When storage space in your home is minimal, your belongings often end up stacked and stowed in places like the garage or laundry room. Because of their utilitarian nature, these rooms often become prime places for storage when space has been maximized in other areas.
With spring cleaning upon us, and the great organizational and storage solutions available at your local True Value hardware store, getting your garage and laundry room in order is easy.
Organize Your Garage
The garage is a major part of your home so, if you have a lot of clutter, set aside an entire day to go through everything. The whole family can get involved. Who knows, when you're done, you may actually be able to park your car in there.
Step 1: Decrease the Clutter
If your garage space seems to be shrinking, it's time to purge what you don't need and organize what you do need. Toss anything that's broken and sell anything of value that you no longer use. If you haven't used something in a couple of years or more, get rid of it. While it may be hard to part with some things, take a second to ponder how long they've been taking up space and how little you've used them.
Garage and yard sales are perfect ways to profit from items you no longer use. Remember the motto "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Even better, you can take the proceeds of the sale to buy storage solutions for the stuff you keep.
Step 2: Clean the Garage Floor
If you've de-cluttered correctly, all of your belongings are out of your garage and you can now give the floor and other areas a good scrubbing. Use a wet/dry vacuum to eliminate cobwebs and other debris. Clean the insides of garbage bins and the areas around them with soap and water. Get an oil-enhanced sweeping compound from your local True Value Hardware store to quickly sweep away dust from the floor.
You can get rid of grease and oil spots with cat litter and some cola. Pour the cola directly on the stain then sprinkle with cat litter. The acid in the cola will break up the grease; the cat litter will absorb it. Sweep up with a broom and dustpan and dispose of it. You can also purchase concrete and asphalt cleaner at your local True Value hardware store.
To better remove oil and gas stains, apply a laundry pretreating solution and let set for 5-10 minutes. Add a little laundry detergent and scrub with a stiff brush. Wipe up residue with paper towels.
Next, mop the garage floor with a solution of hot water, bleach and powdered laundry detergent mixed in a bucket. When you're done, rinse any residue down the drain with a garden hose fitted with a spray nozzle. For more intense cleaning, add trisodium phosphate (TSP) to a bucket of hot water and clean the entire floor with a mop.
Use TSP as directed by the manufacturer. TSP can corrode metal and damage finished wood. Be sure to wear protective eyewear, clothing and rubber gloves.
While you're mopping, use a push broom to scrub away any stubborn stains
Step 3: Start Organizing
Reorganize the things you want to keep into different groups. Collect "like" things together. For example, auto parts in one area, tools in another, sports and camping gear in yet another. This will help you find places for everything when it's time to store them. It will also separate your garage into useable areas. Dividing your garage into sections will give you the option to set up a workshop or hobby area and still have room for a car and organized storage.
As you organize, keep your eye out for potential safety hazards. Store or dispose of chemicals such as pesticides and herbicides properly. If you have young children, purchase a lockable storage cabinet for all dangerous items such as power tools, paints, chemicals and solvents.
Step 4: Stow It, Hang It and Shelve It
You may find that you don't need to get rid of belongings; you simply need to find adequate ways and places to store them.
Garages have more wall space than floor space, so look for wall solutions. Utility cabinets provide great storage and are durable enough to withstand the wear and tear of a garage setting. They are ideal for storing paint cans, spray bottles, buckets, gardening supplies, oil and gas cans, car supplies and more. Inside utility cabinets you can micro-organize as well. Use plastic bins to store smaller items and label them so that you can locate items when needed. Plastic storage containers are durable and highly adaptable for whatever purpose you need them. They're also stackable and can have airtight lids so that things stay dry and dust-free for years.
The ceiling can also be made into a convenient storage area. If you have exposed rafters, purchase a sheet of plywood that fits the dimensions of the space and create a loft area to store camping gear, Christmas decorations and other items you need to keep but are too bulky or used too infrequently to store anywhere else.
Hanging items from hooks is another good way to eliminate clutter. Shop your local True Value Hardware store for a variety of hooks and hangers. Simply secure them to wall studs or ceiling rafters. You can hang items such as luggage, gardening tools, ladders, bicycles, toys, etc. Hooks are easier to install if you first drill a hole that's slightly smaller than the hook's screw. When adding hooks to concrete walls, drill holes, insert plastic wall anchors then screw in the hooks.
Installing shelves or cabinets on the walls of the garage are also excellent ways to keep items out of the way but within easy reach when needed.
When using a drill always wear protective eyewear.
Organize Your Laundry Room
Laundry rooms usually get the least amount of attention when it comes to organization – especially if they're in the basement. Here are a few ways to make your laundry room an efficient storage area as well as a place to wash clothes.
Step 1: Install Shelves and/or Cabinets
Shelves and cabinets add storage space and help control clutter. They can also give you room for folding clothes and organizing detergent, fabric softener and other laundry supplies.
Keep your shelves organized by using storage containers for stowing away items and keeping them clean and dust-free. With storage containers, you can keep similar items on the same shelf. This will make finding everything, from holiday decorations to extra blankets, easier. Keep a small container around for items lost in the washer/dryer, such as coins, buttons, extra socks, etc.
A small trash bin for lint and used dryer sheets is great next to the washer and dryer.
Step 2: Use Laundry Hampers or Sorters
It may go without saying but the more organized your dirty laundry is, the easier it will be to clean it. A hamper or basket will keep your dirty laundry neatly contained and easier to handle before you wash. A sorter may also be helpful when organizing dirty laundry into separate loads.
Step 3: Get a Clothes Rack
A drying rack next to the washer gives you the perfect place to hang clothes as they come out of the washer, especially delicates. It allows you to lie clothes flat to dry, gives you a place to hang garments and keeps you from scattering wet clothes all around your laundry room.
Step 4: Use a Folding Table
A folding table or rollaway cart is a great resource for folding clothes as they come out of the dryer. It's there for you when you need it and easy to put away when you don't, keeping your laundry room organized when it's not laundry day.
That's it! You're done. Now your garage and laundry room are organized and ready to more efficiently serve their purposes.