How to Declutter a Messy Garage

If your garage is a room you avoid at all costs, then this article on how to declutter a messy garage is just what you need. When working to create a home you love, every room should be fair game.

Get these tips on how to declutter and make this another area that works for you and your family.

Decluttering a garage may not be top on your to-do list but if you look at this as an extension of your home rather than a connected storage unit you might change your mind. How to declutter a messy garage so you can turn it into a room you will actually use. Garage decluttering guide. How to fix a messy garage. Garage decluttering 101 #garage #decluttergarage #organizegarage #cleangarage #declutterinminutes

Today we are going to tackle the most underutilized area in our homes and learn how to declutter a messy garage the no-stress easy way!

When it comes to decluttering and organizing a space in your home, the last room on your list might just be the garage.

This is usually the catch-all of random stuff, junk, and clutter that just about every home has. From toys to tools, pet supplies to gardening equipment, you can usually find a myriad of boxes and bags here.

a messy garage that needs decluttering

However, if you can declutter and organize this room you can instead set up a vital part of your home. A garage does not need to be used to keep your car parked inside, however that is a great option if you choose to do that.

Look at your garage as an extension of your home.

  • Does your husband wish he had a woodworking shop? The garage might be a great place for that!
  • Do you need a playroom for your kids? Add a comfortable play rug and some toy organizing shelves, and you now have a playroom!
  • Looking for an extension of your kitchen for entertaining? A little paint, practical flooring, a few tables with some lighting and you are all set!

Remember there are no rules when it comes to setting up your home. If you need the space and you are not utilizing your garage other than an attached storage unit I would consider this fair game for sure.

Take a look at the space you have and how you are using it before you get out the supplies to start a major remodel.

It’s true a garage is very convenient for storing boxes, decorations, and other random things that you are just not using quite as often as you used to.

Even if that is the case you will still want to declutter what is there and set up a system for keeping things organized and out of the way.

But, more on the organizing part later, today we are going to tackle the decluttering part. A full purge, sort, and decluttering guide that will take this space in your home and turn it into a valuable part for your family and yourself.

How to declutter a messy garage

Ahhh, decluttering. The buzzword of our generation.

A word that does not bring with it warm and fuzzy feelings, I know, but the results do, and for that reason, it has become one of my favorite words of all time. Simply because of the promise it holds if you do it right. 

What do I mean by “doing it right”?

Keeping it from freaking you out and overwhelming you to the point that you throw up your hands and completely give up.

Yes, I have totally been there and done that more times than I can count.

Now I prefer to take a big project and break it down into much easier steps. That is the secret, after all, and the reason why you may be here.

Step #1. Dress the Part

This is a step that is usually gets skipped by most people and I feel it’s one of the top tips I can give to new declutters. When you dress the part of the project that’s ahead it does a mental shift in your mind telling you that you mean business.

Find yourself a working pair of jeans, a t-shirt or sweatshirt, and a good pair of working shoes.

Arm yourself with headphones or a radio. Call this your decluttering uniform, and once you put this on; anytime you put this on, know that you mean business and it’s time to get serious.

Step #3. Grab Your Decluttering Kit

Make sure you have a collection of all the supplies that you will need for the project ahead. This also is a very important step and one that gets skipped over as well.

By having all the tools that you need at hand you will not have to worry about getting distracted.

Decluttering Kit Tools

  • Boxes
  • Bags
  • Markers
  • Bins
  • Baskets
  • Tape
  • Label maker
  • Rubber bands, paper clips, zip ties, baggies

Read how to set up a decluttering kit

Step #3. Make Sure You Have Enough Time

Especially in the beginning, you want to make sure you have a block of time that will allow you to make progress so that the momentum keeps going.

I would say if you are just starting out to have at least one hour if not two blocked off every week.

Knowing you have enough time to make a dent in your garage decluttering project will help you stay motivated to keep going. So, how do you do this? Always start with your schedule or family calendar if that is what you use to map out your week ahead.

Skim over your days to see where you have a slot of one hour or two if your project is a big one. Make a note now in red ink when you plan to work on decluttering your garage. The red ink is there to remind you of the importance of this job.

a date circled in red on a calendar

Step #4. Be Sure You Do the 3 Core Steps!

If you’re not sure what this is you can read more on it here.

