How to clean a garage?

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fortfun
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How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm

I tried watching Marie Kondo. Didn't help... My garage is full of 25 years worth of crap. Don't get me wrong, we park both our cars in the garage but I'm having such a difficult time getting rid of some of the stuff that I should throw out. Any tips? Every year, I waste so much time shifting stuff around. I should just haul it all to the dump. Major categories of stuff:

Yard stuff. Shovels, rakes, fertilizer, seeds, bulbs, gloves, clippers, hedge trimmers, pruners, etc.
Lumber: Wood scraps, OSB, etc. (struggle with this as I will have to go buy a sheet of OSB for some little project).
Tools: Will keep these. (Table saw, chop saw, bench grinder, mini lathe, circular saw, sawzall, etc.)
Hand tools. Several tool boxes full.
Saw horses.
Hardware: screws, nails, bolts, etc.
Paint, finish, etc.
Automotive supplies, oil, fluids, etc.
Glue, sandpaper, clamps, etc.
Irrigation supplies, pipes, sprinkler heads, etc.
Sporting goods, balls, roller blades, Frisbee, kites, mitts, boche ball, golf clubs, etc.
Sleds, snowshoes, Ice skates, X country skis, etc.
Canoe, life vests, paddles, fishing poles, etc (will keep these).
Camping supplies, stoves, tents, camp chairs, cookware, backpacks, etc.
Xmas lights, decorations, etc.
Cooler, and water jugs.
Pet carriers
Bikes (4) and gear.
Lawnmower, snowblower, compressor
Shopvac
Air mattresses, pumps, etc.
Tarps
And more....

Mike Scott
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by Mike Scott » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:27 pm

You obviously need a bigger garage.

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fortfun
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:30 pm

:-) :) :oops: :sharebeer
Mike Scott wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:27 pm
You obviously need a bigger garage.

BUBear29
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by BUBear29 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:32 pm

What items have you not used in the last year? Put those items in a pile and get rid (donate) of them.
There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means.

mega317
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by mega317 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:32 pm

A couple of tips.
1. Whenever something peeves you off because it's in the way and you have to move it or otherwise deal with it, throw it out.
2. Toss anything you haven't used in a year.
3. Try throwing away one thing that makes you uncomfortable. You will realize how much it was not a big deal at all.

You didn't list one thing that isn't easily replaceable.

Edit: "throw away" means trash or recycle or donate or sell, whatever is appropriate for the item.

chevca
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by chevca » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:34 pm

fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm
but I'm having such a difficult time getting rid of some of the stuff that I should throw out. Any tips? Every year, I waste so much time shifting stuff around. I should just haul it all to the dump.
I think you answered your own question. What tips are you looking for? Get rid of the stuff you don't use or need.

Are there hoarding issues to worry about? If it's tough for you to get rid of stuff that's just in the way.....

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SevenBridgesRoad
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by SevenBridgesRoad » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:38 pm

fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm
I tried watching Marie Kondo. Didn't help...
What part didn't work?
fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm


but I'm having such a difficult time getting rid of some of the stuff that I should throw out.
Why? What stops you?
Retired 2018 | Every day I choose how I spend my energy | One Vanguard TDF except for bunch of individual stocks...still recovering from my Fidelity AUM days years ago | Now sleeping well at night

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fortfun
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:43 pm

mega317 wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:32 pm
A couple of tips.
1. Whenever something peeves you off because it's in the way and you have to move it or otherwise deal with it, throw it out.
2. Toss anything you haven't used in a year.
3. Try throwing away one thing that makes you uncomfortable. You will realize how much it was not a big deal at all.

You didn't list one thing that isn't easily replaceable.

Edit: "throw away" means trash or recycle or donate or sell, whatever is appropriate for the item.
Good tips. Thanks Mega!

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Ged
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by Ged » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:45 pm

Rent a dumpster. Put everything you haven't used in the past 5 years in the dumpster.

Done.

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fortfun
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:46 pm

SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:38 pm
fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm
I tried watching Marie Kondo. Didn't help...
What part didn't work?
fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm


but I'm having such a difficult time getting rid of some of the stuff that I should throw out.
Why? What stops you?
Seems like I usually end up needing whatever I get rid 6 months later. Since I'm cheap, I hate to spend money on replacing something I already paid for once. Probably, partly due to the reality of a family of four with lots of hobbies...

TravelGeek
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by TravelGeek » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:48 pm

fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm
I tried watching Marie Kondo. Didn't help... My garage is full of 25 years worth of crap. Don't get me wrong, we park both our cars in the garage
Unless your two cars are both Smart cars, color me impressed. You managed to store a lot of stuff in the garage. And congratulations for being among the few who also use their garage for parking. Many of our neighbors seem unable to do this. I have many similar items (though overall maybe only 50% of yours), but ultimately I do use them more or less all. It’s not clear to me from your list which items you don’t use. It doesn’t make sense to me to throw out/donate things that you know you will use again in a few months (say, snowblower next winter). On the other hand, if you don’t actually golf anymore...

mega317
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by mega317 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:58 pm

fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:46 pm
Seems like I usually end up needing whatever I get rid 6 months later.
This is almost certainly recall bias. Or maybe the availability heuristic? Anyway you only think about the things you needed later, but there are lots of things you are forgetting, or maybe don't even know were thrown out.

