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10 Spic-and-Span Cleaning and Organizing Ideas for Your Garage

Summertime organizing was a high priority for my husband and myself when we were at his parents’ home of 50-plus years here in early June when we were home for his father’s memorial. 
The sheds and garage had basically remained untouched since we were last there in 2015 due to Mr. Ethereal’s father’s health, so…  
A good dusting, scrubbing, and a fixing of things and such was in order…




I shared this sweet photograph of my wonderful husband Charles (Mr. Ethereal) recently but I like it a lot so here he is again! I see his really-tired face as a tribute to the hard work he puts into everything he does every day. Guess this is the Father’s Day post I didn’t get written this year with all that has been going on… 💝 😉


So today here are Mr. Ethereal’s 10 ideas-that-work for cleaning out your garage:

1. Begin with moving EVERYTHING out of your garage that clutters the main floor. 

This may take several days or several weekends of all-day work. Know too that you will have to pull everything back inside at night so leave plenty of time to pull do so. Rebox and organize as you work. Make several trips to local donation centers helps, too.

2. Move like-items into groups and begin weeding items into… 
3. Keep and donate/garage sale piles. 

Cleaning and organizing always sound so simple but it is hard to do when we have memories attached to items, our things… It is really important to respect the feelings of family members and let them weed through their own boxes.


One of the things Charles most wanted to get done while we were home was really cleaning and organizing the garage for his mother. His father, Charles Sr. (“Pete”), used to keep it in good order but as he became older, Pete just couldn’t do it anymore. So, it was important to Charles to do this for his father. 

My thought was to store the heavier items all on the bottom two shelves. The light-weight sports bottles and pastry tools went onto the upper shelving and cookware and stored pastas went into the middle with its new, heavier support.
4. Rebuild/Build any needed shelving  Charles rebuilt and reinforced the 1″ x 2″ center support “T-supports” his father had put in these big box store melanine cabinets. Screwing the supports to the shelving to keep it from moving was important in case these supports are ever bumped (my idea, one was leaning when we first opened the cabinet). 

His father already had side supports in place for a couple of shelves. Charles added extra 1″ x 2″ wood supports across the back of the cabinet of the lower shelving to help distribute the weight of heavier items.

My mission while my husband was working on the shelving was to go buy a 4′ x 8′ particle board sheet and have someone in the big-box lumber department cut it into shelving sized-to-fit. We replaced four lower shelf pieces and added in two additional shelves for even more storage.

These cabinet photographs were taken after they were cleaned and reorganized inside. Mr. Ethereal also worked hard on reorganizing boxes stored above here and around the garage. Like-sized boxes and items always fit better together than when scattered around a room.

5. Organize and group  My mother-in-law Gini and sister-in-law Jodi keep entertaining pieces and cookware stored inside these garage cabinets. These spaces had big open gaps previously and my task was to organize these spaces to:
  1. Utilize the cabinet space better to hold more items.

  2. Make it more functional by grouping like items together.


**Getting all the serving platters and cookie sheets organized vertically inside each cabinet makes a big difference! They had been stored horizontally previously and this wasn’t the best use of the available shelving. It left a lot of open gaps. 

Another area I helped organize is this small pantry in the laundry area of the garage. My inlaws’ home is an early 1960’s home built on a double lot that the builder himself owned. They are the second owners.


Some serving trays and Sterno trays had to be stores horizontally and that’s where the added narrowly-spaced shelves came in handy (shorter-height areas are good for these needs).




6. Get family members to go through stored boxes reboxing items still needed/still wanted. Items no longer needed were then boxed for donation and for a future garage sale. 

7. Utilize each family member’s best skills  Some people are overwhelmed and some people are just better organizers. It helps when it’s not your own things, too.  Just having a friend to help you begin the process is sometimes all that is needed to get a project going and completed. 

Cleaning, clearing out items and organizing is to me the hardest thing one has to do in terms of housework! Getting some help is a huge motivator.

8. Keep sweeping, wiping shelves/items off as you go  This is always the grossest part of this deep-type of cleaning but it is sooo necessary! Use your old kitchen towels and saved diapers. Anything too grimey/greasy to wash, throw it away. Toweling breaks down in the landfill and is perfectly recyclable. ♼ 


9. Take donations to thrift shops and recyclers  Have a few family member help you (this is great for getting the kids involved!) by bagging up aluminum drinking cans, glass bottles and plastic recyclables to take over to the local donation center. In our family, if the kids helped they benefited from the cash made when turning these items in! Our nephew Corey took over a full truck-bed of recyclables from the family home in his pickup truck and that cash goes back into the gas tank ~ a definite win!!! 



10. Finish organizing and then… Decorate! Charles was finishing putting things up on the counter here so that part of the counter could be a display/work area. A long piece of melanine board was leftover so I suggested, “What about adding a display shelf?” (Actually, we thought of adding a shelf early-on in the process to add another storage area.) 💝


Love this awesome truck that Charles’ father gave him! I think it was Pete’s before Charles owned it. We will bring it back to our home maybe next time…

Have a little fun to celebrate!

At the end of a hard week’s work, and doing some last minute hanging organization of tools used everyday, Mr. Ethereal worked his magic one last time hanging this shelf. 

Mrs. Ethereal went around gathering her father-in-love’s vintage oil cans and suggested the metal truck Charles had painted when he was 12 years old. These items all had a car-theme and would play nicely together. Even the old welding tool of Charles’ grandfather’s.
Now this whole area has a 1950’s to 1970’s motor speedway-look to it!!!

Love this hood ornament!!! Charles told me that it came off of
a particular car (a 1970’s era El Camino?) but I forget…


Please pin me 



Classic vintage… 🚙The hardhat is from when Charles’ grandfather retired from Cal-Trans and road building construction in the early 1970’s.

A job well done

The biggest benefit of completely organizing this garage space and the family’s three outdoor sheds is how now our relatives are motivated to continue cleaning and organizing indoors. Yours will be too! 

They are looking forward to holding a few garage sales over the summer and continue going through many years of paperwork. My mother-in-law has told us over several phone calls about all the dusting, and shredding of old tax paperwork she has been doing. Corey is going to take the metal gathered on the side of the house over to the local metal recyclers and my sister-in-law Jodi is helping when she isn’t working.


Probably the best benefit of helping someone work on a daunting cleaning project is the happiness it gives them when the task is completed…

💗

If you enjoyed this cleaning and organizational post, this post where I helped a friend work on her trailer home here might interest you.




Happy summer,

4 thoughts on “10 Spic-and-Span Cleaning and Organizing Ideas for Your Garage”

  1. Great tips Barb, thank you. The task of cleaning big spaces always feels so daunting. There just sooooo much stuff, but that one tip of utilizing everyone's best skills makes so much sense. My mind goes into shut down when there's clutter but once people start jumping in and making small piles of stuff I'm like a machine. P.S. Our garage needs a big clean out too. May I borrow Mr E please 😉

    Like

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