Tips for Cleaning Out the Garage

04 Oct Tips for Cleaning Out the Garage

The garage and humble ‘shed’ are always popular places when it comes to clutter and storing junk. This weekend we are planning a clean out and here are my top 10 tips and ideas to help.


Tip 1: Call for help to clean and organise your garage

If the state of your garage is overwhelming, the best way to tackle it is to call up a friend or neighbour for help. Offer to help them with their garage the following week (or do theirs first). Bringing in reinforcements means the job gets done quickly, is more social but more importantly, it makes sure the job gets done!

Tip 2: Hire a skip bin hire

You’ll be surprised just how much you have actually accumulated and need to dispose. It doesn’t take much to fill a regular bin. If you really don’t think you will fill the whole Skip, consider sharing the cost with a neighbour. For fewer items you can phone your local council  – some Council’s offer a service where they provide up to three large wheel bins for a fee.


Tip 3: Stand back in your garage and take a look

Think about what you’d like the purpose of your garage to be. Is it just a place to park cars? Do you use it as a workshop? Perhaps it also gets used as a games room for teenage kids? Think of how you would arrange zones for each activity. As bizarre as it may sound, creating a quasi mission statement for your space helps you stay focused. Keep only items in the garage that fall within your garage’s Mission Statement. If you have been placing items from our previous week’s de-clutter tasks into the garage….NOW IS THE TIME TO GET RID OF THEM!


Tip 4: Divide and conquer

Divide sections of the garage into the desired zones from your Garage Mission Statement. For example, if your mission statement says, “My garage will be used to:

(a) house our two cars;

(b) store the family bikes; and

(c) function as a handyman’s workshop”,

then dedicate one section of the garage for each.

Start with the zone that requires the largest space first. In this example, it’s the cars. Clear a space around the cars so you can freely open car doors and walk around unobstructed. Move everything out of that space that doesn’t belong and either toss it out, gift/donate it or store it elsewhere (not back in the house!). Move on to the next space and so on.


Tip 5: What should stay and what should go in your garage space?

I must admit, my husband and I have a handful of jobs that are strictly ‘pink’ and strictly ‘blue’ and we NEVER cross the beams on those jobs. The garage and under-house storage is a definite BLUE ‘job’ in our house and I know better than to interfere. The truth is, I don’t even want to. This means I needed to consult Mr Man on the best way to decide what stays and what goes. On his best advice, he tells me:

(a) If you haven’t used an item in two years – get rid of it.

(b) If you think you aren’t likely to use an item in the next two years – get rid of that too.

Another piece of handy advice was to not get trapped into thinking that you really do need 50 different types and lengths of screws – because clearly, you don’t. Hmmm, not sure how good we are at that one, but the premise is a good one.

Tip 6: Buy plastic storage containers for your garage

Buy as many stackable plastic storage containers as you need. Don’t use cardboard boxes as they attract rodents, cockroaches and other undesirables. At the very least place papers and fabric inside plastic storage containers and tape them up. Be sure to label your containers and stack them in a way that you can easily access more commonly used items.


Tip 7: Store and dispose of garage items wisely

Check all the used-by dates on chemicals and corrosive materials. Store poisonous items safely and well out of reach of children. Dispose of any materials wisely and never empty items down the sink or in a storm water drain. Please consider the environment. Attached is a link to the relevant authority in NSW on how to dispose of household chemicals safely. Be sure to check out the one in your state.

Tip 8: Put up a garage peg board

Organise your tools and create a space that makes it easy to store and put away tools after using them. Take everything off the floor. The whole point to this clean-up is to be able to find the items you need quickly and make it easy to tidy the space in the future. A peg board like this is a great idea for a father’s day gift or for your husbands birthday. A great gift they will love you for and you don’t have to see the mess anymore.


Tip 9: Install a shelf system in your garage

Either buy or build a good shelving system and as many hooks as possible. The shelves are obvious for storage (stack your plastic containers and chemicals for one thing) and the hooks are great for hanging tools, garden equipment and even bikes.


Tip 10: Call in the professionals

If you find the whole process more than you can deal with, let us help you. At North Shore Interiors we can put together a team that is best suited to your individual needs. All you need do is email us at

About Linda Delaney and North Shore Interiors

Linda Delaney is the owner and manager of North Shore Interiors, a company that provides interior design, decorating, styling and project management services to Sydney’s lower north shore and greater Sydney metropolitan area.

Linda has been seen in Habitus, Inside Out, Grand Designs Australia and Money magazines. She is also a regular contributor for leading Australian interior design publications, Home Design and the annual Design & Decoration. Watch out for more of Linda’s work featured in the media.

Contact Linda at or on 0432 716 558.