My Garage Cleanup: [How to] Maintain an Organized Garage

How I Maintain An Organized Garage

Garages are works in progress. About three times a year, I give my garage a good tidy. Each time I do this, I try to focus on improving something. When you’ve got a good organizing foundation, everything else is just a little tweak. Getting into maintenance mode is a bit more work at the start, but once you are there, it feels so good. Your garage will not always look perfect, but this system will help keep it in check.

Here is how I keep up my garage throughout the year:

  • Yearly Garage Cleanup #1 – Very Beginning of Spring. Over the winter things get all gross and out of place. This cleanup is really a clean up. Get rid of recycling/donations/trash that somehow landed in the garage and never left! Sweep and dust the cobwebs. Find an area that is bothering you and make a tweak.
  • Yearly Garage Cleanup #2 – Summer. As spring and the playing outdoors season goes into full swing, things get pulled out all crazily in the garage. It becomes more clear a little into the season what needs some help and that is why I do this clean-up a little into the start of summer. This cleanup is mostly about organizing. Find an area that is bothering you and make a tweak.
  • Yearly Garage Cleanup #3 – As Fall Finishes. At the end of the playing outdoors season, it is good to give everything a once over, close things up, and prepare the outdoor toys/stuff you’ll use throughout the winter. This is a combo clean up and organizing. Find an area that is bothering you and make a tweak.

Mark your calendars and make it happen!!! Three times a year, mark this in your calendars for a Saturday morning chore. Or, use my Household Maintenance worksheet to help remind you.

Now, just for fun, I want to show you the updates I made to my garage during my Garage Cleanup #2 – Summer.

My big focus during this cleanup was the shelves.

Maintain an Organized Garage - Open shelves let me see where everything is

I added some uniform new bins to the shelves that make it easier to get stuff out and put it away.

Maintain an Organized Garage - the shelves

The tools. We actually went through this stuff and got rid of a ton of stuff we haven’t used in a while. So freeing!

Maintain an Organized Garage - tools

This is our container for our picnic quilts. I love this canvas bag that zips closed and has cedar inserts. I know that I will be asked where I got these. They are Rubbermaid and I haven’t been able to find them for over a year. I wish they would bring them back!

Maintain an Organized Garage - picnic container and the cedar inserts keep the moths away

Here is how I organize our swimming stuff. There is a towel hook for each of us and a little crate for our swimming shoes. One of the containers on the shelf has some of our swimming toys.

Maintain An Organized Garage - An Organized place for swim stuff

We keep our Lego League stuff on top of the freezer. I’m so proud of my little Lego-loving girls! I don’t think we will dismantle the model from last season until it is time to build a new one.

Maintain an Organized Garage - Lego League stuff on top of the freezer

This corner was a victory! I cleared it out! When we emptied stuff from the shelves, we made room to move the spare flooring and canopy that was stacked right there. I love things OFF the floor in the garage.

Maintain an Organized Garage - we emptied this corner which is a victory

Unfortunately, my husband doesn’t share my love of things off the floor. These pieces of wood represent one of the compromises in my marriage. My husband dismantled the pallet that held our swing set when it was delivered. Oh well, there are worse things than a pile of wood on my garage floor.

Maintain an Organized Garage - every marriage has compromises

The kids were helping us with this effort. They stayed super focused … except for maybe a few times … like when they were jumping rope.

Maintaining an Organized Garage - kids were helpful the whole time

I have no idea where they learn this kind of thing from. (We keep piles of wood and I post pictures like this on my blog. See? Compromises.)

Maintain an Organized Garage - the big kids focused the whole time too

After we swept, we started pulling in the bike stuff.

Maintain an Organized Garage - Putting the Bikes away

I love these bike stands! They are free standing and can move if needed. I pulled these away from the wall enough so that we could still get to the stuff that is hanging.

Maintain an Organized Garage - the bike stands are up

The ping pong table stores right there. We just have to pull the car out of the garage to play. The wheels on the bottom make it easy to move wherever we want to play in the garage.

Maintain an Organized Garage - I love the bicycle stands

The hooks change and morph over time.

Maintain an Organized Garage - 5 bikes and a tricycle

Here it is. This side of my garage in all of its glory. Looking at this makes me smile. I love my crazy, fun family.

Maintain an Organized Garage - This side of the garage sees a lot of action

So that’s how my garage looks right now and I hope to keep it this way for a while! But if not, I’ll fix it up in the fall.

Last summer I showed you my garage as it was then and went into more details. Check that out HERE.

Please, please, please, take care of your garages. Don’t make them shrines of your junk! Make them usable spaces!

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19 thoughts on “My Garage Cleanup: [How to] Maintain an Organized Garage

  1. Mary, your garage is amazing, and it should make you smile! It looks prettier than the inside of my house! Do you actually put your cars in there?

  2. I read a blog a while ago that made a comment that really hit home. The gist of it was, why would you keep your junk sheltered but park our cars (your second most expensive item aside from your home) parked in the driveway? Since then, I’ve been working on an organizing plan and layout…now I just have to do it!

    1. YES!! So true. I removed a ton of junk from our garage a few weeks ago. Need to get back in there and get rid of some more. I park in the street because my sweet hubby has too much junk in there for me to park – including an old truck. Sigh…

    1. I bought the first one used from a friend, then I tried to get matching ones from a bike shop and they said they were discontinued. BUT, Amazon didn’t think they were discontinued. :)

      1. Hey Mary ur garage is amazing. Is it 2 or 3 car? We have a 2 car and barely that, and can only manage to get one car in with the bikes, tools, stuff and scooters. Any suggestions would be welcomed/ appreciated :)

        1. How high are your ceilings. There are lots of great garage storage units that use space above where the garage door opens and also on tops all around. Do you have a covered patio outback or anything where you could store bikes on a bike stand of sorts?

  3. This makes me cry with envy! LOL Our 2-car garage is part gym, part storage and we can barely fit our bikes let alone a single car! I’m convinced my life would be better if we just had a 3-car garage so my “stations” weren’t so jammed together.

    1. Sounds like you are making pretty good use of your space. The professional organizer in me wants to know what the “part storage” is and if it deserves to be in your garage as much as your car? :)

    2. Take everything out of your garage, then put your cars inside where they belong. Envision what you want the rest of your garage to look like. It’s your garage–you control it (don’t let the stuff control you!!). Once you have a plan you love, then put the most necessary items back. Do you really need the rest? Sometimes we just have fun buying stuff, but how often do we really use it all? Only put back what you use and use often.

  4. Ha! Except when your husband is a contractor and fixes vehicles on the side…yeah. My garage would only look like this in my dreams. If I even tried cleaning it out I’d likely sever a limb or two and smell like gasoline for a month.

    1. Yeah … I don’t have a solution for that except I think you get to absolve yourself from worrying about your garage. Put your focus on what you can control. ;)

  5. Hi Mary. We have portable chairs too. We use a tall, round, empty trash can for storing them. We stack the chairs upright inside it, and then it’s very easy to pull them out when needed and put them back inside when finished.

    1. You’ll see in my reveal next week that I found a different solution for them. It is similar to your trash can, but cool, because when we are going to go somewhere, we can just put this right into the back of the car. :)

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