OP I hope you're not actually stressed about this. This is probably the most common problem that people with money and space have. My MIL has a three car garage that only fits one car and her passengers have to get out before she pulls in.

TravelforFun
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by TravelforFun » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:03 pm

fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm
My garage is full of 25 years worth of crap. Don't get me wrong, we park both our cars in the garage but I'm having such a difficult time getting rid of some of the stuff that I should throw out.
You're doing way better than a lot of folks I know.

TravelforFun

chevca
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by chevca » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:14 pm

fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:46 pm
SevenBridgesRoad wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:38 pm
fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm
I tried watching Marie Kondo. Didn't help...
What part didn't work?
fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm


but I'm having such a difficult time getting rid of some of the stuff that I should throw out.
Why? What stops you?
Seems like I usually end up needing whatever I get rid 6 months later. Since I'm cheap, I hate to spend money on replacing something I already paid for once. Probably, partly due to the reality of a family of four with lots of hobbies...
Then it seems you shouldn't just throw it out, or haul it to the dump like you first posted?

What's the real issue... you're just annoyed by having to move stuff around to clean the garage?

It's either junk or it's useful. Get rid of the junk, keep the useful.

barnaclebob
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by barnaclebob » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:22 pm

I only keep a few pieces of larger scrap and maybe one or two smaller. Projects that need bigger pieces generate smaller scrap faster than it gets used.

How is your organization system? I was able to fit about everthing you had except the canoe in my two car garage. Space was used very efficiently so that very little was buried.

srt7
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by srt7 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:47 pm

Move it all to the basement! :sharebeer
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inbox788
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by inbox788 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:16 pm

fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:30 pm
:-) :) :oops: :sharebeer
Mike Scott wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:27 pm
You obviously need a bigger garage.
Not a bigger garage, a workshop! Do you have the room to build one yourself? Or get one of these: https://www.costco.com/Braxton-12'-x-24 ... 64050.html

The only other alternative is to dump some of the items that you might not use as much. Also, think about your neighbors, friends and relatives and what items they might have that you could borrow easily, so you don't need to store it. Sell or give those away. I've given away some things with the implicit agreement that if I needed it it, I could borrow it back, but that seldom if ever happens.

Oh, and 25 year old liquids dry out. I find old paint cans have dried out after a while. There are other plastic parts that get brittle and crack. My table saw was not used for a number of years and one day, the motor housing cracked and the motor dropped to the ground. I hadn't used it in a while, and while my first thought was to replace it, I haven't had a need, and if I need to cut something, I could just try to use something else. Worse case is if I needed a table saw, I'd ask around if I could borrow one or just go out and buy one when necessary.

Reminds me, I need to change the oil...

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greg24
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by greg24 » Tue Apr 23, 2019 11:25 pm

Pick out the five largest things and think really hard if you need them. Getting rid of five large things lets you hold onto 100 small things.

lotusflower
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by lotusflower » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:03 am

I have "collection" issues as well. One thing that helps me is assessing the economic value and cost of the storage. For example, you could figure how much a 5x10 storage locker would cost in your area, or the square footage of your house/garage that you are devoting to this stuff divided by your rent or PITI. Then try to estimate the cost that you would spend replacing stuff occasionally, and see whether the 'savings' you are achieving by collecting are as much as the cost. Alternatively you can daydream about how much more you would pay to have the garage you would want, or about the amount of time you spend cleaning it up and moving it around.

You can use several of these techniques to triangulate onto a real estimation of the costs of maintaining your inventory.

Once you get real about the economic cost of holding onto your stuff, you can make better decisions about getting rid of "perfectly good" stuff that you are storing in order to avoid the risk of having to buy it again later, knowing that some of the stuff will never actually be needed.

Good luck!

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FGal
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by FGal » Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:47 am

I come from hoarders. Real scary, as-seen-on-tv type hoarders. I used to have real trouble getting rid of things and I finally broke through by remembering that absolutely NOTHING material goods-wise is completely irreplaceable. If I hadn't used an item in months or years, it got donated or given away (or sold if I think it can be done easily). In the event that a year later I suddenly have a need for that item, I'll go borrow it or buy another one (likely browse the local ReStore or thrift stores if I'm feeling lucky).

In the event that this comes to pass (and it has a VERY few times) I shrug my shoulders and think, oh well, at least I can find all the stuff I actually do get regular use out of, and the years of not having to deal with the clutter was worth the momentary inconvenience. And it really is only a few times this has even happened and it's been REALLY easy to borrow items.


If you have a Facebook marketplace or Nextdoor... put the stuff on the curb and announce "free on curb" and it will be gone in hours.

Also could set it out the night before the next trash pickup and trash pickers usually will grab anything they can sell or use (at least in my area).

Or load it up and take the things (especially if they are tools) to a Habitat For Humanity ReStore or thrift shop. Or ask if a local cause or church you support might have a need for things like that to use themselves or auction off.
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FederalFIRE
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by FederalFIRE » Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:29 am

We moved out of our house about a year ago and needed to sort the garage for an incoming renter. Basically consolidated everything into one corner and disposed of a ton of things. Also spent a lot of time organizing to clean things up.

