It is Week 6 of the 2020 Declutter Challenge! We have made it to the end and to celebrate, we are tackling our Cluttered Garage and Attic! This week’s Garage and Attic Decluttering Checklist has us focused on tackling the areas that legitimately house lots of items, but are also oftentimes dumping grounds for the stuff we don’t know what to do with. So print off your Decluttering Checklist and let’s get to it…I mean, the sooner we start the sooner we finish! AMIRIGHT?
If you are new to this Declutter Challenge and you want to, as Maria (soon to be Von Trapp) suggests, start at the very beginning, pop over to week 1 where we dive into our bedrooms and bathrooms. If you haven’t joined the Declutter Challenge yet, you can do that here.
Once you join, you will receive:
Holy Cow…this is an area that we have just recently (almost) fully conquered! As you know, we purchased my parents’ home from them in June when they moved to a Retirement Community and we saw the opportunity to downsize.
So, when we moved in we had all of the ‘garage stuff’ that a family of 4 typically owns. But, since my parents moved to an apartment, they left behind all of their ‘garage stuff’ accumulated over 60 years of marriage PLUS all of my grandfather’s ‘garage stuff’ that he left to my dad when he passed. So, for those of you mathematically inclined, all of a sudden we had GARAGE STUFF TIMES 3, which made for a VERY CLUTTERED GARAGE!!!
Yeah, that’s ALOT of Garage Stuff. And, to make matters complicated, my grandfather was in the tool and die business and so had really nice ‘garage stuff’.
So, what we did over the span of a couple of weeks was to lay out EVERYTHING in like groups and kept the stuff that was in the best condition.
After finding out what my brother, son, and daughter wanted, what we didn’t keep we donated to our local Habitat ReStore and man, did they clean up!
Bring your trash can into the garage, along with a box for your donations for this process. Which reminds me…
I kinda jumped ahead there, but the first and easiest place to start is to look around for obvious trash and get that out of your cluttered garage.
We all have them, the tools we can ‘fix’…but 2 years later they are still sitting there waiting to be fixed! Yup, time to make the hard call.
Recycle those plastic pots that your plants typically come in and trash the broken, cracked or chipped terra cotta or clay pots. We have an Ability Garden through our Extension Service Arboretum and they gladly welcome those plastic pots.
So, I found this out the hard way, but paint does go bad. And when it does…it really lets you know… in a foul and stinky way. If the temperature in your garage falls below 50°F or rises above 72°F, your previously opened cans will likely not last for more than 2 years.
If you have perfectly good cans of paint, but they just aren’t your color anymore, check your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore to see if they will accept it.
If you need to dispose of paint, I have found the easiest way is to grab the cheapest bag of kitty litter that you can and dump some in the wet paint. The litter will absorb the paint and turn it basically into concrete. Then you are safe to toss it in your trashcan. (I know that we are, but I would check your local waste and recycling rules.)
I love to paint, not so fond of cleaning paintbrushes. As such, my paint shelf is typically littered with paintbrushes that are…well, not as effective as they were when the bristles weren’t stuck together. Those need to go in the trash and if you are like me, you will take (another) oath to do a better job cleaning paintbrushes! 😉
Check your local, county, or city Hazardous Waste and Recycling Services to see if you can recycle fertilizers or chemicals. If not, check with your local waste management or trash service.
Failing both of those, double or triple wrap your chemicals in plastic bags, tape them up and put them in the trash. Don’t dump them down your sinks or sewers.
That string of Christmas lights that just need a couple of lights replaced…for the past 5 years. Or that light-up pumpkin that was fun when you had kids, but not so much anymore. Recycle or trash as appropriate, but they definitely help add clutter to your garage.
You know you have them…those weights you knew you were going to use to get all buff or those roller blades purchased with the best of intentions. I know from experience that the ReStore or Goodwill will gladly accept them! Depending on what you have, consider selling them Facebook Marketplace.
While we still have a wee bit more organizing to do to get the garage to function at its best, our decluttering accomplishment prompted my husband to actually post on his Facebook account the fact that we were able to get both cars in the garage!
It may not be quite as organized as we want, at least our Cluttered Garage has been tamed!
I have a box problem. I have acknowledged it and am working on it…but nevertheless, it is a real challenge for me. I mean, when Amazon sends me a perfectly good box, I have a very hard time just recycling it!
That being said, I am limiting myself to one box of each size…which just cut my box stash by 90%!
If you do have suitcases or other travel bags to donate, check in with your local Social Services to see if they can be used by children in the Foster Care system.
This may be something you accomplish as each holiday rolls around, but if you have holiday decorations that never make it out of the box, it is probably time to donate them to Goodwill.
Ugh! If your attic is anything like mine, it can be a black hole for those items that you have a hard time parting with, but don’t know what to do with.
I have a large box of old (like 60+ years old) slides that my parents inherited when my grandfather passed. My parents left those slides in the attic when they moved because they didn’t really want them, so now it is my turn to figure out what to do with them. I need to make some hard decisions.
But in all honesty, they are probably ruined after sitting in an attic with our heat and humidity. This is another reason to avoid putting those sentimental items up there! The heat and humidity will damage paper, fabric. leather, photos, etc…
It is items like these that are hard for many of us. I encourage you to pop over to this post on 10 questions to ask yourself when decluttering to see if answering them will help you decide what to do with some of these sentimental items.
So, when you cleaned your office you put the extra printer in the attic because it still works but you don’t need 2 in your office. Once again, the attic is the worst place to store electronic equipment because of the extreme temperature changes from hot to cold.
If you don’t need it in your office, you probably don’t need it in your attic. Donate it somewhere that it could be used.
Once again, the heat and humidity are not doing any favors to your clothing. And, if items have been up there for 2 years, you aren’t wearing them and they need to go somewhere so that someone who really wants them can wear them.
I’d love your input. I plan to add to the lists to make them even more comprehensive and greatly appreciate your suggestions.
So, armed with this motivation, grab your Garage and Attic Declutter Checklist and let the Decluttering Scavenger hunt begin! Pop back in with your successes or challenges! How many items were you able to check off of your list?
Leave a comment below answering one of these two questions. On February, 28, I will randomly draw one comment from all 6 of the posts for the gift card. That way if you fall behind, you can still catch up. You can enter twice for each post if you would like, answering each of the questions related to each post.
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