Since my garage will never be clean, I had to say cleaner instead of clean. But your garage may not double as a workshop like mine, and that would make it much easier to keep clean. I would love to have a garage that has nothing in it but cars. But that's not my reality. My garage has to be able to convert from car space to work space quickly and easily.
This post came about because our garage/shop had gotten so cluttered and covered with sawdust that it was actually dangerous. So in total disgust Saturday, I pulled everything out of one bay of the garage and started cleaning and culling. As I cleaned, some areas were easier than others and I made notes on what worked and what didn't.
This is what worked.
1. Keep as much as possible off the floor.
I built a ledge above the floor to put folding tables and my step stool. It makes sweeping the floor a breeze - as long as no one leans more stuff against it.
Originally, I just cut some wedges out of 2x4's and screwed them into studs, set a 2x4 on top and screwed it into the wedges, and then put a strip of 1x2 on front to keep doors from sliding off. The tables are also held in by bungee cords attached to hooks in the wall. When I bought another table, I had to rebuild it to make it deeper.
2. Put rollers on cabinets or attach to wall above the floor.
With rollers on cabinets, especially if they hold tools, you can roll them away from the wall to sweep. The cabinet that doubles as kitty steps has wheels on the back and blocks on the front for stability. I found that even with wheel locks, a twenty pound cat hurtling through the air can move a small cabinet, and make an acrobat out of a cat.
I attached shelf brackets to the walls to hold our hardwood scraps. It keeps them off the floor, and keeps them flat. It also helps me sort them by size and type.
3. Hang things on walls. (Antlers and horse shoe optional.)
Each thing hung on the wall is one less thing that has to be picked up and moved to clean behind it. Or, if you are like me, if there is a bunch of stuff on the floor in the corner, it never gets moved.
4. Have a place for everything.
That old adage, a place for everything, and everything in its place, is so true. I've had small paint supplies in the red chest from the beginning, but the cat steps were just stuffed with, well, stuff. So I rebuilt the top cabinet to fit (it used to hang over), and put long pegboard hooks in it for paint brushes and can openers. I just happened to have an extra cabinet door for it too. Cool.
Today I built the cabinet on the right out of leftover v-groove board from the ceiling project. It still needs a shelf, but it will hold all the caulking, caulking guns, paint rollers, spackling. I'd like to have doors for everything so it's out of sight, but that may never happen either.
5. Have the right cleanup tools and keep them handy.
(See the photo with #3.)
A wide shop broom works better on a garage floor than a kitchen broom, though a kitchen broom is better for corners and crevices. With the amount of sawdust we produce, an oversized dust pan works best too. We also have a garbage can for take out trash and one for wood scraps so the pieces don't end up underfoot.
Once everything was out of the garage and sorted, I found that we had an inordinate amount of wood scraps, odd size screws, and paint. Waaay too much paint. I tossed a lot of wood scraps that had been in buckets on the floor for over a year and only kept what would fit on the shelves. What started as two buckets for small scraps had turned into a pile of wood on the floor, making it hard to get to the wood in the shelves and impossible to find anything in the pile.
Then I called the neighbors and told them that the next time they wanted to try out a paint color or in need of a piece of wood, to browse my garage first and I'm going to call them before buying another can of trial paint. That shelf of paint is two and three deep, and there is still a stack in the I-don't-know-what-to-do-with-this pile.
In case you are wondering what I found that didn't work, it's stuff for future projects. There are a couple of tables in pieces, chairs, a headboard, and an old counter top. These things are not only in the way, there isn't a place for them. As much as it pains me, I'm not going to buy another project piece unless I am ready to begin working on it.
The Shabby Nest: Frugal Friday