5 Simple Steps to a Cleaner Space and a Happier Storage Hunter

cleaning storage unitsJunk and storage auctions kind of go hand in hand—practically any storage auction you win, no matter how profitable, is bound to have some junk. So where does that junk end up? Some people throw it away. Some people donate it to thrift stores…and others collect it in their garage until there’s no room for a car, or even a bicycle, for that matter. Although you might just have a bicycle somewhere in that mountain of stuff…but you wouldn't know that unless you cleaned your garage.

So how do you do it? It seems like a daunting task. It’s just you against this heaping pile of junk. Where do you start? You’re probably starting to freak out now, telling yourself that you’ll never be able to do this, you don’t have time…or the classic “I’ll do it tomorrow”.

Stop! That’s the exact mode of thinking that got you into this mess (literally) in the first place!

Take it easy. You can conquer this beast! All you have to do is break it down into more manageable steps. 5 steps, in fact, are all it takes!

1. Have a Plan

Don’t just assume you’re going to jump headfirst into this and come out of it with your sanity intact and a clean garage. Save yourself the stress and come up with a plan before you even start. Mark it on your calendar, even. For example, Friday can be spent disposing of all of the literal garbage. Saturday, take care of the broken, unusable gadgets. Sunday can be spent deciding what items you’ll keep, so on and so forth.

2. Learn to Let Go

When cleaning out any space, you have to let go of any attachment to the item, and look at it subjectively: if you haven’t sold it now, if you haven’t fixed it…chances are you never will. It’s a simple fact of human nature!

Is it broken? Throw it out. Can’t sell it? Donate it. Are you saving it just in case your great grandchild needs it? Get it outta here.

garage overflowing with junkSave yourself the time and the extra space, and donate it, or if it’s total junk, just throw it out. It’s not doing any good collecting dust in your garage. And even if you can sell it—is it really worth your time? Probably not. And think of it this way: at least you’ll get a tax write-off for donating!

This step may be the hardest, so be prepared to repeat it a couple of times before you get it right.

3. Sort it Out

After you've come to terms with letting go, you’re ready to sort! Make piles of what you’re throwing away, what you’re donating, and what you’re keeping. If you find that the pile of stuff you’re keeping is growing much larger than the other piles, go back to step 2 and repeat.

The stuff that you keep should be neatly organized on shelves and in storage bins. There should not be any junk drawers or miscellaneous piles (in fact, when you're done, you shouldn't have any piles at all). This is just leaving your job half done, and allowing those bad habits to sneak back in. Do not declare yourself done until everything is organized!

4. Take a Break!

If you’re getting too stressed out, just walk away. You’re way more likely to give up for good if your stress levels cause a mini-meltdown. Set yourself a 15 or 20 minute break, drink some coffee or have a snack, and get back to it! Just make sure you’re strict with yourself about your break allowances. Set an alarm on your iPhone or watch to let yourself know when your break is over. This step requires a good deal of self-discipline!

organized garage5. Reward Yourself

Goals are much easier to achieve if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Set yourself a reward for when you completely finish. Maybe you can buy a new storage unit after you've cleaned up your act. Or it could be much simpler, like going out for drinks or treating yourself to an expensive dinner. As long as it keeps you going, that’s all that matters!

There’s no denying it—this job is not going to be easy, and it can’t be done overnight. But just think of how great it will feel to have all of that extra space, and only half of the stress than before you started. Now there’s actually room to fit good merchandise from your auctions, and you can start making some serious money. If you can adhere to these 5 simple steps, you’ll have beautified your space in no time!


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