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If you keep everything but your car in the family garage, it might be time to gather the family together to clean it up. In fact, if you make the chore a family affair, you could have some fun. Rosie’s suggestions:

  1. Make a plan. Before the big clean-up, call your city offices to learn when and where you can drop off household hazardous waste—items you’re not allowed to throw in the trash, like paint, broken computers and dead batteries—and to get a list of the items they accept. Likewise, find out what you can recycle and where you can drop off donations for local charities. That way, you won’t waste time on clean-up day trying to find out where to bring these items.
  2. Make it fun. Make cute invitations for family members and friends, asking them to join you on a specific date at a specific time for the clean-up. Be sure to promise free food like pizza. It’s one of the best ways to turn a chore into a party.
  3. Make a commitment. Once you set a date and time, don’t postpone it for any reason. Brace yourself to devote an entire day to the clean-up. Set an “end” time so your helpers know what they’re agreeing to, and honor that finishing time.
  4. Make a list of supplies you’ll need: extra-large trash bags; recycling bins or bags; boxes for donations; hoses, brooms, mops and rags, a leaf blower and a pressure washer. Get the supplies the day before so you won’t waste time on clean-up day running errands.
  5. Make signs for each pile of stuff and place the signs around the garage and driveway. Your signs might say: donations, recycling, trash, hazardous waste, bring to house, leave in garage, garage sale, etc. When your helpers arrive, they’ll have a place for every item they pick up.
  6. Make assignments. Ask each helper to pick up every item from one part of the garage and to deliver it to one of the piles. Let your helpers know that no item should remain untouched.
  7. Make trips to the various places where your garage “junk” should go: the trash can, the recycling center, the Goodwill drop box.
  8. Make a clean sweep. Once everything is out of the garage, hand out brooms to your helpers. Start sweeping from the top, starting with the ceiling, then the walls and empty shelves, and finally, the floor. Power up your leaf blower to get all of the dirt, dust and cobwebs out of the empty garage. A good pressure washing can make your garage look almost new. Wash everything in the room, from ceilings to walls to floors.
  9. Make a party. Ask everyone to carry the items in your “keep in garage” pile back into the garage and place them neatly on shelves and wall hooks, and around the perimeter of the garage. Drive your car into the garage, and order the pizza.

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