One tip was to use all my sawdust and wood scraps in a pile to dry out old paints so I could toss them in the trash can. That got rid of a lot of volume. Also put effort into sorting wood scraps and bits to neatly stack and organize. We have a local non-profit shop that sells craft supplies to fund the arts in the school district, so they also happily take paints, wood, screws, etc.

If you have any paints that aren't on a wall in your house right now they should go. Almost any theater department would happily take that.

I had a box of old irrigation stuff from when I installed my system and got rid of everything except the heads which I may actually use. Random lengths of pipe and tube... I was getting more frustration from keeping those than I would to spend $10 in 5 years when something finally breaks.

Auto fluids - consolidate and dispose of excess. I had several years of used motor oil in 5 gal buckets (change my own) that I finally took to auto zone. Got rid of a ton of random fluids that are largely one-off uses. Think seriously about whether you want to put old fluids in your car years into the future or if you could just purchase that new bottle when you need it.

The biggest life-changer was investing in a Rubbermaid FastTrack system for the garage. Not a cheap investment off the bat, but to organize lawn and garden tools, bicycles, tennis rackets, balls, etc. etc. etc. it totally changes things. So much easier and quicker and totally flexible for when needs change. I can't recommend that enough. It got almost everything off the floor too, which really helps when we need to quickly blow out the leaves, etc.

zeal
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by zeal » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:36 am

If you can’t bring yourself to get rid of those things and you have the space available for a shed, you should just build yourself one. My dad and I both hoard those types of things too—good tools found cheap at yard sales, scrap materials from old projects... when my dad’s one-car carport starts to get too full for a car, he builds another shed. He currently has 3 sheds. I have one shed that I’m able to fit all of our things in and it still has plenty of room to walk around.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by RickBoglehead » Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:47 am

I guess I am not understanding how a forum is going to tell you how to clean your garage. :shock:
zeal wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:36 am
If you can’t bring yourself to get rid of those things and you have the space available for a shed, you should just build yourself one. My dad and I both hoard those types of things too—good tools found cheap at yard sales, scrap materials from old projects... when my dad’s one-car carport starts to get too full for a car, he builds another shed. He currently has 3 sheds. I have one shed that I’m able to fit all of our things in and it still has plenty of room to walk around.
This would be the exact opposite of what the OP should do. Hoarding is a disorder. FIL was a hoarder. Over 8 tons to the scrapyard, nearly 500 cans of paint and chemicals to toxic waste disposal (including DDT), piles weekly in trash, 2 summers lost.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

Jack FFR1846
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by Jack FFR1846 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:23 am

I actually read the list of things you have in the garage. I don't see anything listed that I would get rid of. Even the lumber is marginable because indeed if you need 2 feet of an 8 foot 2x4, the rest can be used on the next project.

I have way more than you list. I have a container for "junk tools" that wear out. They periodically go on craigslist and sell immediately. My garage is 24 x 36 and I put all the cars in it and use the tools to maintain them in there. In addition, I've got a large shed with about 8 full sets of wheels with tires, all the bikes, racks with rarely used tools and yard tools. It would be stupid to get rid of the wheels or rakes or lawn mower or leaf blower because I use them and would have to buy again. Buy a large shed and put all the stuff in there. I built wheel racks in my shed to store the tires above floor level, leaving the area free for stuff like the mower.

If you had said you have boxes of kids toys and your kids are now 30 or old shoes or clothes or stuff inherited, then sure....I'd get rid of that junk. But that's not what you have in the garage.
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fru-gal
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fru-gal » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:35 am

Get stuff that is actually trash into a pile outside and call a trash collecting company. Either your regular trash pick up will take it for an extra charge or 1-800-GOT-JUNK.

Then get stuff that is usable but you don't want or is a duplicate and post a notice with a list on your local freecycle that it will be outside near the street at such and such a time on such a day. Post a free sign also in your neighborhood. If stuff is left leave it there with a free sign, it will vanish in a few days. Be sure to have stuff you want to keep shut away to avoid mixups.

Then organize the rest. Pegboard is your friend. I have about half of my garage walls pegboarded, with organized stuff attached and it is visible at eye level. You can get pegboard items that hook in and support shovels by their handles, etc.

Andyrunner
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by Andyrunner » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:39 am

Went through this a few weeks ago.I posted things I have not used in years on Craigslist to fund my next fun purchase, even though it was small. I sold golf clubs that have not been swung in 6 years for 200 bucks, toddler toys for 3 dollars each, An old tent for 70 bucks. All was small but it added up.

My thought was If I need them in a year or two or five, I can buy it again but better and nicer as technology improves. Or I can borrow as needed ( tools for example).

I tossed or burned the scrap wood because well, 2x4s are cheap.

Nearly A Moose
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by Nearly A Moose » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:48 am

I’m a big believer in Marie Kondo’s approach, although I set a lower threshold for what brings me joy than she does - in other words, I keep more stuff. But the actual approach she advocates is really important. It doesn’t work well to just look at your stuff and think about what should go. You literally need to put all your “like” stuff in a pile and sort it then and there. Having to see and manipulate everything really seems to make a difference. But it’s obviously not for everyone.

