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How to Polish Your Car’s Castle — Garage Organizing Tips

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If your car’s castle, aka the garage, is threatening the beauty of your car, then it’s time to clean out, de-clutter, and organize. The stuff in your garage–bicycles, tools, outdoor equipment, lawn care, decorations, and everything else that doesn’t have a place in the house–can easily start to take over until your garage is just a storage unit and your car is parked outside and exposed to the elements, which is no way to treat your four-wheeled pride and joy.

Related: Basic car maintenance tips

To tackle the mess in the garage, enlist the help of friends and family to speed up the process, advises This Old House magazine writer, Mickey Goodman; this is your chance to go through every box, nook, and cranny to decide what to keep, what to throw out, what to recycle, and what to donate. Once you’ve decided on what items are worth saving, sort them by theme like tools, sports equipment, and lawn care, said Goodman.

Then remove things not meant to be stored in a garage, advises Goodman–paint needs to be stored in a more temperature-controlled area; propane tanks should embrace the great outdoors; roach and insect-attracting paper should find room in your pantry; refrigerators in a non air-conditioned space are just energy suckers; and possum-loving dog food should be moved to the house and stored in an airtight container. For safety sake, mount a 5 to 10 pound U.L. listed extinguisher and consider fastening a carbon monoxide detector to one of the garage walls, adds Goodman.

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Once everything is out of the garage and sorted, it’s a good idea to sweep out the garage and do a bit of cleaning—you don’t want to put everything back all nice and neat into a dirty garage, do you?

Okay, now that the cleaning is finished, it’s time to put things back into order, but with an organization upgrade, of course.

Take advantage of the ceiling and all vertical space you can to hang and store things, advises writer Vanessa Brunner. Goodman suggests any cabinets or open shelving units used in the garage should have legs so that the floor can be easily swept underneath, and grouping similar items together will make finding things quick and easy, especially if you opt for clear-plastic bins that have lids and can be stacked. Clear jars are perfect for small items or hardware, said Goodman. If you have little ones that like to get into everything, Goodman suggests investing in a cabinet with a lock, which is ideal for housing stuff little ones shouldn’t touch like lawn chemicals or sharp gardening tools.

By getting things off the floor and into dedicated spaces, your garage will be clean, organized, and ready to protect your vehicular investment.