Labor Day is great reminder that it's time to get that age old ritual of FALL CLEANING done before the cold winter sets in! Most people start their FALL CLEANING inside the home, I start it in the garage. There is a method to my madness, because dirty garages blow dust and dirt into a freshly cleaned home!
This is a laborious task, but do it! Take everything and I mean EVERYTHING out of your garage and put it in the driveway. Anything that you have not used in the last 2 years is time to give away. I usually put a "FREE STUFF" sign (or have a garage sale) on my corner and everything walks away!
This year at the house wares show I found great garage organizers that are affordable. Most of these you can buy online at Sears!
Step #2 Dumpster or Trash can?
If you think I am kidding – think again! We all know someone who needs a dumpster pulled up to their home! If you have shelving in your garage this is best place to start off your cleaning adventure. Organize your shelving in a user friendly manner. You still need car doors to open and the ability to lug your groceries in without bumping into everything.
Begin by sorting through everything on your shelves and categorize them into piles: kids stuff, toys, tools, miscellaneous, etc. Don't try to organize things on the shelf! This will only cause confusion and it will take more time.
After you have removed items from the shelves, decide what to toss BEFORE putting it back on the shelf. When determining whether or not to keep something ask yourself these three simple questions:
1. Do I need this?
2. When is the last time I used it? (If more than 2 years, chances are you can live without it!)
3. Is it taking up space I don't have?
Step #3 Start at the Top
High dust, mid dust, then low dust. This is a systematic approach to dusting that will expedite the whole process (learn more about this tip and other great tips in Speed Cleaning 101)
You may have a lot of dust, cobwebs, and dirt build up on your shelves so DO NOT start with anything wet. Making mud is not progressive! I recommend dusting all of your shelves with a Swiffer extension handle duster. Get the dust off first! Have a vacuum close by to suck up the dust and dirt and by all means wear a mask! You really don't want to breathe all those allergens. Once you've got all the dirt and debris up, you are going to want to wipe down all the surfaces. I suggest using paper towels first with water only for really neglected shelving. Then use wipes or an all purpose cleaner to wash all of the shelves. For any wood or porous shelving use a damp to wet cloth with a small amount of dish soap.
Step #4 Move Things on the Floor
I always start this step by moving any big appliance that sits on the floor out of my garage. Get them completely out of your way. This will make for a faster and more efficient clean. Wipe ANYTHING and EVERYTHING down. From refrigerators to tool boxes, there should be no dust or dirt on any of it. This is not as time consuming as it sounds. Just give everything a quick wipe down while it's in your driveway. You don't want to bring dirty things back into your clean garage, do you?! Then sweep, vacuum and clean your garage floor. My husband uses a pressure washer and a leaf blower to get the dust out. I think he just likes using the power tools to do the job. He feels like RAMBO and TIM ALLEN at the same time.
Step #5 Preventive Cleaning works best.
Once the garage is clean, try to make a habit of giving it a quick vacuum and wipe down every few months. You will find your house will stay cleaner, and you won't have the big mess every Spring!