How to Spring Clean Your Garage and Outdoor Spaces
Organization is key to getting the job done.
Spring cleaning is the time to assess everything in your home, give it a good wash, and organize from top to bottom. Areas that are often overlooked but require maintenance are the garage and outdoor spaces. Even though both aren't technically within the home, they contribute to its overall appeal. Spring cleaning your garage and areas like your patio or deck might seem like an overwhelming task, but with our expert help, these areas will be back in order in no time.
Before jumping into the organization process, it's important to give the garage and any outdoor spaces a good clean. "[The garage floor is] often the dirtiest part of the space, so [it] should be swept about every other month depending on your level of dedication," says Gina Perry, senior merchant of outdoor cleaning at The Home Depot. Ahead, Perry offers up some top tips for removing common garage floor stains, like grease and oil from cars. A frequently ignored feature of this space that also needs maintenance during your spring clean? The garage door, and Perry explains how to get every type—from wood to synthetic doors—clean, ensuring this entrance remains in good condition for the rest of the year. Of course, you can't forget your outdoor flooring either. Perry shares the most effective ways to wash your decks and patios.
After every surface gets a good wash, the next step is to organize your space. "At NEAT Method, we always recommend storing like items or categories of items together," says Jen Rowe, professional organizer and owner of NEAT Method Toronto. "This simplifies things and makes it easy to put your belongings back where they should go after use. But there are other lifestyle particulars that should be considered and questions to ask yourself when you set out to organize a garage." Ahead, find more expert tips and tricks for spring cleaning these outdoor spaces.
Clear Everything Out
Before giving the garage floor a good once over, it's important to remove everything from the ground. "Once cleared, floor stains often become obvious," says Perry. "Getting things up off the floor will help to keep the space looking tidy and composed," says Rowe. "It will also make it easier to keep the floor clean and easily swept."
Before you begin organizing, remove any hard, stuck-on stains like oil and grease during your spring cleaning, says Perry. "To remove these tough stains, you need to draw them out of the concrete with a solution such as a concrete cleaner and oil stain remover ($9.97, homedepot.com)," she says. "For tough stains, you might need to apply the remover a few times."
Don't Forget the Garage Door
"It is very important to keep the garage door clean and in good condition, as it will help extend the life of your garage door opener and ensure it runs as smoothly as possible," says Perry. For wooden doors, wipe them down with a clean, dry cloth, she says. To clean vinyl or other synthetic doors, use a soft cloth and appropriate cleaner and thoroughly rinse the door with a hose, then dry with a microfiber cloth. Be sure to brush down any cobwebs on the inside of the garage doors and wipe with a soft dry cloth, then go over any needed areas with a lightly dampened cloth.
Don't Skip Organizing
Use organizational products that coordinate with one another, recommends Rowe. "This helps to reduce visual clutter, which is a huge factor in how orderly a space looks and feels," she says.
"Vertical space should always be utilized, but is sometimes overlooked," says Rowe. "Whether it's a freestanding shelving system, built-in cabinets, a wall-mounted system, or even a ceiling-mounted pulley system, maximize your storage capacity by using the height of the space. This is how you can best free up floor space so that you have more room to move."
During your spring cleaning, be sure to replace batteries and bulbs, says Perry. "Unplug the garage door opener then try to open the door with the wall button. If it does not open, you need to replace the backup battery."
Ensure Safe Keeping
Have backup paint cans? Now is the time to assess their storage conditions. "Extreme cold or heat can ruin them so cans should always be stored in a more temperate area," says Perry. For chemicals like propane, be sure the tanks are kept outdoors to ensure a spark does not ignite them, she warns.
Beware of Bugs
Paper products (like grocery bags) should be moved to the pantry during your spring cleaning to ensure they do not attract unwanted bugs in the garage.
Pressure Wash the Patio
"An important part of patio care is giving a deck a good cleaning once a year," says Perry. "Pressure washing is usually the best and most thorough option for a wood deck." She says to use a pressure washer at a low setting with a fan spray nozzle, and check manufacturer's recommendations for the wood type. "If you have a composite deck, it's best to wash by hand as a pressure washer can damage the decking," she warns.
Freshen Up Outdoor Furniture
Clean under and around furniture, as dirt tends to build up in these areas—and planters—leading to trapped moisture and mold growth, says Perry. "You can address this by using a biodegradable outdoor cleaner that removes mildew," she says. She recommends 30 Seconds Outdoor Cleaner Concentrate ($22.58, homedepot.com).
Keep Frequented Items Within Reach
"Always take into consideration where and how you use a given item or category of items and place them closest to where they'll get used and at a height that makes sense for their frequency of use," says Rowe.