I tend to leave cleaning the garage to my husband, and he tends to spend about 2 minutes sweeping then calls it clean. Considering how often we walk through the garage, and how much we store in there, it deserves more attention, like an annual Spring Cleaning.
You will need:
- Work gloves – there are a lot of messy, toxic materials in a garage. Don’t let them come in contact with your skin.
- Step stool
- Cleaning cloths
- All-purpose cleaner (or make your own homemade mix)
- Boxes marked: Donate, Elsewhere, Recycle, Trash and Dispose (the latter is for things like old paint, used motor oil and other things that must be taken to your city’s waste disposal center.)
- Black permanent marker
- Peg board (optional)
Plan wisely: You’re going to need room for things you’ll be pulling out of the garage, so plan to do this project on a sunny day that’s not too hot.
Empty it out: Park your cars on the street, and begin pulling things out of your garage one at a time. As you do, put items that you’ll be donating or that don’t belong in the garage into the appropriate boxes. Separate recycling cycled from the trash, keeping hazardous materials apart.
Give it a good sweep: Using your broom, sweep the ceiling, the corners and the walls. Close the garage door and sweep the inside of it.
Wipe things off: Spray and wipe off the light switches, door jamb, door knobs and garage opener button. Using the damp cloth, clean the lights on the garage door opener and other light bulbs. (Just make sure they’re cool first.)
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Spruce it up: Now’s a good time to give your garage a fresh coat of paint. Most garages are plain, flat white. Why not paint yours in a cheerful semi-gloss that will not only look nice but is easier to keep clean.
Determine the zones: Do you have a workbench in your garage? A pile of sports equipment? Do you store your holiday decorations in there? Visualize the different ways you use your garage and plan to store like items in “zones” so they’re easier to use.
Forget about the floor: Don’t store things on the floor of your garage. Not only does this make it more difficult to clean throughout the year, it also makes your possessions more susceptible to insect- and rodent-infestation, as well as weather-related damage. If you don’t currently have shelving in your garage, make or install some. Or consider using pegboard on the walls to provide storage for tools, sports equipment and other items. Use the black permanent marker to draw an outline around each item so everyone in the family knows where things belong.
Label it: Label any unmarked boxes with the marker, too, so you won’t have to dig around to find the Christmas lights or your flag for the 4th of July. And don’t forget to put extension cords in cardboard tubes and note their length on the tube. They’ll stay clean and untangled, and you’ll be able to find the right one in a flash.
Take a drive: Now’s the time to drop off the items you’ve set aside for charity, and the hazardous household waste that needs to be disposed of at your city’s waste management facility. And just think what a nice looking garage you’re going to come home to!