An open and organized garage with a garage cleaning checklist superimposed over the corner

Garage Cleaning Checklist: Steps to a Clean and Organized Space

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Do you park your cars on the driveway because your garage so cluttered? We use ours for both parking and storage. But if I’m not careful, the storage will turn into clutter and take over.

So, I use this garage cleaning checklist twice a year — as part of my Spring Cleaning and again in Autumn — to keep our garage clean, organized, and easy to use. Ready? Then roll up your sleeves and let’s get cleaning!

Step 1: Gather Your Equipment.

Don’t get distracted by side quests like running to the store for cleaning products you’re out of, or hunting through the pile of things on your driveway for the broom. So, gather these now:

  • Cleaning supplies: Microfiber cloths, soap and water, a bucket, scrub brush, broom or shop vac.
  • Decluttering supplies: Boxes/bags for trash and donations, work gloves, tape and a marker.
  • Organizing supplies: Storage containers, labels, hooks.

Step 2: Decide on Zones.

Creating distinct zones for different functions is crucial for garage organization. Zones make it easier to find what you need and to put things away, too. And when things are put away, it’s easier to clean.

Pro Tip

Before you start hauling anything out of your garage, take a look at how you’re already using it. The clutter that’s in there can help you figure out where your zones should be.

Plan zones before cleaning

The idea is to have in mind ways you use your garage so you can sort things by zone as you pull them out.

For example, if your family keeps recycling and trash bins in the garage, set up a zone where they’re accessible and stash bin liners and spare bags there, too.

Zone organizing your garage

Here are some more zones you may find helpful to create:

  • Returning Home Zone: A spot for shoes and umbrellas.
  • Bulk Storage Zone: For those warehouse store purchases like cases of pop and large bags of cat litter.
  • Sports and Rec Zone: Racquets, bikes, skateboards, outdoor toys, etc.
  • Tool Zone: Rakes, shovels, pruning shears, other tools and ladders.
  • Storage Zone: Mementos, keepsakes, out-of-season clothing in containers.
  • Easy Access Zone: One or two items you need often, like a snow shovel or leaf rake.
  • Decor Zone: Holiday and seasonal decorations, sorted by occasion.

Get the Printable Checklist Sent to You

Step 3: Remove Everything.

Once you know the zones you want to create, start pulling everything out of the garage and onto your driveway.

If that’s not an option, then you’ll need to clean and declutter one section of your garage at a time.

As you do, separate things by the zone you’ll zone put them in. Throw away clutter and set aside things for donation as you go.

A good rule of thumb is to donate things in good condition that you have duplicates of or haven’t needed in a couple of years.

Step 4: Garage Cleaning.

Cleaning a garage is probably the messiest household task since there’s so much dirt, debris and dead bugs involved. But that makes it satisfying, too!

So, grab your broom and sweep everything top to bottom: ceiling, walls, shelving and floor. Next, close the garage door and clean the inside of it—it’s amazing how dirty that can get. Then open the door, wipe the tracks, and apply garage door lubricant to them.

Did You Know?

Using WD-40 on garage door tracks can strip away necessary lubrication, leading to increased wear. Stick with a silicone-based lubricant designed for garage doors.

If the floor of your garage is covered with oily spots or grime, hot soapy water and a scrub brush can get up most messes though you may need stronger cleaners to remove cement stains. While the floor dries, wipe down the light switches, door trim, and knobs, plus the garage opener button.

Step 5: Decluttering and Organizing.

Start putting things in the zones you’ve decided on, and continue throwing away trash and adding to the donation pile as you work.

Use vertical storage space

Vertical storage maximizes the use of your space by taking advantage of empty walls and even the ceiling—places that often go unused.

Hooks: You can hang hand tools and garden gear from hooks on the wall or attached to pegboards. Drilling heavy-duty hooks into wall studs creates storage for heavier things like bicycles.

Ceiling-mounted racks: Heavy-duty racks mounted in your garage ceiling joists make excellent storage space.

Protect stored items from damage

Insects, rodents and water all pose threats to things stored in your garage.

Use clear, waterproof bins: Clear bins allow you to see what’s inside without having to open everything.

Keep the floor clear: The less on your floor, the easier it is to keep your garage floor clean.

Pro Tip

After completing the garage cleaning checklist, do one more quick sweep of the floor to get rid of any debris left after putting things away.

Finish Up.

Head to your local charity and drop off those donations. Sure, you’re probably tired and would prefer to take a rest, but think of what a nice-looking garage is waiting when you return.

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  1. Thank You so much for the comprehensive, easy to follow and FREE checklists. Including the what you will need section ensures the process moves smoothly and effectively, allowing us to spend more time with the people we love! I am going to laminate them and get started today.

  2. I love the checklists. I probably missed it, but so you have recommendations for want to do it cleaning the garage is not a 1-day project ?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      I’m so glad you like the checklists! You’ve probably noticed they’re broken into sections, so when I need to spread out a project over several days I just do one section at a time then take a break. With the garage, that’s a little harder since we’re pulling everything out then purging the junk. One way to do this is to put everything on tarps and pull it back in at the end of the day. Or, work on one half of the garage at a time.

  3. I am having trouble finding the Garage Cleaning Checklist. Is it available?

    1. Katie Berry says:

      Hi Bobby,

      I’m sorry about that. We just went live with these yesterday, and they were working at that time. I’m having the tech team look into it right now. Thank you for your patience.


    2. Katie Berry says:

      An update, Bobby: they got it fixed, so you should be good to get the checklists now. Enjoy!

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