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  • Writer's pictureCathy Borg

Declutter Your Garage in Stages: A Busy Person's Guide (2024 Update)

Updated: Jun 17

organized garage bikes, ladders and strollers hanging on hooks

Does the thought of organizing your garage leave you feeling overwhelmed? You're not alone! But what if you could tackle it in bite-sized pieces, at your own pace? This guide is for the busy person (or the self-proclaimed "slacker") who wants a practical approach to garage organization.

Planning for a Multi-Functional Garage

Wouldn't having a clean and well-organized garage be fantastic? When you feel the urge to start organizing, it can be tempting to start getting rid of things immediately. However, before diving in impulsively, pause for a moment and think about your goal. What is your intended purpose for the garage? Do you plan to use it just for parking your car, or do you see it as a multi-functional space for hobbies or storage? It's also a good idea to involve family members who use the garage.

collage of different types of families

Envision Your Ideal Garage Space: Dream Big (But Be Realistic)

Okay, so maybe you're not made of money. However, a little dreaming can go a long way.  Close your eyes and picture yourself using your garage in the most awesome way possible.

Here are some prompts to spark your imagination:

  • Is it a haven for your favourite hobby?  Imagine yourself tinkering on bicycles, jamming on your guitar, or potting beautiful plants – all in a clutter-free zone.

woman painting a picture in a garage converted to an artist's studio
  • Do you crave a multi-functional space?  Visualize a designated area for parking your car, with clever storage solutions that free up space for a comfy hangout area or a workshop corner.

smiling man in overalls and gloves leaning against tool bench

  • Does organization make your heart sing?  Picture rows of neatly labeled shelves, pegboards brimming with tools, and a floor so clear you could (almost) see your reflection in it.

peg board with organized tools

Remember, don't get discouraged if your dream garage involves things you don't currently own or square footage you don't have (yet!). This is about brainstorming possibilities and getting excited about the potential of your space.

Bonus Tip: Once you have a general idea of your ideal garage, grab a pen and paper (or your favourite note-taking app) and sketch a rough layout. This will help you visualize storage solutions and plan your attack when it's time to tackle the decluttering

Declutter Your Garage in Stages

Here's the secret to success: don't try to do everything at once!  Divide your garage into manageable sections, like the left wall, right wall, and back wall. Focus on one section at a time, following these simple steps:

man organizing shelf in garage

Simple Action Steps to Conquer Each Section:

  1. Identify Your Zone's Purpose.  Is this the zone for tools, gardening equipment, or sports gear?

assortment of sports equipment

  • Even a dedicated 30 minutes can make a big difference. Put on some upbeat music to stay motivated!

  • Move everything off the ground and sort through it as you go.

  • Lay them on your driveway and categorize items as you remove them from the walls.

  • Separate items into "keep," "donate," "sell," and "trash" piles. Be honest with yourself: do you need that rusty rake from ten years ago?

Make sure to follow these steps for each section of your garage. By doing so, you can systematically declutter your garage. 

Reward yourself after finishing every session or phase of the decluttering process to stay motivated. Recognize your small accomplishments!

smiling man looking at his model airplanes in garage workshop

Streamlining Your Garage Storage Solutions

Now you've conquered the clutter. It's time to create a smart storage system. Here are some tips:

Maximize Storage Capacity with Vertical Space

  • Use shelves, cabinets, and wall-mounted organizers to maximize storage capacity.

Store Seasonal items in Overhead Bins

  • Items you use seasonally, like holiday decorations, can be stored higher up on shelves or in overhead bins.

Label Everything for Easy Retrieval

  • Clear labels make it easy to find what you need, and keep your system organized in the long run.

Creative Storage Solutions for Smaller Garages

  • Look into ceiling hooks, pegboards, or even a hanging bike rack to free up floor space. Consider under-shelf baskets for loose items or seasonal tools.

beautifully organized garage. Clean floor.

Congratulations! You've transformed your garage from a cluttered mess to an organized haven. Now you can finally park your car inside, or enjoy your newfound multi-functional space.

Feeling overwhelmed or need some extra muscle? We get it! Brad and Greg, the decluttering experts at In and Out Organizing, are here to help! These professional home organizers serve the Greater Toronto Area. They have the expertise and physical ability to declutter your garage.

P.S. Don't forget to share your before-and-after pictures with us! We'd love to see your garage organization succeed.


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Julie Bestry
Julie Bestry
Jun 17

Great and motivating post! So many people burn themselves out by trying to attack a garage and do it all at once; they underestimate how hot, sticky, and exhausted they'll be, and don't recognize that they'll burn themselves out with labor (and resentment) if they don't stick to your multi-stage plan.

I grew up with a 2-car garage in which the only things kept in it were cars, tires, and gardening/outdoor essentials (like ladders, hoses, gardening implements). Over the years after I left home, it became "the place where mystery recycling went to die" -- if my parents didn't know if it could go into recycling (a broken iron, a dead toaster) it went on the shelf. Recently, my mother…


Linda Samuels
Linda Samuels
Jun 17

As someone who lives in a house without a basement or attic, the garage gets used to store things. It's a space that needs reorganizing and editing periodically. But as you said, doing it all at once is nearly impossible (time and energy-wise.) So doing it in stages is a great suggestion.

Recently, my husband installed free-standing shelf, which did wonders for making a section of the space more organized and accessible. I'd love to see more of that. In time, we'll get there.

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