The Saturday after Labour Day is Clean Out Your Garage Day, an unofficial holiday.
Granted, spending Saturday digging through the clutter in your garage probably isn’t your ideal way to spend your hard-earned time off. However, a clean, orderly garage is worth the sacrifice.
Still, when the garage has become a dumping ground for the entire family, just getting started can be the most difficult task. The responsibility of cleaning out the garage often falls to a single family member. This hardly seems fair, since several members of the family are typically responsible for the mess. With that in mind, why not make cleaning out your garage a family project?
Organizing the entire family to tackle what feels like a daunting project can be challenging. However, if the mere thought of doing so makes you break out in a cold sweat, don’t worry. Here are a few tips for making Clean Out Your Garage Day a fun, family project.
Have a Brief Family Meeting
When possible, notify all family members in advance of the plan to clean the garage. If this year’s event doesn’t allow for adequate advance notice, or plans have already been established, select a more agreeable date. Then, set realistic expectations about how long the project will take.
If you’re dreading the project, everyone in your family will, too. Talk enthusiastically about cleaning the garage. Plan a fun day your family will look forward to: play music, order pizza from their favorite pizzeria, create a fun contest, have a celebratory meal when the work is done. Discuss the benefits of cleaning the garage:
- Adequate space to store the family’s bikes and other outdoor goods
- Easier access to favorite items like bikes, bats and balls
- Save time looking for items
- Reduce the hazards of tripping over items or having things fall on someone
- Deter pests and vermin that thrive on clutter
- Help others through the donation of unused items
- A space the whole family will be proud of
Once the date and time are set, and everyone is excited about the project, it’s time to create a workable plan.
Create a Plan of Attack
Imagine four of five people trying to maneuver in a small, cluttered space. If not planned well, it’s a recipe for disaster that will frustrate everyone and kill any enthusiasm there might have been for the project. To create a workable plan to organize your garage:
- Know your priorities. What do you need to store in your garage? Who needs access to it? Whose access should be restricted?
- Create zones. Now that you understand how you’ll use the garage, create areas to group similar items. Possible zones include automotive, gardening, sports equipment, tools, etc. This step is essential to creating an organized space where items can be located easily.
- Be prepared! A push broom, work gloves (for everyone), heavy duty garbage bags and basic tools are among the items you’ll want to have on hand. Will you be installing shelving or using plastic storage bins? Purchase needed items and have them ready. If possible, assemble shelves beforehand.
- Decide how each family member can be most useful. Does one person excel at a certain task, like organizing? Would certain members work better as a team?
Armed with a plan and prepared, with everything you need on hand, you’re already well on your way to a successful Clean Out Your Garage Day. Next, let’s examine a few tips for making your family’s garage cleaning day go as smoothly as possible.
Work as a Team to Avoid Chaos
To keep the project moving, without creating chaos:
o Provide a brief overview of the day, so everyone knows what to expect.
o Relocate everything possible from the garage to the driveway.
o Group similar items together.
o Discard broken items.
o Box unused and duplicate items for donation. Avoid “just-in-case” syndrome. Be ruthless; don’t retain items that haven’t been used for a year or more.
o Clearly define each zone in your garage.
o Install shelving, hooks, etc. to use as much vertical or overhead space as safely possible.
o Return each item to the garage in its newly designated space.
o Arrange for pickup or delivery of donated goods.
o Celebrate a job well done!
The garage is clean and tidy now, but everyone must do their part to keep it that way. Since the entire family helped clean the garage, they’ll be more invested in keeping it organized. Remind everyone how important it is to put each item back in its proper place.
Cleaning the garage isn’t most people’s idea of fun. Yet, by getting the entire family onboard, creating a workable plan and making Clean Out Your Garage Day an organized event for the entire family, it can be a family day everyone will appreciate.