It sounds like you have lots of hobbies but also lots of “just in case” stuff. Try picking one hobby you don’t do as often or that has lots of associated stuff, or the one with the most stuff that gets in the way. Better yet, pick something that’s more of a task than a hobby. Ask yourself what you actually need on a regular basis, what you use very infrequently or irregularly, and what you’re ferreting away just in case. Anything in the last category that isn’t irreplaceable should go. Anything in the middle category that isn’t very difficult or expensive to replace/rent as needed should go. Remember, it’s not just the financial cost of the item, it’s also the hidden costs of “renting” storage for it in your garage, moving it around, keeping it clean, etc. Those costs are high, especially if they detract from your ability to enjoy your hobbies. Also, since you mentioned you’re fairly frugal, I assume you have the wherewithal to find high quality used versions of items. Since you’ve already taken The depreciation hit, you should be able to buy and sell it on the secondhand market with virtually no difference in cost, other than your time. So, for big/clunky/rarely used things, let someone else bother storing them, and “rent” them from the second-hand market as needed. Finally, for the first category - things you use regularly - ask yourself whether you have duplicated functions and can consolidate down. That is a function of your specific needs and skills, not what an expert in the area would need.

Then, and this is the key, create a dedicated storage space for every single item. Everything gets a home, and nothing shares its home. This makes it much easier to find, use, and store stuff, and it makes it less likely you’ll accumulate more stuff.

Finally, yes, keep a contained pile of scrap wood if you use it. Just create a space for it, and purge it when it overgrows it’s home. No sense in hauling in a new OSB board every time you have a small project, but also no sense in keeping eight of them around.

Good luck!
Pardon typos, I'm probably using my fat thumbs on a tiny phone.

HomeStretch
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by HomeStretch » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:49 am

FederalFIRE wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:29 am
The biggest life-changer was investing in a Rubbermaid FastTrack system for the garage. Not a cheap investment off the bat, but to organize lawn and garden tools, bicycles, tennis rackets, balls, etc. etc. etc. it totally changes things. So much easier and quicker and totally flexible for when needs change. I can't recommend that enough. It got almost everything off the floor too, which really helps when we need to quickly blow out the leaves, etc.
+1 for the Rubbermaid Fast Track system. We DIY installed the rails on our garage walls about 10 years ago with assorted shelves, baskets and hooks for various tools, hoses, cords and supplies. The system has held up well with heavy use.

Also installed a small Hyloft platform (10-12’ x 3-4’) that hangs from the ceiling at the front of the garage that holds water toys, coolers, folding chairs, etc.

fru-gal
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fru-gal » Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:52 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:47 am
I guess I am not understanding how a forum is going to tell you how to clean your garage. :shock:
zeal wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:36 am
If you can’t bring yourself to get rid of those things and you have the space available for a shed, you should just build yourself one. My dad and I both hoard those types of things too—good tools found cheap at yard sales, scrap materials from old projects... when my dad’s one-car carport starts to get too full for a car, he builds another shed. He currently has 3 sheds. I have one shed that I’m able to fit all of our things in and it still has plenty of room to walk around.
This would be the exact opposite of what the OP should do. Hoarding is a disorder. FIL was a hoarder. Over 8 tons to the scrapyard, nearly 500 cans of paint and chemicals to toxic waste disposal (including DDT), piles weekly in trash, 2 summers lost.
Yes, don't encourage hoarding, think of what people will have to clean out after you are gone. Get rid of stuff now.

Hockey10
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by Hockey10 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:00 am

Use every possible space on the ceiling or wall to hang stuff. If you have open space on a wall somewhere, you are doing something wrong. The only part of the ceiling that I do not use to hang stuff is the area above the garage door (when it is open).

Buy yourself an assorted box of hooks from Home Depot / Lowes / Amazon. These are ones that can be screwed directly into studs and can hang anything from bikes, to tools, to wheelbarrows, etc... Then install some 1 x 4s horizontally on the walls. For every tool with a long handle like a rake, shovel, or mop, put a nail or screw into the 1x4 and hang the tool. If the handle does not have an opening to hang it, drill a hole in it.

You will need some shelves for small items. Either put a shelving unit in the corner, or install shelves along the wall.

After you have purchased the hooks and 1x4s, take everything out of the garage. Then start hanging the stuff you want to keep. Stuff that you will never use again - donate or trash.

RollTide31457
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by RollTide31457 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:10 am

1-800-GOT-JUNK?

jharkin
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by jharkin » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:15 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:23 am
I actually read the list of things you have in the garage. I don't see anything listed that I would get rid of. Even the lumber is marginable because indeed if you need 2 feet of an 8 foot 2x4, the rest can be used on the next project.

I have way more than you list. I have a container for "junk tools" that wear out. They periodically go on craigslist and sell immediately. My garage is 24 x 36 and I put all the cars in it and use the tools to maintain them in there. In addition, I've got a large shed with about 8 full sets of wheels with tires, all the bikes, racks with rarely used tools and yard tools. It would be stupid to get rid of the wheels or rakes or lawn mower or leaf blower because I use them and would have to buy again. Buy a large shed and put all the stuff in there. I built wheel racks in my shed to store the tires above floor level, leaving the area free for stuff like the mower.

