, which is why summer is an ideal time to undertake the task. And in summer, it’s time anyway to put away those winter items (snow shovel, snow blower, boots, skis, Christmas decorations, bags of de-icer, etc.) that you won’t be using again for another six months.
Put all of these to one side (or in the yard or driveway) to give yourself the necessary maneuvering room to pull out the summer-friendly items that will see a lot of use in the coming months. Pull all of these to one side, as well.
With the space you’ve cleared, you have the opportunity to do a couple of things including inventory taking inventory of what’s left and dusting/sweeping the vacated areas.
Are there unlabeled boxes, bags and trunks? Now is the ideal time to inspect each and to take a moment to label each for future reference. Use the same strategy for arranging these as you do the seasonal items. Start with a simple list:
- The things you will need easy access to
- The things you aren’t likely to need either in an emergency or anytime soon
- The things you don’t need at all
Be honest with yourself about item #3. There’s nothing wrong with having a sentimental attachment to a few things, but let’s face it. The line that distinguishes a smart saver from someone who’s simply a hoarder comes down to realizing that you can’t be sentimental about EVERYTHING.
After things are winnowed down and the remainder dusted and tidied and the floor swept (or perhaps hosed down), inspect your available storage space. Could you do with some more shelving or a pegboard on which you can hang small items for quick and easy access? Now would be the perfect time to make this type of adjustment.
Obviously, the winter items should be stored next, in the less-accessible areas, followed by the summer tools and recreational items, as well as those items likely to see everyday use (hammer, saw, screwdriver, tire pump, broom, rake, etc.).
Now is also the ideal time to make sure that tools and appliances are in good working order. Check electrical cords for frayed sections; clean and rewind extension cords. Position ladders horizontally or in other ways that will discourage children or pets from climbing on them. Store paints and other potentially harmful chemicals on high shelves, taking care not to confine them in small spaces where spontaneous combustion could occur. Check and change batteries in your flashlights and smoke detectors.
This cleaning phase is also the ideal time to check the garage flooring to make sure concrete isn’t chipped or cracked, and that mold and fungus aren’t gaining a foothold in those dank corners.
All of this sounds like a massive undertaking, and it certainly can be just that. But it’s a rewarding one that reaps great benefits in safety and convenience. If tackling this type of undertaking is more than you feel comfortable doing, Handyman Matters stands ready to assist in all aspects of garage cleaning, from repairing concrete floors to building shelves, to installing smoke detectors and anything in between.
For assistance, call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code at the top of the page to find a location near you.