Spring is springing all around us the bluebells are out and new green leaves are starting to appear on trees. Have you noticed that the birds seem to be singing louder and more cheerfully? Spring cleaning is on everyone’s minds now that the clocks have changed. The days are getting longer, and the weather is getting warmer, so it’s the perfect time to declutter your garage or the loft.
I particularly recommend working in the loft at this time of the year, because if you leave it to the warmer months of July and August it can feel like working in a sauna!
Garages and lofts can become the catch-all for the decluttered items that haven’t quite made it out of the house yet, or the items that might come in useful one day! I suspect that given we spent a year in disruption and unusual times, your garage or loft might be a little fuller than usual!
So, what are my tips to get you motivated so you can face clearing out your garage or loft?
A loft or garage sort out can be therapeutic, if it’s one of those jobs that you’ve been putting off for ages then the warmer weather will make all the difference.
It might feel overwhelming – but think how relieved you’ll feel once you’ve completed the task – it won’t be crowding your mind with “I should do something about this” and you can relax knowing that it’s another job done!
As with all decluttering projects planning is the key to success
- Block a time in your diary. Decluttering can take longer than you think, and often sorting items can bring up memories or conversations that are in fact an essential part of the process. Depending on the number of items/boxes/bags to sort through it may be worth setting aside a full weekend for the job.
- Wear the right clothing, tracksuit T-shirt flat shoes and if you’ve got long hair don’t forget to tie it back out of the way.
- Minimise distractions. If you’ve got kids, are they old enough to help or might you need Gran/Nan or another family member to entertain them? Put your phone on do not disturb, and sometimes I like to play music to keep me motivated.
- Make sure you’ve got a bottle of water with you to keep you hydrated, especially in loft spaces where you might spend a few hours, and it’s harder to get up and down the ladder for a drink of water.
- A notebook and pen might come in useful for writing down things that might need repair or replacement, but also you may want to keep an inventory of the things that you are storing.
- Have some rubbish bags handy, and maybe a couple of cardboard boxes. As you sort through your things you may want to put things into bags for charity shops, or to sell online,
A good idea is to set up areas of another room or a bit of the garden or patio for you to store sorted items. For example, an area for charity donations, an area for repairs and of course an area for the things that you want to keep. You may need to keep these separately for a few hours whilst you continue sorting through everything.
Where to start?
Well, this can depend on how full the space is! If it’s very cluttered it may be a case of pulling out the nearest box or bag and starting with that!
Look carefully at each item, then decide whether you’re going to keep, rehome or donate to charity, or is it time for it to head to the local household recycling centre. You’ll probably come across seasonal items including Christmas decorations, things for picnics or beach trips and holiday items. There may be some things that fall into the ‘it could come in useful’ category. If this is the case then I recommend you use the time box method. Choose a time frame, it could be six months or a year, then put a note in your diary or phone, and if you haven’t used it in this timeframe then you know it’s time to let it go.
There are times when Storage is the last thing you’d buy for a decluttering job – you may surprise yourself and discover you have enough (or even left over!) tubs at the end of the sorting process.
But, if you’re looking for a solution for sorted items, clear storage tubs are a great way to see what’s in your space, Wilko and B&Q have a good selection. You can also order online from plasticboxshop.co.uk, who deliver them straight to you.
Cardboard boxes are generally only recommended for climate-controlled storage – for example if your garage has damp or has temperature extremes there’s a risk that not only the box will be damaged, but also the contents.
Plastic bags – although they might sound like an option, unfortunately plastic bags do perish over the long term…and worse, mice can chew through them and the contents!
Tempting… but jobs for later.
In the garage you might come across things like the barbecue, and you may be tempted to pull it out and give it a good clean, or tools that need sharpening or repairing. This is not the time for these jobs! Add these things to the To-Do list to stay on track.
Make an inventory
When you are putting things back into your loft or garage think about making an inventory. It’s the perfect time to document what you have. You may surprise yourself that there are some valuable items that you’d forgotten about, and it may even prompt you to take a full inventory of your home to make sure your contents insurance covers you in case the worst should happen.
Things that don’t like being stored in a garage
A word of caution about storing items in your garage, certain items don’t do well with the temperature changes and climate of the garage.
- Food: no matter how well packaged (yep, even pasta, even in sealed packaging), potatoes and panettone (see what I did there?). It’s like hiding chocolate in our house, never works, it gets sniffed out by the most determined of pests. This includes pet food… that’s like a fancy banquet invitation to mice!
- Even canned food: Damp garages can cause tins to rust, while hot temperatures can spoil the food.
There are also a few categories which can be damaged by the variation in temperature between winter and summer:
- Electronics: like old DVD players or gaming stations – the extremes of hot and cold temperatures can damage the sensitive electronic components.
- Photographs: Don’t, the heartbreak of finding precious photographs ruined…
- Vinyl Records: Don’t see your old treasured vinyl end up ‘ruffled’ by extreme temperatures.
- Wine: Good wines need proper temperature-controlled storage. So unless you’ve bought one of those fancy wine fridges, don’t leave your lovely wines sitting in the garage out of temptation’s way!
If it’s been sometime since your last full sort out, keep in mind the possibility that you might come across uninvited guests, spiders, mice, empty wasp’s nests. I’ve even seen a toad comfortably making themselves at home in a garage! In some cases, calling in the professionals to deal with vermin is a must.
If you’ve read this far well done, but if the thought of spiders is putting you off then give me a call and let me see if I can help. I lived in Australia for many years and regularly had to evict large hairy scary spiders from our home, so I can assure you that British spiders hold absolutely no fear for me! And I’d love to help you conquer your garage or loft.
If you’d like some help sorting out your garage or loft I’d love to help you. Why not book a free no-obligation consultation today. You can book one here.
For more info on Professional Decluttering go and check out the Association for Professional Declutterers and Organisers