If you had said you have boxes of kids toys and your kids are now 30 or old shoes or clothes or stuff inherited, then sure....I'd get rid of that junk. But that's not what you have in the garage.

+1.

People who tell you its all replaceable are probably not DIYers. We know that replacing a compressor, a snowblower, or 20 years of collected power tools to start a new project would be a MAJOR PIA.


I feel your pain, I am in the same situation with collected junk clearing it out to move, and my garage is only 20x20!! And I too manage to get the cars in there. I just have to make some compromises - i.e. I got an IRgarage mate compact vertical portable compressor, rather than the 5hp stationary I'd like to have.



Thoughts:

+1 on building a shed. Put the mower and all yard tools in there. Maybe the camping gear as well.

+1 on wall hanging. I've used tricks over hte years like getting rid of the stack of homemade 2x4 sawhorses and buying a set of those fold up plastic ones, they hang on the wall and take up no space.

Do you have a basement woodshop? I think you need one. I remember in high school we moved and my Dad actually tore out the finished basement of the new house to make a shop. My realtor thinks I am joking when I say the same about listings with finished basements :twisted:

What I would do is sort though all the paints, fluids, and hardware and toss things you know you wont use. I now wish I had made a habit of tossing hte old half empty paint cans every time my wife changed the interior colors ("But we might use that color somewhere else someday!?" - No and by then the can will be rusted and dried out anyway). And toss motor oil for cars you no longer own, etc. I remember when I built the kids swingset kit, I replaced all the cheap zinc hardware with real torx drive coated deck screws (like there was any need for it to be built to last 20 years :oops: ) . But I kept the entire box of the cheap stuff. Why? Throw out stuff like that.

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by jabberwockOG » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:26 am

First sort and weed out the duplicates and items likely never to be used again - do this as previous poster suggested -

".. load it up and take the things (especially if they are tools) to a Habitat For Humanity ReStore or thrift shop. Or ask if a local cause or church you support might have a need for things like that to use themselves or auction off."

Then organize, organize, organize - its a fantastic feeling to have lots of tools and spares and be able to find and put your hand on any of it in a moment -

Buy and install storage cabinets, a pegboard and/or wall system, and a big tool box and tool cart. Organize all your useful need to keep stuff into and onto all the new storage. Anything that does not fit should be considered for charitable donation unless it is a serious necessity.

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by dziuniek » Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:57 am

1. I've built a huge table with shelves under for the garage. (leafblower in there, gas cans, etc)
2. Anything I can hang on the nails on the walls - I do.
3. Organization is key - keeping alike things together.
4. SHED is next - so all landscaping tools can go there.
5. Basement - seasonals, etc.

Now if I only I was willing to sell the toy car, I'd be done.

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by WWV » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:19 am

Have used SafeRacks in both the garage and under a covered porch. Well built. Costco carries a good range of sizes.

https://www.costco.com/SafeRacks-4-ft.- ... 06897.html

I realize this does not answer the question about cleaning
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by renue74 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:24 am

About every 2 years, I clean out my garage. Literally, I take everything out and put it in the driveway. I also rent a $90 dumpster from the city. It's the cube looking dumpsters you see in the back of businesses.

I will look at the garage and figure out if I need to add/edit/delete storage...like peg board, etc.

After that, I will go through all the stuff and put it back into the garage.

If for some reason, I have 2 of something (happens a lot...because I have rental houses and buy lots of stuff)...then I will either choose to put it in the dumpster or on my trailer that I will use to give stuff to goodwill.

It works...but you have to be super picky.

Taking everything out also forces me to do the whole clean up job in one day.....instead of piddling around. My wife and neighbors wouldn't let me leave all the stuff in the driveway for multiple days.

Plan the work, work the plan.

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by lthenderson » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:28 am

jharkin wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:15 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:23 am
I actually read the list of things you have in the garage. I don't see anything listed that I would get rid of. Even the lumber is marginable because indeed if you need 2 feet of an 8 foot 2x4, the rest can be used on the next project.

I have way more than you list. I have a container for "junk tools" that wear out. They periodically go on craigslist and sell immediately. My garage is 24 x 36 and I put all the cars in it and use the tools to maintain them in there. In addition, I've got a large shed with about 8 full sets of wheels with tires, all the bikes, racks with rarely used tools and yard tools. It would be stupid to get rid of the wheels or rakes or lawn mower or leaf blower because I use them and would have to buy again. Buy a large shed and put all the stuff in there. I built wheel racks in my shed to store the tires above floor level, leaving the area free for stuff like the mower.

If you had said you have boxes of kids toys and your kids are now 30 or old shoes or clothes or stuff inherited, then sure....I'd get rid of that junk. But that's not what you have in the garage.

+1.

People who tell you its all replaceable are probably not DIYers. We know that replacing a compressor, a snowblower, or 20 years of collected power tools to start a new project would be a MAJOR PIA.


