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Sanitizing Cluttered Garages and Sheds

March 4, 2024

Sanitizing Cluttered Garages and Sheds

Assess the Situation

Before starting to clean and organize your cluttered garage or shed, it’s important to take stock of everything that’s currently in the space.

  • Walk through the garage or shed and make a list of all the items. Categorize them into groups like outdoor tools and equipment, household items that have migrated to the space over time, automotive supplies, seasonal decorations, etc.

  • Also note any items that are broken, unusable or ready to be donated or discarded.

Getting a full picture of what you’re working with will make it easier to come up with a plan to sort, organize and declutter the space.

Establish Zones

Once you know everything that’s in your garage or shed, think about setting up designated zones or areas to group similar items together.

  • For a garage, you may want zones for yard tools, automotive supplies, household storage, sports equipment, etc.

  • In a shed, zones might include gardening tools and supplies, outdoor furniture and cushions, seasonal decorations and more.

Having visually defined zones makes it easier to keep things in their proper places going forward.

Consider using floor markings, shelving units, cabinets, bins or other organizers to delineate the zones.

Sort and Purge Items

Now comes the time-consuming task of going through every single item, deciding what to keep and discarding or donating what you no longer need.

  • Be ruthless – if you haven’t used it in years, it’s broken or you have multiples, it’s unlikely you need to keep it.

  • Check all consumables and discard anything that’s expired, dried out or showing signs of damage.

  • For items you’re keeping, thoroughly clean them to start fresh.

  • Donate gently used items that still have life in them. Many charities offer pickup services.

Take your time and work methodically through each zone until everything has been sorted.

Organize and Store

Once the purge is complete, it’s time to put things in their places.

  • Invest in storage systems like shelves, bins, cabinets and wall hooks to keep like items together and make the best use of space.

  • For garages, maximize wall space by hanging tools and frequently used items so they’re not taking up floor area.

  • Label bins and storage containers so you know what’s inside at a glance.

  • Keep surfaces clear of clutter – designate a few bins for items that don’t have a set place.

  • Position items you use most often in easy reach.

Think through where you access certain items most frequently and optimize the layout accordingly.

Maintain the System

The hard work doesn’t stop once you’ve organized your garage or shed. You’ll need to make maintenance a regular habit.

  • Put items back in their designated spots after using them so they don’t end up strewn about.

  • Do occasional sweeps to purge items you missed the first time or haven’t used since the initial organizing. Donate or discard them.

  • Clean surfaces and floors regularly to prevent dust and dirt buildup.

  • Check for damage like water leaks, insect infestations or other deterioration that needs to be addressed.

  • Re-organize if needed – storage needs change over time.

Staying on top of maintenance will ensure your clean, clutter-free garage or shed doesn’t descend back into chaos.


With some time, elbow grease and commitment, you can transform the cluttered, dilapidated garage or shed of your nightmares into a clean, neatly organized oasis. Just take it step-by-step – assess, establish zones, sort, organize, maintain. The sense of accomplishment will be worth the effort!

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