See how we turned our cluttered disaster of a garage into a clean and organized space on a small budget. No remodeling, no repainting, just cleaning and adding storage solutions.
I have spent almost a month working on cleaning up my garage, and it has been a long month. Our house was built in the seventies, and I don’t think the floor has ever been cleaned in the fifty plus years of existence. Pair that with all the piled-up stuff from the renovations we’ve been doing for the last two years and you get one big giant mess.
I was finally so fed up with the clutter in the garage that I blocked off a whole month so I could tackle it head-on. No big fancy makeover, no updating, just cleaning and organizing. Back to the basics. Yesterday I was standing in the middle of my clean garage and barely recognized it. Especially when I looked back on the “before” photos.
Ready for some ridiculously satisfying before and afters? Here’s everything I did to clean and organize my garage and how I plan to keep it this way, once and for all.
Our Garage Before The Cleanup Project
Well, here we go, jumping right into the ugly. And when I say ugly, I mean really ugly. Like celebrity divorced couple defamation case kind of trainwreck ugly. (You know…)
We’ve been renovating our house one room at a time for the last two years, and all the leftovers, donations, things to sell on Marketplace, and random homeless items ended up here.
As an Organizer, this is like the most embarrassing thing to share publicly. But I’m all about real-life organizing, and I can’t help you achieve your own clutter goals without showing you the whole process.
My goal for this project was to create zones in the garage for each specific function I needed. You can read more about my goals and plans in this post, but fast forward to now, I blew almost all of them out of the water and rocked my plan even better than expected.
Here’s How The Garage Looks Now
Wowza, can you believe this is the same garage? I know it is, but sometimes I am still shocked beyond belief. The amount of space [for activities] is unreal compared to how it looked before.
Just the quantity of things we got rid of made such a difference, which allowed me to use smart storage solutions on the walls. If I had kept everything I had in there, I wouldn’t have been able to achieve this look.
Yes, you can organize all your stuff, and yes, it can still be functional. But the more stuff you keep, the less tidy it’s going to look, no matter how fancy your storage solutions are.
What We Did To Clean Up The Garage
Declutter & Sell/Donate Items
I boxed up anything that is small and worthy of donation and took them to our local center. Larger things, more valuable items, and furniture were posted on Facebook Marketplace for sale. If the items weren’t sold within a week, I removed the listing and donated them. I didn’t want to hold onto them any longer than a week because they were just taking up space.
Wall-Mounted Rail Systems
Before I could really get into the cleaning and organizing, I had to get some stuff off the floor. I really wanted to take everything out of the garage and start fresh, but it rained all week. So instead, I went ahead and installed rail systems to get as much off the floor as I could.
By using these rail systems, I was able to store all the big lawn equipment and outdoor entertaining supplies without taking up floor space. And the systems come with a variety of hooks so it was fun to play around with the configurations.
Plastic Ventilated Shelving With Clear Totes
To contain all the smaller things we needed to keep in the garage, we decided to store them in matching clear tote bins. I chose affordable options from Walmart for most of the bins, but I did splurge on a few gasket-lined lids for wildlife seed and fabrics.
And to make every bin accessible, we added affordable shelving to stack the bins individually. This was really helpful since we just had them stacked on top of each other before.
Cricut & QR Code Labels
So we know exactly what’s inside the bins, we added a two-step system for labeling and categorizing. Each container is labeled with Cricut vinyl, as well as QR code labels so we can easily find out every single item inside without taking the lid off and pushing things around. (More about those labels here)
Cleaning The Floors
I will admit that I had unrealistic expectations when I was cleaning the garage floors. I thought I could make them look brand new, but that didn’t happen. I was able to get the thick layer of old oil off the floors, and they “feel” clean on my bare feet, so I still count it as a win. I cleaned them with a power scrubber and a pressure washer using a degreaser solution.
The garage is semi-air conditioned, so heat wasn’t really a problem inside. But privacy was. Anyone could just roll right up into the driveway, see all my tools on display through the windows, and break the glass to come right in and help themselves. We added reflective tint to the garage door windows and blinds to the side windows to reduce the likelihood of theft.
Rolling Island Workspace
I had been using my old craft tables for woodworking, but they were large and wobbly. I swapped them out for the rolling island I had in my kitchen, and it has been so perfect!
My miter saw fits on top perfectly, the drawers and shelves hold woodworking supplies, and the island has wheels so I can roll it outside to cut lumber so sawdust doesn’t get all over the garage.
Additional Tool Storage
I added pegboards and pull-out drawers on shelves in my workspace to give myself more space for tool storage. I really like having my most-used tools out on a pegboard, but I don’t want everything out on display because that feels cluttered to me.
Having these shelves also allows me to keep all my paint supplies, repair equipment, PPE, and even household backstock stored safely in containers.
See The Whole Garage Cleanup Process On Instagram
I documented everything I did during this entire project in my Instagram Stories, and you can watch the cleanup from start to finish in the two Garage highlight bubbles on my Instagram page @lelaburris. While you’re there, you can also watch Reels of all kinds of helpful garage organization tips. And if you’re more into TikTok, you can find similar videos there too @lelaburris