I feel your pain, I am in the same situation with collected junk clearing it out to move, and my garage is only 20x20!! And I too manage to get the cars in there. I just have to make some compromises - i.e. I got an IRgarage mate compact vertical portable compressor, rather than the 5hp stationary I'd like to have.
+2 I have all those things listed... and more. Some of the things that store better in temperature controlled environments like paint, glues, etc, I store in my basement along with decorations and such.

The most under utilized space in just about every garage is the ceiling. I bought some hoists that bolt to the ceiling joists and have ropes and hooks to raise and lower things that I don't need every day. On my ceiling, I currently have six bicycles, several ladders, a kayak, a canoe (which is a convenient storage vessels for all the life jackets, fishing gear, etc.) raised up to the ceiling with enough room to drive our minivan and SUV underneath it. Just doing this frees up a tremendous amount of floor and wall space for things that need to be more accessible like wood clamps, etc. I also have lots of wide shelving installed up high on the walls around much of the perimeter that is only accessible by step ladder. I store stuff there that I may not need very often but don't want to throw away like my tile saw, tarps, bicycle repair tools, seasonal stuff like sleds, croquet set, etc.)

I'm guessing you would have plenty of room for all that if you just look around (and up) and see where the blank spots are and start figuring out how to move stuff to those spots.

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Sandtrap
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by Sandtrap » Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:30 am

Yard Sale
Moving Sale
It's amazing what folks will pay for, sometimes what you would have thrown away.
:D

OTOH, I just finished building a 400 sf shop and have building plans for a 1600 sf detached garage. So there's always that alternative. :D :D :D :D :D
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fortfun
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:46 am

TravelGeek wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:48 pm
fortfun wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 9:18 pm
I tried watching Marie Kondo. Didn't help... My garage is full of 25 years worth of crap. Don't get me wrong, we park both our cars in the garage
Unless your two cars are both Smart cars, color me impressed. You managed to store a lot of stuff in the garage. And congratulations for being among the few who also use their garage for parking. Many of our neighbors seem unable to do this. I have many similar items (though overall maybe only 50% of yours), but ultimately I do use them more or less all. It’s not clear to me from your list which items you don’t use. It doesn’t make sense to me to throw out/donate things that you know you will use again in a few months (say, snowblower next winter). On the other hand, if you don’t actually golf anymore...
Well, we do have a 3rd bay :) I think it is mostly lumber and some household items that I need to part with. Thanks for not roasting me :)

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:48 am

srt7 wrote:
Tue Apr 23, 2019 10:47 pm
Move it all to the basement! :sharebeer
That's where it was until I finished the basement and started renting it. The 1k rent is our play money :)

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by zeal » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:55 am

fru-gal wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:52 am
RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:47 am
I guess I am not understanding how a forum is going to tell you how to clean your garage. :shock:
zeal wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:36 am
If you can’t bring yourself to get rid of those things and you have the space available for a shed, you should just build yourself one. My dad and I both hoard those types of things too—good tools found cheap at yard sales, scrap materials from old projects... when my dad’s one-car carport starts to get too full for a car, he builds another shed. He currently has 3 sheds. I have one shed that I’m able to fit all of our things in and it still has plenty of room to walk around.
This would be the exact opposite of what the OP should do. Hoarding is a disorder. FIL was a hoarder. Over 8 tons to the scrapyard, nearly 500 cans of paint and chemicals to toxic waste disposal (including DDT), piles weekly in trash, 2 summers lost.
Yes, don't encourage hoarding, think of what people will have to clean out after you are gone. Get rid of stuff now.
I was not at all encouraging hoarding. I used the term "hoard" but maybe "keep" was a better word. I use every tool I own (except for one small toolbox full of tools--belonged to my great grandfather and I keep it solely as a family heirloom displayed on my mantel downstairs) and my scrap materials are almost always used within a year as I work on home projects regularly--I always have a mental inventory and if something has sat around too long, I just use it or get rid of it. I stick with the same brands of paints/stains/chemicals and only buy as much as I need for the current project.

My dad has the 3 sheds because he keeps a heavier inventory than I do. He is a semi-retired contractor, has a larger yard (more yardwork), and does a lot more home/community projects--so naturally, he has more tools, more scrap materials, and larger equipment (e.g., his riding mower vs. my push mower, his standing drill press vs. my homemade jig that fits a normal driver, etc.). He also has a woodstove vs. my gas log fireplace, so he has a woodshed, chainsaw, and maul whereas all I have is a 2-wheel dolly for moving around our 100-lb propane tank. I'm sure there are a few things here and there that we each could get rid of, but we would likely end up buying another within a few months.

I was not advocating hoarding trash--obviously if you're not going to use something, get rid of it. OP needs a shed because it sounds like they use everything they listed, not a shed to host piles of useless junk.

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by Nowizard » Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:56 am

If you use most of the stuff, then the problem is partially that you store a lot of things in the garage that many people might store in an attic or elsewhere. Granted, that could be nothing more than moving things around. We own and mostly use most of the things you mentioned but have many of them in the attic, particularly those we do use but not regularly.


