According to Harris Poll, 50% of Americans name their garage as the messiest room in their house. The garage is also one of the most prominent curb appeal of your house and 1/4 of Americans are embarrassed to open their garage doors for the neighbors to see. And, one more, the garage can be the most functional room in the house except for the fact that it is the messiest therefore unusable.

I think those stats speak for themselves so let’s get started with the tips to get your garage cleaned. First things first. Take a deep breath. Even meditate if need be. But take it one step at a time.

Set aside two consecutive weekends and recruit family and/or friends to help. Pick the weekends accordingly. Many cities have junk collection days every six months which means perfect timing or pick the weekend you can borrow your brother’s truck for a trip to the dump. But, plan ahead. And, have a goal in mind.

Set aside some space to create four piles. 1. Keep 2. Throw away 3. Sell 4. Donate.

First things first. Purge. Throw away anything that you haven’t used or looked at in 18 months. Don’t overthink. Don’t say “one day I’ll use or want  it” because if you haven’t used it within 2 years then get rid of it. The exception to that rule is tools and building materials to a certain extent.

As such, organize your tools in one area, box, shelf, etc. That’s both for space saving and for practicality. And organize by seasons because that snow blower is useless in the summer but, oh so necessary in the winter.

Organize the holiday items. When that holiday comes, you’ll want to decorate with ease and items that you have already bought.

Organize the sentimental items. If you have old photos, designate a family member to scan all the photos and put them in your computer so you can actually look at them when wandering down memory lane. Then box up the real photos in an air locked container and tuck away.

Then there’s the decision you have to make regarding items that you’re getting rid of but are still usable. You may want to consider a garage sale, craig’s list, ebay, etc. Otherwise donate them. But do it within the two weekend span you dedicated. So you’re on task and follow through.

Get to a point where your entire garage is empty and clean and/or repair any necessary parts. Then look around and find spots where you can put shelves or racks to maximize space.

Then put everything you going to keep in its proper, designated spot. And if the clutter is not more than half gone that means you’re a pack rat or do a good job at keeping your garage clean.

One thing to note which many people do not yet do is to digitally archive. Many boxes are filled with paper work. Files of tax returns, warranties, instructions, journals, etc. Turn those into PDFs and store them on your computer, in the cloud and on a back-up and continue the digital process from then on.