You may think that to clean up your garage, all you need to do is throw away the old junk or sell it in a garage sale. There’s more to properly cleaning it so that it adds value to your home, makes it an extra room with organized storage and a stress-free zone.
When you come home at the end of a day at work, you don’t want to be placing your car in a messy, dusty and chaotically, jam-packed extra storage area. At least, I don’t, and I’m sure there are others like me!
We decided to do a bit of spring-cleaning on ours, and here are our tips, based on our experience and learning, on how to clean up your garage:
Protect the cement pad
Salt that drips from your car in the winter will eventually eat into the cement pad, pitting it and making it look unsightly. It also weakens it making it more prone to cracks. Oil drips are also a pain as they are very difficult to remove when they have soaked into the concrete.
While it may take a weekend of hard work, sealing it with concrete paint and a special clear sealer will protect it for years to come and make clean-up after a snowy day or oil/fluid leaks much easier.
- Clear the floor of all things, shelving units… everything!
- Sweep the floor and remove as much dust and other particles as possible.
- Use either a power washer, or a regular hose with a wide sweep broom to push out all excess dust and dirt from the floor.
- Once the floor is dry, use a bonding primer for concrete/masonry to create the first layer. Let it dry according to package directions.
- Use a concrete/masonry paint (ask to have anti-slip paint additive included to reduce the slippery texture) to lay down the first layer. We did this by hand with a paint brush so that we could get the paint into any crevices and holes. Let it dry and do a second layer. You may want to use a piece of cardboard under your knees to reduce discomfort from the gritty first paint layer.
- Once it has completely dried, seal the paint with a sealer – there are some that have the “wet-look” and make it super simple to clean off any dirt and dust with just a rag and soapy water.
Paint the walls
Use masonry paint on the cement blocks for a clean look. Cover up the gray and sometimes stained cement block with a clean white paint that makes it easy to spot cobwebs and other dust that you can sweep off with a broom. For walls that are drywalled, use a mildew resistant white paint.
Think about storage
The former owners of our home did a jimmy-job with mismatched wood pieces and screws to create shelving that was completely impractical. We couldn’t manipulate it easily to store our winter/summer tires.
Like with home furniture, we measured out the space for sturdy metal shelving units that could be adjusted – this made it super easy to store our tires, while also giving us some extra room for other items. The metal shelving unit also looks sleek against the white wall.
Pegboards and other storage tools are your best friend
Keep everything easily accessible by adding hooks and other storage options for gardening tools, rakes, shovels etc. We found cool hooks for our recycling bins that kept them close to the wall and hanging vertically. This gave us extra space on the floor so that we could walk around the car to get to the side door.
Opt for a smaller central vacuum unit
Central vacuum systems are often placed in the garage. If you don’t need one that’s meant for a 8,000 sq. ft home, then trade it in for a new, small and quiet unit that won’t take up too much space. We’re in the process of looking to get ours replaced with a unit that won’t impede traffic from the car to the back door.
What does it cost?
It’s a small investment to make your garage look fantastic – when it comes to both materials and time. We spent approximately $500 on paint and sealers, the shelving unit and storage strip unit. Luckily, we got the peg-board second hand for free. The central vacuum is a separate expense.
Time-wise, it was about four days work between cleaning it all out, painting, putting together the shelving units and organizing it all.
Was it worth it? Totally!
What are your tips to clean up a messy, disorganized garage?