Tim

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fortfun
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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:00 am

lotusflower wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 1:03 am
I have "collection" issues as well. One thing that helps me is assessing the economic value and cost of the storage. For example, you could figure how much a 5x10 storage locker would cost in your area, or the square footage of your house/garage that you are devoting to this stuff divided by your rent or PITI. Then try to estimate the cost that you would spend replacing stuff occasionally, and see whether the 'savings' you are achieving by collecting are as much as the cost. Alternatively you can daydream about how much more you would pay to have the garage you would want, or about the amount of time you spend cleaning it up and moving it around.

You can use several of these techniques to triangulate onto a real estimation of the costs of maintaining your inventory.

Once you get real about the economic cost of holding onto your stuff, you can make better decisions about getting rid of "perfectly good" stuff that you are storing in order to avoid the risk of having to buy it again later, knowing that some of the stuff will never actually be needed.

Good luck!
Thanks Lotusflower. Ultimately, I think it is the "opportunity cost" of moving/looking through this stuff every year that will convince me to get rid of it. I can easily make $40-50 an hour consulting. If I spend a couple weekends a year sorting through this stuff, that's a lot of money lost. Of course, I wouldn't necessarily work during that time but something to keep in mind.

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:05 am

FederalFIRE wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:29 am
We moved out of our house about a year ago and needed to sort the garage for an incoming renter. Basically consolidated everything into one corner and disposed of a ton of things. Also spent a lot of time organizing to clean things up.

One tip was to use all my sawdust and wood scraps in a pile to dry out old paints so I could toss them in the trash can. That got rid of a lot of volume. Also put effort into sorting wood scraps and bits to neatly stack and organize. We have a local non-profit shop that sells craft supplies to fund the arts in the school district, so they also happily take paints, wood, screws, etc.

If you have any paints that aren't on a wall in your house right now they should go. Almost any theater department would happily take that.

I had a box of old irrigation stuff from when I installed my system and got rid of everything except the heads which I may actually use. Random lengths of pipe and tube... I was getting more frustration from keeping those than I would to spend $10 in 5 years when something finally breaks.

Auto fluids - consolidate and dispose of excess. I had several years of used motor oil in 5 gal buckets (change my own) that I finally took to auto zone. Got rid of a ton of random fluids that are largely one-off uses. Think seriously about whether you want to put old fluids in your car years into the future or if you could just purchase that new bottle when you need it.

The biggest life-changer was investing in a Rubbermaid FastTrack system for the garage. Not a cheap investment off the bat, but to organize lawn and garden tools, bicycles, tennis rackets, balls, etc. etc. etc. it totally changes things. So much easier and quicker and totally flexible for when needs change. I can't recommend that enough. It got almost everything off the floor too, which really helps when we need to quickly blow out the leaves, etc.
Thanks FF. I'll check out the FastTrack for the stuff I have to keep.

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:07 am

RickBoglehead wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:47 am
I guess I am not understanding how a forum is going to tell you how to clean your garage. :shock:
zeal wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 5:36 am
If you can’t bring yourself to get rid of those things and you have the space available for a shed, you should just build yourself one. My dad and I both hoard those types of things too—good tools found cheap at yard sales, scrap materials from old projects... when my dad’s one-car carport starts to get too full for a car, he builds another shed. He currently has 3 sheds. I have one shed that I’m able to fit all of our things in and it still has plenty of room to walk around.
This would be the exact opposite of what the OP should do. Hoarding is a disorder. FIL was a hoarder. Over 8 tons to the scrapyard, nearly 500 cans of paint and chemicals to toxic waste disposal (including DDT), piles weekly in trash, 2 summers lost.
I was actually hoping someone would volunteer to clean it :)

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by Katietsu » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:08 am

Don’t know if this has been mentioned...I have the same issue re: the fear of disposing of something and then needing to repurchase it 6 months later. I realized that the space being consumed by the just in case stuff essentially had a happiness cost associated with it. I would say it was similar to an opportunity cost in the money world. For me, I decided if my replacement cost (rent, repurchase, pay someone else) was going to be less than a couple hundred dollars a year that was a cost well spent. So, I focused on items that I probably wouldn’t use anyway or whose function could be replaced pretty cheaply. The reduction of the items is still a work in progress. But it was actually a relief to just go to Lowe”s last time I needed a hook instead of searching through containers for closest fit.

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:09 am

Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:23 am
I actually read the list of things you have in the garage. I don't see anything listed that I would get rid of. Even the lumber is marginable because indeed if you need 2 feet of an 8 foot 2x4, the rest can be used on the next project.

I have way more than you list. I have a container for "junk tools" that wear out. They periodically go on craigslist and sell immediately. My garage is 24 x 36 and I put all the cars in it and use the tools to maintain them in there. In addition, I've got a large shed with about 8 full sets of wheels with tires, all the bikes, racks with rarely used tools and yard tools. It would be stupid to get rid of the wheels or rakes or lawn mower or leaf blower because I use them and would have to buy again. Buy a large shed and put all the stuff in there. I built wheel racks in my shed to store the tires above floor level, leaving the area free for stuff like the mower.

If you had said you have boxes of kids toys and your kids are now 30 or old shoes or clothes or stuff inherited, then sure....I'd get rid of that junk. But that's not what you have in the garage.
This is a definite possibility as we do use most items. I need to do a serious cost analysis and see if it is worth it.

