Does your garage look like mine? It’s been a long, cold, and gross winter and my garage reflects every single inch of that…a dump zone. The rug deposited by the teen girls who no longer think it is stylish enough, the piles of random give away stuff that is bagged up with no where to go, the box springs and mattress you swore you were going to sell but never did, the inherited furniture from a much beloved family member, and the multitude of random things that have loosely found their way out to the garage, along with the dirt and sand from a car that has been relegated to driving in tough weather conditions. Where do you even start?
Similar to a Viking approaching war, one simply does not approach a job like this without the proper weapons.
Gloves & Mask: Let’s be honest, it’s a garage…who knows what you are going to find.
Brooms: One light and easy for corners and underneath shelving, one heavy duty or push broom for pushing that hoarders pile into a nice mountain prior to discarding.
Garbage bags and boxes: Basic kitchen garbage bags for the paper and whatnot and large black bags for large and bulky items. Use boxes and garbage bags for putting together items that need to go to a second hand store.
Step Stool: Needed for reaching higher shelves – if you are 5 foot like, this is very necessary.
Pole and Cobweb Brush: A broom will work just as well, but this comes in handy for reaching those high to reach corners where those cobwebs like to hide Instead of brushing them down they will encapsulate the web and dust in its bristles. Find them in our retail store.
Mop: It might seem odd but after you sweep out all of that winter dirt and sand, just like a Clariol Shampoo Commercial, it feels good to wash that dirt right out of your hair…ahem, garage.
You cannot appropriately manage this battle without getting a grasp on what you have, so you must completely empty out the space. Choose a decent day weather wise or shift from one side of the garage to the other, and pull everything out, as you do so, organize it into piles and areas that make sense to you. Some of the main categories would be garbage, donate or get rid of, garage sale, and storage – remaining in the garage or moving up to the attic if you are so lucky to have one.
Now that the garage is emptied out, it’s time to begin the cleaning portion, but doing it in the right order will help make your time more efficient. The best place to start is the top: cobwebs, dust, bugs, and sawdust tend to really build up around the top, edges, and shelving – creating a breathing nightmare. Wear a mask and use a broom or a pole with a cobweb brush and clean the garage from the lid down, making sure to get all shelving and surfaces. Once that is complete it is time to attack the lower areas, corners, and the floor utilizing the cobweb brush, broom and push brooms. Once the entire room is clean of dust, dirt and debris it is time to give it a good mopping. Mopping should be done a minimum of two times, the first time will basically be loosening all of the dirt and stuck on debris, the second and plausible third will be to actually clean and get the dirt out. You could also put down excess water while you mop and then squeegee it out of the garage. If you have any oil spots or stains make sure to use the proper cleaner, like Procyon Multi-Purpose Cleaner and Degreaser, which is green, soap and odor free, or Kleenco’s Grease Off Pavement Cleaner both can be found in our retail store in Lynden.
The other option is to have Northwest Professional Services come in and do a professional cleaning of your concrete floor, which will not only save you the hassle of trying to get the floor clean, but will also give you piece of mind that the floor is both properly cleaned and even sealed.
While the floor dries it is time to purge and determine what is going back into your garage and how you want your garage to function as a whole. Is it a place simply to park your car? Are you an avid gardener and need a space for your tools and potting accouterments? Are you a builder and need a dedicated area for your tools and lumber? No matter what you want the space to represent, getting there will take some planning and organization. A rule of thumb for your many possessions, outside of holiday and seasonal storage is Have you needed or used it in the last 6 months?, If not then it is time for it to go. If there are items that you want to hang on to because they have sentimental value or you just like it but have no current purpose for it, then consider utilizing the attic space in order to get it out of the garage. Plan your space, pack up the get rid of items and take them to a second hand store or the dump, only return back to the garage the items that you truly use or need to store in an easily accessible spot. Now that you are done, survey your land, it should leave you feeling accomplished that not only do you have a great space to park your vehicle(s), but a great spot to do the things you enjoy doing!