Remember that space on the side of your house that used to have room to hold your car?

Spring marks an ideal time for clearing out and cleaning your garage. The weather is warm enough now to hold things outside in the driveway if a second day for the project is needed, and it’s more comfortable before the sweltering dog days of summer.

The most effective way to begin is to remove absolutely everything from your garage and group like items together in clusters on your driveway, for instance, all bikes and sporting equipment in one area, garden tools in another, etc. If you own a backyard party-tent, placing that near the driveway to hold things under is a good idea if you have a large volume of stuff to unload. During this sorting process, you should also be discarding anything that’s broken or no longer needed, or consider making a give-away or a to-sell pile for an upcoming tag sale.

When your garage is empty, sweep the floor and stand back to look at the basic overall condition of the room. Is it in need of any repair such as loose shelving and so on? A few years ago, during one of my own annual garage clearings, I actually used this empty garage time to paint the walls (a nice sunny yellow) and I applied a beige speckled epoxy garage floor paint, which is great for easy cleaning and for eliminating dust. I even put up curtains on the garage windows, some framed artwork on an empty wall, and had a kitchen counter and cabinets installed on another wall for a great way to maximize storage space. To finish up my garage re-do, I had more garage shelving installed and I ordered vinyl floor mats to fit underneath the cars.

My garage now serves as an extension to my kitchen with extra pantry/appliance storage and it looks nice, to boot. While you certainly don’t have to go to that extent, you’ll find that it’s the old ripple effect, regardless. You start with one corner and keep adjusting the rest of the space to keep up.

Make sure you have ample shelving in your garage. Your goal should be to get most things up OFF the floor and utilize vertical storage place. Store your heaviest bins or objects on the bottom shelves and least used items up on top. If your garage space is very limited, make use of the rafter space above your car or on the three walls above the height of your car.

Consider getting a storage shed if you have the room in your yard to move out some of the bulkier lawn supplies and lawn mower.

Plan a full day or two for your garage clearing project and keep these tips in mind:

Avoid the temptation to use your garage to store things to put away later. This is how junk accumulates.

Make sure there is adequate lighting in your garage with accessible light switches and outlets to run power tools or a vacuum for easy car cleaning.

Lay down a doormat next to the door of your car. Wipe your feet whenever you get in or out of the vehicle…and place another doormat at the garage entrance to your home.

Hang a tennis ball from the ceiling of your garage so that it just hits your windshield when you pull into the garage, so you’ll have a point of reference as to the best position to park, now that you have room for your car again.

Happy organizing.

Lisa Lelas is a bestseller author and speaker on productivity and book writing and speaking coach. For info on upcoming workshops: www.LisaLelas.com

Connecticut Media Group