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:14 am

Nearly A Moose wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:48 am
I’m a big believer in Marie Kondo’s approach, although I set a lower threshold for what brings me joy than she does - in other words, I keep more stuff. But the actual approach she advocates is really important. It doesn’t work well to just look at your stuff and think about what should go. You literally need to put all your “like” stuff in a pile and sort it then and there. Having to see and manipulate everything really seems to make a difference. But it’s obviously not for everyone.

It sounds like you have lots of hobbies but also lots of “just in case” stuff. Try picking one hobby you don’t do as often or that has lots of associated stuff, or the one with the most stuff that gets in the way. Better yet, pick something that’s more of a task than a hobby. Ask yourself what you actually need on a regular basis, what you use very infrequently or irregularly, and what you’re ferreting away just in case. Anything in the last category that isn’t irreplaceable should go. Anything in the middle category that isn’t very difficult or expensive to replace/rent as needed should go. Remember, it’s not just the financial cost of the item, it’s also the hidden costs of “renting” storage for it in your garage, moving it around, keeping it clean, etc. Those costs are high, especially if they detract from your ability to enjoy your hobbies. Also, since you mentioned you’re fairly frugal, I assume you have the wherewithal to find high quality used versions of items. Since you’ve already taken The depreciation hit, you should be able to buy and sell it on the secondhand market with virtually no difference in cost, other than your time. So, for big/clunky/rarely used things, let someone else bother storing them, and “rent” them from the second-hand market as needed. Finally, for the first category - things you use regularly - ask yourself whether you have duplicated functions and can consolidate down. That is a function of your specific needs and skills, not what an expert in the area would need.

Then, and this is the key, create a dedicated storage space for every single item. Everything gets a home, and nothing shares its home. This makes it much easier to find, use, and store stuff, and it makes it less likely you’ll accumulate more stuff.

Finally, yes, keep a contained pile of scrap wood if you use it. Just create a space for it, and purge it when it overgrows it’s home. No sense in hauling in a new OSB board every time you have a small project, but also no sense in keeping eight of them around.

Good luck!
Good advice. Thanks Moose.

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by S&L1940 » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:16 am

Simple, one by one put the items at the foot of your driveway with a sign, 'For Sale'
Regardless of the neighborhood, they will be gone within the hour

Want to donate them? Do the same thing without the For Sale sign
Don't it always seem to go * That you don't know what you've got * Till it's gone

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Re: How to clean a garage?

Post by fortfun » Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:18 am

jharkin wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 7:15 am
Jack FFR1846 wrote:
Wed Apr 24, 2019 6:23 am
I actually read the list of things you have in the garage. I don't see anything listed that I would get rid of. Even the lumber is marginable because indeed if you need 2 feet of an 8 foot 2x4, the rest can be used on the next project.

I have way more than you list. I have a container for "junk tools" that wear out. They periodically go on craigslist and sell immediately. My garage is 24 x 36 and I put all the cars in it and use the tools to maintain them in there. In addition, I've got a large shed with about 8 full sets of wheels with tires, all the bikes, racks with rarely used tools and yard tools. It would be stupid to get rid of the wheels or rakes or lawn mower or leaf blower because I use them and would have to buy again. Buy a large shed and put all the stuff in there. I built wheel racks in my shed to store the tires above floor level, leaving the area free for stuff like the mower.

If you had said you have boxes of kids toys and your kids are now 30 or old shoes or clothes or stuff inherited, then sure....I'd get rid of that junk. But that's not what you have in the garage.

+1.

People who tell you its all replaceable are probably not DIYers. We know that replacing a compressor, a snowblower, or 20 years of collected power tools to start a new project would be a MAJOR PIA.


I feel your pain, I am in the same situation with collected junk clearing it out to move, and my garage is only 20x20!! And I too manage to get the cars in there. I just have to make some compromises - i.e. I got an IRgarage mate compact vertical portable compressor, rather than the 5hp stationary I'd like to have.



Thoughts:

+1 on building a shed. Put the mower and all yard tools in there. Maybe the camping gear as well.

+1 on wall hanging. I've used tricks over hte years like getting rid of the stack of homemade 2x4 sawhorses and buying a set of those fold up plastic ones, they hang on the wall and take up no space.

Do you have a basement woodshop? I think you need one. I remember in high school we moved and my Dad actually tore out the finished basement of the new house to make a shop. My realtor thinks I am joking when I say the same about listings with finished basements :twisted:

What I would do is sort though all the paints, fluids, and hardware and toss things you know you wont use. I now wish I had made a habit of tossing hte old half empty paint cans every time my wife changed the interior colors ("But we might use that color somewhere else someday!?" - No and by then the can will be rusted and dried out anyway). And toss motor oil for cars you no longer own, etc. I remember when I built the kids swingset kit, I replaced all the cheap zinc hardware with real torx drive coated deck screws (like there was any need for it to be built to last 20 years :oops: ) . But I kept the entire box of the cheap stuff. Why? Throw out stuff like that.
Thanks Jharkin. Good info here.

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