Ohio Valley Goodwill Industries
Serving Greater Cincinnati

3 Simple Steps to Organizing Your Garage for Summer

Picture this: Your garage is sparkling clean, your cars are neatly lined up in their parking spaces, and every last tool is in its place. It’s just a dream for most homeowners. In fact, according to a survey done by Impulse Research, 24% of homeowners are embarrassed to leave their garage doors open! Worse yet, according to a U.S. Department of Energy study, 25% of people with two-car garages don’t park in them due to clutter.

Don’t be a statistic! The summer season is a great time to tackle the task of cleaning out your garage. Follow these three steps, and you’ll be parking in style before you know it:

#1: Clear Out the Clutter

There are several things that often make their way into our garages that really have no business being there. Old paint cans and certain chemicals can be affected by changes in temperature. Those items should be safely stored inside. Otherwise, you can dispose of these items, including other household hazardous waste such as pesticides and herbicides, fertilizers, pool chemicals, fluorescent lights, and more through the solid waste districts in most counties. Check online for disposal sites and hours of operation where you live.

Cars at Goodwill Auto Auction
Cars at Goodwill Auto Auction

Next, if you have vehicles taking up entire garage bays that you don’t use, consider making a donation to Goodwill’s Auto Auction. We make it easy for you to donate cars in Cincinnati, plus we also accept donations of trucks, boats, and even RVs! The process is simple, and as a result, you may become eligible for a tax credit. We accept vehicle donations in Cincinnati in any condition, and even offer a free tow if needed!

Lastly, grab some trash bags, boxes, or storage bins and use the old standby: “Keep, donate, trash!” When you run into difficulty making a decision, ask yourself if you’ll really use that item, and be honest. Take donations to your nearest Ohio Valley Goodwill donation center, where we gladly accept clothing, shoes, accessories, sporting goods, small electronics, housewares, holiday decorations, and even Halloween costumes!

#2: Build a Floor Plan

It’s a good idea to at least get a rough idea of how you’d like to organize your garage so you can choose the right storage solutions. (See step 3!) You might even want to have two plans — one for spring and summer, and another for fall and winter. For example, in the warmer months, your gardening tools should be more easily accessible. You might also want easier access to outdoor recreation items such as bikes, scooters, kites, or kayaks.

When the days turn colder, you might want to swap those items for tools that had been in deeper storage, like snow shovels or snow blowers, holiday lights, and more.

#3: Choose the Right Storage Solutions

Where you store items is just as important as how you store them. Open shelving works great along the walls of most garages. Line the shelves with clear plastic totes that are clearly labeled in order to keep things protected from water or dust. (You can even find shelves and totes at your nearest Goodwill retail store!)

Overall, open shelving solutions are better than closed cabinets because it forces you to organize items instead of hiding more clutter behind closed doors. However, lockable cabinets are a necessary item for families with small children. Store chemicals and other items behind lock and key in order to keep them out of little hands.

Some wall solutions such as peg board and storage slats are great for hanging tools, especially those you use most often. And don’t forget the ceiling! Some items can be hung from above as long as they stay clear of the garage door opener and the roof of the car. You can almost use every surface of the garage for storage, but experts recommend keeping items off the floor in order to keep them away from potential pests or moisture.

Sit Back and Enjoy

Once the work is done, you can enjoy the fruits of your labor! Not only will it be easier to find tools you’ll need this summer, but you’ll have more room to truly enjoy your clean and organized garage. Taking back your garage space can significantly add to your home’s usable square footage, and you’ll join the 45% of homeowners who say they spend at least an hour or two every week in the garage!

Best of all, by donating those unwanted items that were filling up your garage to Goodwill, you’ll be making a difference right here in Greater Cincinnati! Your generous donations will go on to support life-changing programs and services that help individuals with disabilities and our nation’s veterans achieve personal and vocational success. It’s a win-win for you and your community!