Is your garage looking more like an episode of Hoarders than a functional space? Now that it’s finally spring, it’s time to tackle that disaster zone, get rid of useless junk, and take back your storage space. TKI is here to help you get started on this ambitious project.

Commit, Commit, Commit.

It’s going to take some time. It’s best to set aside a full mild-weathered weekend to make the most of your garage overhaul. To make it a bit easier, enlist family members to join the project, or offer a six-pack to some willing friends.

Start with a Blank Canvas

If space allows, yank everything — yes, everything — out of your garage. This will give you a better idea of what this space could look like. At a minimum, do a clean sweep of dust, dirt and cobwebs before you start organizing things back into the garage. If you are feeling ambitious, consider painting the walls, caulking holes and gaps, or laying an epoxy sealant down to impress the neighbors.

Get Organized

Set out clean tarps or use chalkboard to divide your driveway into designated zones. Have 4 designated piles: keep, donate/sell, trash, and action. An action pile includes items you have borrowed from friends or neighbors and need to give back, things that need to be repaired, or things that should be in your kitchen, basement, etc.

Take note of items that need special disposal, like expired chemical cleaners and paint, or broken appliances. Think about how you currently store things. Can you move anything inside or find a home that makes more sense? This will stop you from just relocating your junk and — just maybe — you’ll actually make use of it.

Keep Your Nose to the Grindstone

Now it’s time to get serious. Take a look at what you use. A good rule of thumb: besides expensive equipment, if it hasn’t been used in 12 months, it’s most likely that you won’t need to hold on to it. Be honest with yourself. Do you want to keep 2 boxes full of garden lanterns, or do you want an extra few feet of walking space? Do you really need three massive, inflatable Santas?

Rethink Your Floor Plan

Take your storage vertical. Invest in clear plastic, stackable plastic bins that are well labeled. Use sleek, ready-made shelves, hooks, or pegboards to keep things organized. Create zones of storage for easy accessibility. All gardening equipment should be stored together as should all outdoor toys, sports equipment, and so forth. Bulky equipment should be kept in corners where they won’t get damaged. Store rarely used items and seasonal stuff like holiday décor in hard-to-reach places like sturdy ceiling rafters.

Deal with It Now

Don’t let all the stuff that you are getting rid of sit around. Donate it to charity or haul it off to the junkyard now. Tackle that action box now. Your objective is to create space and organization, not to just create organized piles of junk. If you need some help unloading your unused appliances, underappreciated furniture, and—let’s be honest—your unsightly junk, haul it all to a community clean-up in your area.

Not sure where to drop off your junk? Tom Kraemer, INC is offering a community clean-up in Cold Spring on May 7th and in Glenwood May 21st — we’d love to take it off your hands!

Lastly, relish in the fact that you have finally cleared out and organized your garage. Once you’ve crossed the finish line, take a second to start making plans for the summer — expand on your home improvement, make a hobby space, add a second fridge for easy summer access to adult beverages — the possibilities will open up!