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LifeBalance Blog

Clear Car, Garage, & Outside Clutter

No one wants to hang out indoors to weed out during the summer—unless it actually is too warm to be outside and then you can go for it. Summer is a great time to freshen up your vehicle, clean out the garage, and tackle your outdoor clutter. Pick a nice weekend day and get started!

Begin with the car. Pull it out on the driveway and empty out anything that has accumulated in the car that doesn’t really belong there. Cars have many little storage spots. Check in the doors, under the seats, between the seats, the glove box, the center console area, and of course, the trunk. What has been stuffed into these compartments that doesn’t belong there? What lingers there that you no longer need? You may be surprised.

While these areas are cleared out, take the time to wipe them down and clean them out as well. Wipe down the dashboard and other areas. Shake the road grit off the floor mats. Consider vacuuming too. You may spend quite a bit of time in your car. You deserve to have it fresh and clean for you.

Next comes the garage. While the car is pulled out, take a careful look at what has been accumulating in the garage. Sell, donate, recycle, and put things away! If you need to, make a trip to the home store to get some garage shelving and hooks. My husband recently helped a condominium owner’s garage go from chaos to tidy with some basic inexpensive shelving. You can do this too.

While you are at it, clean the garage. Sweep or use a shop vacuum to clean up the floors and knock the cobwebs down from the corners, windows, and garage door tracks. If you already have shelving or cabinets in the garage, take the time to weed them out too. It will make coming home more pleasant for you. You deserve this.

Yard clutter includes many things. First, let’s think about stuff. Do you have children’s toys or swing sets that are now outgrown? Is there a sandbox that isn’t being used? This is a great time of year to pass on or sell these.

What about weed clutter? Think mulch, a pre-emergent called Preen, and maybe even landscape rocks. This is the time to complete these projects. It also can be relaxing and a nice time to connect with nature to simply go out and pull weeds for a while instead of just look at them! We get weeds coming up in the landscape rock sometimes. It has been therapeutic for me to simply spend a little time walking around the house and pulling them out.

Is there nature clutter? Well, I guess that depends on your style. How “orderly” do you like your plants and shrubs to be? If strays, offspring, or out-of-place branches visually bother you in your outdoor space, take the time to walk around with a good pair of branch clippers. Reducing visual clutter even outside may add to your enjoyment of your spaces.

House clutter if you have a house: Consider cleaning or hiring a professional to get the outside of your home cleaned. There are companies who do this and there are home or rental power washers too. Be careful so you don’t take off paint or damage your siding or finish. Wasp nests, mildew, and plain old dirt in hard-to-reach places can creep up on you as the years go by. Is it time to clean the windows or to get the windows professionally cleaned? Some companies will even clean your screens for you. Sometimes two people can get a lot done in a few hours—one to wipe down dirty sills and frames and one to clean the glass? If it feels daunting, make it a team effort or tackle only a window or two at a time starting with the ones that you see the most often.

If you have a patio or deck, take a look at these areas too. De-clutter them. Freshen them up. Sweep, power wash, or paint as needed depending on your surfaces. It is nice to have well-maintained outdoor spaces to enjoy.

Finally, stop dirt at the door. Visitors using the front door can remove shoes there. Think about taking that a step further, especially in the summer—have family members remove their shoes in the garage or even out on the step before entering the house. This is the perfect time of year to clean all the dirty doorsills at all entrances to the home—including garage entrances and sliding patio doors. I even like to brush my dog and trim her nails outside. It gives the birds something to work with for nest building and it keeps that hair and dirt out of my home. Why even let dirt in the door? Sand and dirt are hard on most kinds of flooring. I try to leave the dirt outside or in my garage rather than bring it into my home.

All of these tasks and the simple doorway habits to change take less time and effort than you imagine and will give you a more peaceful and calming space to enjoy. You deserve this and yes, you can do this!


Barbara Tako is a clutter clearing motivational speaker and author of Clutter Clearing Choices: Clear Clutter, Organize Your Home, & Reclaim Your Life, a seasonally organized book of clutter clearing tips readers may pick and choose from to fit their personal style. She is also a breast cancer and melanoma survivor who wrote Cancer Survivorship Coping Tools—We’ll get you through this. Her website is

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