Spring cleaning starts in the garage

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5 min read

Springtime is upon us, and you know what the means? Time to clean out the garage (no excuses this year). Of all the places that we hoard our things, the garage seems to be a bottomless pit for our lives. Even after utilizing our attics, basements, and built-in storage for toys, gadgets, and accessories galore, getting into the headspace to make garage space is, well, hard.

While we can’t all be a declutter consultant with a Netflix show dedicated to helping people learn minimalist approaches, if there’s anything we’ve learned from spending an (embarrassing amount of) time learning the KonMari method, it’s that decluttering is two-fold: 1. Discarding, and 2. Deciding where to organize things. But what should you discard, and how do you decide what to keep? We’ll help guide you.

the process when discarding

  1. Plan ahead for this task. If you’re selling discarded items online or through an app, have that already set up. If you’re using a specialized service like junk removal, have that already arranged and ready to go. If you have friends and/or family stopping by to pick up specific items, have a specific time slot set aside for their arrival.
  2. Ask yourself questions. Does this make me feel good? Have I used it in the past two–three years? If it’s something more substantial—like a car or a piece of equipment—ask yourself if you see monetary value in it. From there, you can make a decision to discard or keep.
  3. Create organizable “buckets” or boxes for where discardable items will go: trash, recycle, donate, and reorganize. Another person’s trash (or in this case, recyclables and donations) may be someone else’s treasure.
  4. Congrats, you’re organized. Take your trash, recycle, and donation boxes to their respective areas, and reorganize what you’re keeping. Might we suggest a tag printer?

Now, you know how to discard, so let’s chat through what you should discard.

paint.

Not only can this pose a health hazard over time, old paint cans—whether empty or not—take up a lot of space. While saving a can or so for touch-ups is practical, you don’t need every can of paint from that time it took you three months to decide on the perfect hue of “sage” for the kitchen… Heads up: paint is recyclable, so don’t chuck those cans in the garbage!

old books and magazines

Be realistic. If you’ve had a book or magazine for a while and haven’t read it, chances are you’re not going to. Books and magazines are great to donate to your local library and it can feel empowering to be putting new titles in someone else’s hands.

gifts

We collect gifts over time because we feel bad about getting rid of them. Or we promise ourselves we’ll eventually use it, or we put it in the garage and hope to forget about promising ourselves to use it. Regardless of your excuse, get rid of the gift. As the saying goes, “It’s the thought that counts.” The memory you have of receiving the gift is a gift in and of itself.

broken or unused appliances

Remember those antennas that attached to the back of a TV box, or when you somehow collected appliances as you evolved from toaster to convection oven to airfryer? (Innovation happens fast!) Well, those appliances are sitting around, collecting dust. And more importantly, space. Discard, discard, discard.

old cars

Maybe you’re reading this article at the exact time you started looking at your car value (we call that divine timing). Maybe your garage holds old cars that haven’t left said garage in years. Maybe your garage would be extremely organized…if only there wasn’t a car in there. Now may be a great time to get rid of what may be the biggest piece of clutter (and metal) throughout your entire home, while putting some extra cash in your hand. Old cars that you will never drive could equal cash for new(er) cars that you want to drive. You might be surprised how much companies are willing to pay for even the oldest, most broken down car—they might even pick it up for free.

bottom line

Springtime decluttering is essential. Remove what’s not making you happy, and strategize smart ways to get rid of the things you no longer need. If discarding something can give you extra cash, even better (like that big chunk of metal rusting away in your garage).

Minimalism saves the day, amirite?! (Well, at least until next year.)

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