Garage Clean-Out (and where to take the stuff!)

garage clean-out garage clean-out

OK, so I’ll admit it, our garage had gotten a little bit out of control (maybe a little bit of an understatement). Projects like this can be daunting, in part because it can be hard to know where to go with everything! Here’s how I cleared out a ton of stuff, and exactly what I did with it!

1. Assess the stuff

  • I found baby items, paint cans, old Halloween costumes, old furniture, and Ross’s college papers and that’s just to name a few! I mean, does Ross really need his college papers?

2. Junk

  • My goal was to recycle or donate most things, but I still had quite a bit of junk to toss. I thought about calling a junk removal company, but I’m glad that I rented a dumpster for three days. It is so much less money and you can purge less frantically.

3. Old electronics

  • I found my old big Mac Pros that I spent a lot of time with back in the day. There was a newer one that was working that I transferred all the data and donated it. The old broken one I recycled at Best Buy, which was super easy except for saying goodbye.

4. Paint

  • Call ahead but you can return water-based paints to most paint stores as long as the label is still on.

5. Donations

  • Be realistic with the stuff that’s just sitting around. I had a lot of maybes from my closet purge so I finally took them to Goodwill and this is also a great way to teach kids one way they can help others. If your neighborhood has a local Buy Nothing group, that’s a great option, too, for stretching the use of items you no longer need.

6. Baby stuff

  • I wanted to take some of my nicer strollers to the Baby2Baby charity cause I knew it would find a fantastic home. Churches take these items or of course, friends with younger kids.
  • My tip here is to have them come to pick it up on the day you’re cleaning so that it actually happens.

7. Recyclables

  • I had too much to fit into my bin, so I ended up piling everything into my trunk and Googled recycling centers. I thought I was going to a small recycle machine but ended up finding myself in the hub of Santa Monica recycling and, wow, this is definitely not how I imagined it. There were people sorting through all of the stuff and it gave me a new appreciation for what happens to our recyclables after they leave our homes. I was very glad to separate my items and put them in the labeled bins they had outside.

8. Husband stuff

  • This was the hardest to tackle! We gave Ross some moral support, a beverage of his choice, and then I took all three kids out with me. While we were there we picked up some bins and were very proud of the progress when we returned!

Finally, we took all the things we were keeping and put them in some bins like costumes, holiday decor, sentimental items, and we were able to admire our cleaned-out garage. One you can actually walk through and even park two cars. Crazy to think about how it started before. It feels so much better now. If you guys are in the same position I hope this inspires you and gives you some tips on how to tackle your garage.

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Elle Walker is a co-founder at What's Up Moms and the mom to three kids (10, 7, 5). In her spare time, she loves testing out kids activities (often muttering, "Pinterest, you lie"), to find the best activities that minimize set-up, reduce costs, and uses stuff up around the house. Follow her behind the scenes at Instagram @whatsupelle. {{Privy:Embed campaign=591322}}