Because I am down one marketing rep this week, I get to write a blog. Recently I looked around my garage and shop and thought about how much it needed a good cleaning. This is extremely pertinent to people selling their home. For one the house needs to show well, and also the new owners don’t want your old tennis racquets, or camping set. This particular subject hits home to me, because when we moved into our current house, the previous owners left us a neon green child’s bedroom set and a trunk full of broken toys. I remember telling my wife, “I didn’t realize we could just leave the stuff we didn’t want”. I soon figured out why, the garbage company refused to take it (must have been the color) so for almost a year I had a corner full of “stuff” sitting in the garage. You wouldn’t know it, because I parked a non-running car in front of it and took the wheels off, which in my mind was better. I had every intention of leaving it for the next owners, but as the subdivision was developed I was able to dump small portions of the pile in my future neighbor’s giant trash bins. I was tactical about it, dropping pieces of the bed each week in multiple dumpsters. I imagined the man at the dump anticipating this week’s neon green piece of furniture.
So at this point in the game you have realized the need to clean the garage, now it is time to plan (I wanted to say plan ahead, but that is redundant as there is no other way to plan). You should set aside 12 – 18 hours depending on the severity of the garage. If you’re like me, you wait until it is impossible to actually do work or even start a new project. For those of you that actually park a car in the garage you can skip down a few paragraphs. I generally send my wife away on a “girl’s trip” so that I can actually get this task done. The gulf coast works well, because you get a 2 hour warning call when she is own her way home, so that you know you need to stop admiring the technology of an old carburetor you found and get back to cleaning.
I have seen medically spotless shops that look more like surgical centers than garages. These places are mysteries to me, I am not sure I would be able to find my tools in a place like that, Plus you would miss the surprise when you find something. These people have never used a rusty spring to fix the return on a riding lawn mower, or asked their wife to standby with a fire extinguisher while testing the make shift gravity fed fuel tank on an old motorcycle (I wonder what on earth she is thinking while standing there waiting to see if her husband goes up in a brilliant blue flame as the house gets filled with the smell of un-burnt fuel and screams), But back to the task at hand.
- I have found it is best to work from the top down, first hang the various flags and posters back up. They tend to fly off the walls when the garage door opens.
- Next use a shop vac to suck the cobwebs, and bug bodies out of the corners. Clean the nozzle first or you will leave oil stains on your walls. Be careful around those flags, or you’ll be pulling them out of the shop vac.
- Take down the bicycles hanging off the ceiling hooks and blow them off with compressed air, fill up the tires while the air compressor is out. (No one expects you to ride anytime soon, but flat tires on a hanging bike means you have completely given up on being healthy.)
- Now it is time to focus on the work bench, this becomes time consuming but essential. Don’t get side tracked by anything shiny. This is usually where I lose focus and start cleaning brake calipers, or rewiring an electric winch.
- Be honest about spare car parts, are you really going to need that radio out of a mid 90’s mustang. Go ahead and toss it, and get rid of that VW hubcap you found on the side of the road (unless you actually own/ed a VW, then there is sentimental value there)
- Stack various race tires, and wheels in a corner. These are great conversation starters when the neighbors visit.
- Next I like to rearrange the various vehicles, this does two things, allows access to the piles of dirt and rust that have accumulated under the vehicles, and gives a feeling of accomplishment. Be creative, I tend to sort by fun factor. Atv’s and Motorcycles to the front, lawn mowers and cars to the back.
- This is also a good time to wipe down the motorcycles, unless there is a lot of chrome involved. (polishing can eat up time)
- At this point a neighbor will show up (because the heavy work has been done) use this time to catch your breath, enjoy a beer, and catch up on current events.
- Pick up the fishing tackle and various rods and reels that get stuck in a corner, you can hang up a small amount of fishing equipment (in my opinion this adds a touch of class, especially fly rods) The rest can be stored in the trunk of an unused car.
- Collect all the old motorcycle, and car batteries and place in a cardboard box for recycling (5$ each) keep the dogs away, don’t rub your eyes and try to keep acid burn holes symmetrical on your shirt.
- Sweep up all the dirt, rust, dead bugs etc, if you feel the need you can mop at this point, but that seems snooty to me. I prefer to hose out the garage, with scrub brush and all green detergent.
- Sit back, admire your work and wait for comments from visitors.
Gareth Beale is the Marketing Director for Choice Title LLC, you can respond here, or contact him directly Gareth@choicetitle.com