As much as I like having a storage closet in my mud room, I don’t always enjoy how disorganized and cluttered this area can get. Like most “old house owners”, our garage and mudroom is filled with a hefty inventory of home repair supplies, cleaners, and tools to keep our home functioning. With new paint and supplies coming in monthly, it’s hard to keep track of what we’ve got.
Decluttering and organizing a garage or mud room storage closet is a good way to inventory and assess the supplies you do have. Here are a few tips to get you started.
Clear everything out first. Instead of just decluttering a shelf at a time, it’s best to pull everything out for a complete picture of the supplies you own. To hold all these supplies as you sort and consolidate, set up a couple of tables in your garage or mudroom. (Don’t forget to cover them up with drop cloths to protect the surface.)
Sort. With the storage cupboards now empty, you can get to the the nitty gritty of decluttering and organizing. Start by grouping similar items together such as cleansers with cleansers, paint supplies with other paint supplies, and so on. Once the items are matched up, consolidate containers.
Dispose. For supplies that you’ll never ever use again, set these aside in boxes to deal with later. Items to get rid should include old (or dried up) paint and varnishes, household cleaners that haven’t been used in more than 2 years, anything broken or rusty, old batteries, battery charges that don’t go with anything, rags that are too far gone to be of use, old hardware etc.
Scrub down the cabinets next. Before returning supplies back to the cabinet, scrub the cabinets down first. Since my storage cabinets tend to be gunky from spilled oil, I use a degreaser myself though surface cleaners (such as Spic and Span or Fantastic) will also work.
Organize. Return your supplies back to the cupboards in a way that makes sense for how your family lives. I organized our storage cabinets by putting together similar items on the same shelf. Automotive oil and automotive supplies went on one shelf, cleaning supplies on another shelf, paint supplies on the same shelf, etc. To hold small supplies, I used some small storage baskets and small buckets. Large items such a levels and crosscut saws were hung from nails driven into the back of the closet.
From start to finish, it took our family about 90 minutes to clean and organize a standard garage storage closet that was crammed to the gills with junk. While this might be more time than you are willing to give up on a Saturday, decluttering and organizing your storage closets now will save you gobs of time (and money) the next time you are faced with a DIY repair project.
More by this contributor:
“Green” Spring clean your garage.
How to recycle a kitchen cabinet for your garage
How to declutter the garage and home the eco friendly way.