You’ve made a smart decision to make money from home and rent out your garage. Good for you. The problem is, you need to clean out your garage which hasn’t seen a broom since your son went to college four years ago. It’s okay. It happens to all of us. Clear a weekend off your schedule and follows these tips to declutter and get that garage renter-ready so you can grab top dollar for it.

1- Make a Game Plan

Pick a weekend with decent weather to clean out your garage. Even though you’ll be cleaning an enclosed structure, you’re going to be moving a lot of stuff outside so dry weather is best if you can get it. Don’t be afraid to call in favors from people who owe one. If you provide pizza and a cooler full of beverages, you can even call it a party if it will help bring them over. The more people you have helping, the faster it will get done, and the faster you can start making money.

2- Start with Triage

Depending on how much stuff you have, it can be an intimidating task to decide where to begin, so divide and conquer— that is, break your garage into smaller sections and attack whichever is easiest to access first (right side, left side, front, back, etc).

Use your yard, driveway, or alley to sort items into 4 sections: Keep, Give Away, Throw Away, and Sell. Sounds simple, but a lot of people get hung up on this process. To help decide, pick up each item and ask yourself the following questions:

Do I love it? 

Do I need it? 

Does it make me money? 

If the answer is yes to any of those questions, then put it in the “keep” pile. If the answer is no, or a lukewarm “Well, I don’t love it, but I remember how much I used to like these old mix tapes from 1989…” consider making an executive decision that you are clearing out the clutter in your life and drop it in the appropriate discard pile. The process of indiscriminately tossing things gets much easier when you make the commitment to get rid of excess junk

In the end, hopefully your sorted “Give Away” and “Throw Away” piles will be the biggest. Before you decide to put something in the “Sell” pile, decide if you want to commit the time and energy it will take to sell it, which means cleaning it, taking pictures, listing it, hosting the garage sale, etc. While selling some of your old stuff can certainly be profitable, a lot of items simply won’t bring in the type of cash that’s worth the effort. But if you’re ready to take on the challenge, then by all means go for it. Afterwards, give the unsold items to charity.

3- Move it Out

Start moving your stuff out once you have everything sorted. This is a good time to send someone to the grocery store to ask for their old cardboard boxes. Most stores are happy to be rid of them. Pack up everything you wanted to keep and move it to it’s new destination place. For things that you’ve decided to give away, load them in a pickup and send them to the nearest Salvation Army or second hand store. Remember to get a receipt for tax purposes. Next, load the pickup with the throw away items and drive it to the dump. Take your “Sell” items and start preparing them for the garage sale or the online listing.

4- Clean & Repair

Down the homestretch. Time to get out the cleaning supplies. Sweep out all the old cobwebs and litter that has accumulated in every corner. Get a bucket of soapy water and wipe down the walls and floor if you can. Don’t forget to look up and dust out rafters and ceiling corners. Make a note of anything that needs attention. Any nails sticking out of the walls, broken light fixtures, or holes need to be repaired. Safety and security will be a priority to any potential renter looking for a lock up garage to rent. Make sure that doors and windows have working locking mechanisms and that there are no potential hazards.

Phew! You did it! Take a moment to revel in your newly cleared out space and start thinking about all the extra income it’s going to bring in. Now you can list your space and make two people happy: the renter who needs the space and you who will providing a valuable service.

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