Garage Clean-up

For a well-packed garage, allow several days for a complete job. I am a semi-retired remodeling contractor and rental property owner. Therefore my 2 car garage is packed right to the doors with tools and supplies.


Start by placing a sign in the yard that you are "not" having a garage sale. I bring out several large trash barrels and set them close to the overhead door on one side as I will not finish both bays in a day.

I start hauling out the large power tools and such and start setting similar items together in the driveway. This is a good time to blow off dust and debris with your air compressor. If I spot something that is broken, I make a note of it. Then I bring out the smaller stuff and sort it the same as above.

Items that are used up or broken beyond repair go in the trash cans. Items that are OK, but I won't use anymore go in a box or a pile for a garage sale or donation. The good stuff is already being sorted as I go.

When everything is out, I give the floor a good sweeping with a soft push broom, then vacuum the floor and the walls with a shop vacuum. One might also want to mop the floor. I wipe down the ceiling and the walls with a dust mop or a soft push broom.


If I am rearranging, I make a mental plan of where the "keeper" stuff will be located and start bringing it back in. If you use cardboard boxes, set them on pallets or strong shelving rather than on the bare concrete. If you store items in boxes or totes, and these are damaged beyond use, leave that until last and put everything else away. If you have a source for boxes, use it. If you use totes, go get them and re-pack the stuff that had been in damaged containers. Place these items where they belong. Marking boxes with the contents is not a bad idea.

Even though there may be some day left, don't start on another bay. Stop, get a snack and a cool drink and relax. You can do the other bay on another day.

If the walls and ceiling are going to need painting, have those supplies on hand before you start. As soon as you have the floors clean and the ceiling and walls cleaned, cover the floor and anything you don't want painted and get to work on that.


Cleanliness is key to a decent utility paint job like this. Large sheets of corrugated cardboard are good to cover the floor and some plastic sheets are good to cover stuff in the other bay. Don't get paint on the floor especially if it is concrete. It will never come off and a subsequent buyer will think you are a slob, even though your garage has a fresh paint job. Patch holes in sheetrock with drywall patch; dab repair filler in old nail or screw holes and rub it flush to blend with you finger; shoot a coat of spray KILZ over greasy marks after cleaning off what will come off. If you paint the inside of the garage doors, don't get paint on the track, rollers, or the lock.

Paint the ceilings and walls with a house brand of wall paint in a light color; if you have several partial gallons of light colored wall or house paint, mix them together in a 5-7 gallon bucket. Use 'em up if you don't plan to use them in the house again. If your salvaged paint has a rubber sheet on the top of the liquid, remove the rubber thing with a stick and discard, then dip out large solids. Run the remaining liquid paint through a strainer before using. If it is all solid just throw it away. There is no saving it.


Each garage bay will require about 3-5 gallons of paint to do the walls and ceiling with one heavy coat, depending on how long it has been since it has been painted. Allow about 5-7 gallons to do a 2 bay garage.

If you have access to an airless sprayer, that will make quick work of the project, but watch for overspray and make sure your liquid paint is free of any remaining solids. A good fluffy roller 3/4" or longer nap will do if you use that. Get a good quality roller cover, a good quality roller frame, and an adjustable extension pole. To paint out of a tray or the 5 gallon bucket, you will also need a roller grid to remove the excess paint from your roller after you reload it in the bucket. Use it gently.

Should you have large holes that require a multi-step repair, just paint around them and save enough paint for your later touch-up after the large repairs have been finished.


During warm weather, the paint should be dry in about an hour or so and you can move your stuff back in. If it is sluggish about drying, bring in a large fan to hurry it up. Remember to leave some access to any large repairs that will require going back in to finish.

It's always good to have some help with a project like this, but not too much help or help that will require a lot of training or supervision.

Good luck on your project.

Source: This tip was inspired by years of experience cleaning out my garage(s) every few years and painting for over 30 years

By Dan M. from Lubbock, TX

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August 1, 20110 found this helpful

I wish you were in Houston! You could advertise in the church paper to help single moms/elderly, etc!

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