Advice for decluttering garages

Here’s the second article in our series on garage decluttering. Here are six steps to take to make your garage or shed decluttering process go much more quickly and smoothly.

1.  Decide which activities you genuinely want to keep doing

This is probably the hardest part of consolidating any household or garage possessions. People can build up inventories of supplies for various hobbies which feel too precious to relinquish. The craft supplies, the camping gear, the photography gear and the audio equipment feel too precious to let go of, but somehow seem surplus to current needs. The garage can end up being a kind of a “limbo” for departed household objects which haven’t yet gone to a better place.

I guess the key here is to critically examine whether you will again undertake any hobbies from the past, and dedicate space to current hobbies and activities. That way, you hopefully won’t feel as though you’re robbing yourself of hobby inventories, but rather that you are prioritising current hobbies and interest.

2. Set yourself up ergonomically

To save on unnecessary back and shoulder aches, it’s good to have boxes stacked at waist height and/or a trestle table you can use for sorting. Try to keep everything within easy reach and minimise the bending you have to do. Get help for lifting and manual handling where you can.

3. Aim to get everything off the floor

I’m a big fan of the idea of getting everything off the floor and into shelving units and cupboards (which most people seem to have already in their garages and sheds). Garage and shed floors can get pretty dirty and boxes/objects on the floor are liable to become trip hazards. Having everything stored in shelving units or purpose made racks (such as broom racks etc) can make the space much more usable.

4. Let go of the “guilty clutter”

Sometimes, garages can collect a fair few sentimental items which have been passed down from relatives, or items representing childhood memories. This can be such a difficult area to tackle, but the additional space and functionality gained make the effort of sorting through these items worthwhile. There is often a reason that these objects haven’t made it into your home. The chief reason being that you probably don’t want them there. It is difficult to let these things go, but finding another home for them can help to appease any guilty feelings associated with sending the items on.

5. Open and sort “mystery boxes”

Sometimes there are boxes left over from a house move, a rush clear out of a junk room, or things which have been stored but not accessed for years. Even if things are already stored in plastic tubs and boxes, there are good gains to be made from sorting through and consolidating so-called “mystery boxes”.

6. Be realistic about time

A garage declutter is not a one-hour project, by any estimation! When we do a garage declutter, it usually takes a team of ladies multiple sessions to complete the work. The accumulations have built up over many years, so allow yourself time to chip away at the task at hand.

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