When it's time for a garage detox

When it's time for a garage detox

Garages are all too often an abused grey area for unwanted or old household items, clothing, kids’ bikes, skateboards, old fish tanks, the lawnmower, and dusty romance novels no one ever read! Just like you, your garage can benefit from a thorough detox, a clean sweep, and some fresh air!

When you’re ready to face the cluttered scrapyard your garage has become, remember these salient points:

  • Shift your (and your family’s) perceptions around what the garage is used for. First step? Stop putting junk in there! Just like a physical detox, it starts with breaking bad habits. Rather donate unwanted items or throw items out instead of piling up the garage as the default location.
  • Get ready to make a scrap category, where you’ll evaluate everything as you clean, and toss whatever isn’t adding value to your life.
  • Apply some basic organisational skills, sorting goods by type, installing some shelving, and containerising whatever you can.

Clearing out your garage – where to start?

Start your garage detox by taking everything out of the garage, and giving the empty space a good sweep and wipe. If you find yourself working there on occasion, now is also a good time to run some extension leads or get on the ladder and ensure the lighting is suitable. A garage has three solid sides and a door, and this pretty much dictates how you’ll arrange things. Also, the best garage cleansing leaves a logical system behind, so that you’ll know where to find everything again.

Perhaps the three sides can be nominated as consumables, tools, and stored household items? Whatever you consider priorities or logical groupings, start by removing everything. You’ll sort and pack it as you carry back in. Consider buying some second-hand steel cupboards from the local pawn shop, if there are no existing cupboards. Shelving too can be a huge aid in keeping a garage neat and tidy. For around R150 for two brackets, the mounting screw set and the plank itself (laminated pine board), this small expense makes for a great Saturday morning trip to the handy store.

Heads up, look up, and pack that garage!

Shelving is almost an essential for an organised garage of typical dimensions, so don’t begrudge yourself. Garage shelving is cheap and quick, and it makes a huge difference. Just remember to upscale brackets, screws and timber if you anticipate really loading shelves. For typical (lightweight) storage space, however, laminated pine will do just fine. Apply your spirit level to keep shelves straight and parallel, and drill the Fischer plug holes with the correct concrete drill bit.

In short, think grouping and think vertical if you’re struggling for garage space. If you have rafters, surfboards and bicycles that are infrequently used, see if they can fit up there. If you’re able, weld up a few hanging brackets from metal rod, or simply make some ski rope slings. Shelving will go a long way towards transforming the garage into an organised, pleasant space. And if you splash out on a few cheapie hardware cupboards, you can attain a high degree of tidiness where before there was just chaos!

Final hot tips:
  • Do you have grey items in terms of frequency of use? Not sure where to put it? Keep it on a lower shelf so that it’s visibly present, and you’ll soon figure out whether it needs to be stashed as always-available or more remotely.
  • If you have a lot of tools (and others are also using them), a board that has the shape of every tool drawn on it makes missing items a cinch to spot. Here again, a laminated pine or even chipboard piece coated with PVA or blackboard paint is cheap, functional and smart.
  • Screws, nails, nuts and bolts scattered everywhere can be shaped up with glass or plastic bottles, and labeled with a koki.
  • Expensive tools can get a shelf of their own. Keep the carry case or box it came in, and pack all of your more precious power tools in one place.

Once you’ve detoxed your garage, just as with the human body, be gentle going forward! The same as a post detox diet should prolong or enhance the cleansing, so too will a house rule of “No Dumping!” make your efforts in sorting the garage endure.

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