The 3 core steps are basically removing the easy before you tackle the hard.

First, you want to remove any trash. Arm yourself with a bag and walk the space looking for anything that can be thrown away right now.

Next, you want to remove any recyclables. Again, arm yourself with a bag and walk the space looking for anything that can be recycled right now.

Third, you want to gather up and put away any items that belong somewhere else. Arm yourself with a sturdy box or laundry basket a take another walk around the garage. You are looking for things that simply need to be put away.

This could be clothing, dishes, toys, pet supplies, tools, Etc. Anything that already has a home in another space of your house this is what I want you to gather up and put away.

Do these three core steps as many times as you need to without actually going into boxes or bags doing so. The results of this step? You just might find that the clutter you first thought you have to deal with is not just a fraction of the size.

Step #5. Set Up a Sorting Area in the Garage

Before you actually begin decluttering it is best to have a designated sorting area set up and ready to go.

To do this you will need to do a bit of rearranging to free up an area where you can put boxes, totes, bins, or bags. Since this project is probably going to take some time to get through you will want to use labels that are big bold and easy to read.

  • Keep
  • Toss
  • Donate
  • Giveaway

When choosing what to use in your sorting area, I suggest using big sturdy boxes for each of these sections. Actually the bigger the better.

You can find large boxes at your local hardware store. Ask for appliance boxes, even if they are broken down. Once home, you can then tape them back together and put them in your sorting section.

Step #6. Start Sorting

Pick a side of the garage and work your way clockwise going around the room through each box, bag, or pile as you do.

Take things over to your sorting area and toss them into the box or container where they best fit. If you fill up your main sorting box you will have to stop and either make a run to the dump, the donation center or grab another container so you can keep going.

a couple sorting through the clutter in a messy garage

This part of the project will take some time, and I encourage you not to do it all at once. By breaking this down into bite-size pieces say a half-hour here or an hour there you will be able to keep up with this project without getting burnt out.

Remember it’s not all or nothing, any progress you make is still further along than you were when you first started. Even if this job takes you a few months, as long as you keep at it, you will get your end result eventually.

What should I do with hazardous items I need to get rid of? 

This is a big question and one that should be addressed correctly. You can find the information you need with the EPA where they talk about Hazardous Household Waste. This article should guide you in the best and safest way to dispose of anything you have a question on.

What about things I want to keep but need out of the way?

This is a great question and a common one. If you have tools, for example, that are going to stay in this space but you are not quite sure WHERE they will be kept, I suggest a dedicated box for those things.

A tool-box if you will that you can label and set off to the side until you are ready to do the organizing part of this project.

A few examples of individual keep boxes are:

  • Tools
  • Lawn Care
  • Gardening
  • Pets
  • Auto Care
  • Toys
  • Seasonal

Label any keep boxes clearly and stack them off to the side until you are ready for them.

Step #7. Do a Clean and Update

Once you have finished removing the clutter, this is the perfect time to do a little bit of cleaning and updating if needed.

Sweep the walls and ceilings removing any cobwebs you see, change any bulbs that are burnt out, do any paint touch-ups that need to be done, clean the windows, wipe down the door, do a sweep out of the floor.

Trust me on this it’s easier to clean when the majority of the clutter in the space is gone. Take advantage of the emptiness and do a quick clean up.

This step should not take you longer than an hour or so. That means you do not have to go crazy town.

Remember, this is not your kitchen and that means that good enough is usually all you need to do unless you plan on turning this room into an extension of your home.

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When decluttering your garage, you want to focus on just one step at a time. This room is one of those areas where many different things take place. The more stuff you can remove that doesn’t belong, the better you will be able to organize this underutilized area in your home.

It’s true decluttering a messy garage may not be on our top priority lists but once you get this project done you may find it to now be an important extension of your home.

More Decluttering Resources:


  1. Tracy,
    You are amazing! Thank you for all of your amazing info, I listen to you, watch you and read your advice and tools almost everyday. You are such a blessing.

    Thank you,

    Margaret Moshopoulos

  2. Fall is here. The catch all garage we have been ignoring until cooler weather is all but screaming to be organized and cleaned out! Lol. Tracy, thank you for this post, such a blessing and reminder it can be done with a little planning and the right tools.

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