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It’s Time to Clean out that Garage

Tuesday, September 25 2012 9:25 AM

Summer is now officially over and, soon enough, the weather will turn cold. Now is a good time to clean out that garage and get organized for the long haul to next spring when you can dust everything off and get back into the yard.

Cleaning out the garage has long been a pre-winter project. If your Dad was anything like one of ours, he’d pick a cool Saturday morning to get the project underway. And although we, as kids back then, disliked giving up even part of a free weekend day to chores, Dad would always have a well-defined plan for moving everything out of the garage, cleaning the floors, re-organizing all the equipment and supplies, and putting it all back together in just a handful of hours. Now that doesn’t sound so bad, does it?

There are some “organizational pros” that claim you should set aside a full weekend for your pre-winter garage cleaning. We disagree. Provided that you have an average-sized garage, this is a chore than can be performed in less than five hours. It begins by striking the contents of the garage in a way that facilitates later organization. Let’s get started.

First off – put your garbage cans, trash sacks, and recycling bins to one side. You’ll need easy access to these as you go through all your garage stuff. You may also want to have a few empty cardboard boxes for collecting hazardous wastes (aerosol cans, old paint cans, old motor oil, etc.), so that you can take them to the proper collections facility in your city.

Now, in order to maximize your time and effort, imagine your driveway as a staging area for similar garage components – broken down into quadrants. One part of your driveway is for machinery and equipment that typically reside on the floor (lawn mowers, snow blowers, ladders, fertilizer spreaders, weed eaters). Another part of your driveway is reserved for implements that typically reside on pegs attached to the walls (rakes, shovels, brooms, clippers, pitchforks, etc.). One part of your driveway should be reserved for all your spring/summer gear (inflatable pools, garden hoses, lawn chairs, etc.). And the last part of your driveway should be reserved for anything you’ll need easy access to over the winter (snow and ice melt, snow chains, spare propane tanks for the grill, etc.). Once the garage is empty, sweep the floors. You can even buy some oil stain remover and scrub the floors clean before rinsing the garage out with water.

Now the easy part: Put it all back neatly – remembering to organize by whatever method works best for you to later retrieve an item or move it out from the garage. And if you really want to get organized, make a trip to your local home improvement store and buy 4-5 plastic bins (50 gallon size) for your lawn, garden, automotive and home supplies. Select a bin for your insecticides, as well as separate bins for your cleaning products, your automotive products, and your lawn and garden products. Mark each bin for easy identification. Stack ‘em up.

While you’re working in the garage, don’t forget that it’s also time to put up your mower or lawn tractor for the winter. Perform an end-of-season tune-up on your mower or lawn tractor to prepare it for storage over the winter. The MoJack line of lawn mower lifts, by the way, has been designed to lift nearly every mower type – making your mower maintenance quick and easy. And the MoJack has a small footprint as well – so it won’t take up much space in your newly-cleaned garage!