How to declutter a garage – 7 expert tips to create a clear and coherent space

Decluttering may be a chore, but breaking it up into these simple steps will make it a lasting success

(Image credit: Press Loft)

A decluttered garage can be instrumental in making stored items easier to locate, utilizing the space to its full potential, and enhancing the functionality of the rest of your home. 

Although it's easy to let an array of miscellaneous items that have no real place in your home wind up crammed into your garage, it's important to organize your garage by combing through all the items in this space to find what does not belong and needs to be decluttered.

Whatever the purpose of your garage is, these expert tips will help you achieve a calm and decluttered space. 

How to declutter a garage

To declutter a garage, there are four main stages recommended by our experts: planning and preparing, sorting and categorizing, cleaning and repairing, and organizing and storing items. 

Break this task up according to the categories to conserve your energy and give yourself time to consider the best way to complete the next stage.

1. Set goals and schedule time

Bifold garage

(Image credit: Press Loft)

'Before diving into decluttering, create a plan of action,' advises Angela Rubin, owner of Hellamaid. 'Decide what you want to achieve with your garage, whether it's more of a storage space, a workshop, or a parking area. Having a clear vision will guide your decluttering efforts.'

Next, it's important to plan a time management schedule for decluttering your garage. Pick a day or weekend where you have enough time and energy to commit to this task since attempting it over multiple weekends may result in a build-up of mess between sessions, and will make it more difficult to recall where in your decluttering process you left off. 

Due to the vast amount of items our garages often contain, this will likely be a chore
you need to commit a large amount of time to, similar to decluttering your home. To make the task more manageable, set yourself 15-minute long tasks and take a break in between each one.

2. Gather supplies

'Gather the necessary supplies such as trash bags, boxes, bins, labelling materials, and cleaning products. Having everything you need on hand will make the process more efficient,' recommends Muffetta Krueger, founder of Muffetta's Domestic Assistants..

You can find a Label Maker Machine at Amazon.

Muffetta Krueger
Muffetta Krueger

Muffetta Krueger is a cleaning expert and founder of Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants with over 16 years of operational management experience in the service industry. Muffetta’s Domestic Assistants provides housekeepers, house cleaners and maids, and is based in New York.

3. Empty the garage

garage and gate with roses in front yard

(Image credit: Michael Derrig/Landscape Details)

'Pull everything out of your cluttered garage so you can see what needs to be put away,' says home service expert and founder of A1 Garage Door Service, Tommy Mellow. 'Clear a space off the floor to use as a holding area. If you really don't have room in your garage, raise the door and use the alley, driveway, or yard as a temporary holding space. Take everything off your shelves, out of your workbench drawers, or out of your cabinets, and lay it all out.'

Mohammad Ahmed, interior designer and founder of The Home Guidance Blog advises, 'This allows you to see the space you have and also forces you to evaluate each item before putting it back,' helping you with the next stage.

Mohammad Ahmed
Mohammad Ahmed

Mohammad Ahmed is an Interior Designer and Home Expert. He did his bachelors degree in Interior Designing at the University of Minnesota in 2013 and since then has worked as an interior designer in various companies, designing functional and beautiful spaces for clients.  In addition to his interior and exterior design skills, Mohammad is also Home expert with a talent for creating bespoke furniture and other accessories. He has been featured in popular publications such as Forbes, Yahoo, Realtor, Real Homes, Bustle, and Livingetc for his exceptional design tips.

4. Sort items into categories and declutter

Parma Garage

(Image credit: Press Loft)

Categorizing items is a foundational step in decluttering your garage.

Angela Rubin suggests, 'Begin by sorting items into categories, such as tools, sports equipment, gardening supplies, and seasonal decorations. This step helps you assess the volume of items in each category and plan for appropriate storage

Tommy Mellow adds, 'If you cut through the mess in smaller chunks, you'll be able to see your progress more easily and feel better. Separate the things in your garage into smaller groups so you can clean it out section by section.' 

Begin with the 'keep' category; cluster or label items with a color-coded sticker that you use regularly or have a specific plan for. If you haven't used something in years, it might be time to reevaluate its importance.

Next, decide what to sell or donate. These will be items that are in good condition but no longer not serve a purpose for you. Items in good condition that have resale value can be sold online or through garage sales.

Lastly, decide on things to get rid of in your garage. Review which items are broken or hazardous and should be properly disposed of. Certain broken items you may want to first consider fixing.

5. Clean and repair

Janille Mangat, cleaning specialist at VMAP Cleaning Services comments, 'With your garage emptied, seize the opportunity to clean the space. Sweep, dust, and wash the floors and walls. Rid the area of cobwebs and grime.

'While cleaning, check for any necessary repairs. Look for cracks, leaks, or damage that need fixing before organizing.'

Janille Mangat

Janille Mangat has been working as a cleaning specialist at VMAP services for more than 2 years and has extensive experience with residential and cleaning services.

6. Create zones

Garage shelves

(Image credit: Alamy)

Once you have categorized your items and cleared some space, this should allow you to assess how much space you need for each group of items, which you should then designate into zones.

'Divide your garage into zones based on usage. For example, designate a zone for gardening tools, another for sports equipment, holiday decorations and one for automotive supplies. This will make it easier to find what you need,' advises cleaning expert, Muffeta Krueger.

7. Organize what you're keeping

Stackable box

(Image credit: Press Loft)

Once you've decluttered your garage, it's time to organize what you're keeping. This will help you to keep your garage tidy and make it easy to find what you need when you need it. To do this, it's best to invest in storage solutions to maximize the space you have, especially if you are organizing a garage with too much stuff.

Embrace storage bins and cabinets to easily stack and arrange items. You may want to use clear storage and label them to make items easier to identify and access. On the other hand, cabinets with doors are excellent for hiding clutter and keeping your garage looking tidy. 

Janille Mangat recommends, 'Store frequently used items at eye level for convenience. Items like seasonal decorations or heavy equipment can go on higher shelves.'

Adjustable garage shelves provide flexibility for different-sized items. Be sure to invest in sturdy shelving units that can withstand the weight of your items. 

Rich Mullins, interior design expert at H2O Plumbing says, 'Most homeowners often underutilize the vertical space in their garage. The vertical space in your garage holds immense potential for decluttering.

'Install ceiling-mounted racks or shelves for items that are used seasonally or less frequently. This includes holiday decorations, camping gear, or large bins. These overhead storage solutions free up valuable floor space and keep your garage uncluttered. 

'Consider wall-mounted storage systems that include hooks, shelves, and pegboards. These can hold tools, bicycles, and other frequently used items. Customize the setup to suit your needs and keep your garage organized.'

Wall-mounted hooks and pegboards are also versatile options for hanging tools, sports equipment, and gardening tools, keeping these frequently used items within
easy reach.


What to do with items decluttered from a garage?

'If you have many items to part with, consider hosting a garage sale to clear out what you no longer need while making a little extra money,' advises Janille Mangat, cleaning specialist at VMAP Cleaning Services. You can also donate items that are in good condition.

This is an especially good idea if your are decluttering or organizing your garage to downsize.

A well-organized garage enhances a home's functionality and overall appeal. Implementing these decluttering strategies can optimize the versatility that is your garage space, making life easier. 

Lola Houlton
News writer

Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past six years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including practical household advice, recipe articles, and product reviews, working closely with experts in their fields to cover everything from heating to home organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.