Messy garage

Photo: Daniel Tsay

Call in the Troops
Walsh recommends a labor exchange with similarly clutter-challenged friends and family: Tackle your garage one weekend, theirs the next. "It makes the task at hand a social event instead of a dreary chore," he says. It also makes an overwhelming undertaking doable in a single day.

Photo: Daniel Tsay

Rent a Dumpster
"People chronically underestimate just how much trash is in their garage," says Walsh (for example, Allison had originally thought the unwanted contents would fit in just a few borrowed trash cans). "For not very much money—usually about $200 to $400—you can get a ten-yard Dumpster delivered and picked up, which is so worth it." Google "Dumpster rental" and the name of the city nearest you to compare prices. If you really don't think you can fill the whole thing, share the cost with a neighbor.
Kay Johnson in her garage

Photo: Daniel Tsay

Know Your Zones
"What do you want your garage to be used for?" asks Walsh. Parking? Storage? Maybe woodworking? Make every area its own zone, based on use, and keep only the things that fit in each.
Plastic bins


Put it in Plastic
"Rodents can get inside the engine of your car, where they'll chew the coating off the wires," cautions Walsh. Make them feel unwelcome by banishing nesting materials like paper and fabric from your garage, or sealing such materials in labeled plastic bins.

Photo: Brand X Pictures

Corral Chemicals
"Never put paint and chemicals in the trash or down the drain," says Walsh. "They can contaminate the soil and groundwater." Visit; the site's recycling directory (or its iPhone app iRecycle) will list a collection facility near you.
Peter Walsh with the Johnsons in their garage

Photo: Daniel Tsay

Think Vertical
A sheet of particle board or medium-density fiberboard secured to the rafters creates a useful loft for deep storage. Frequently used items like tools can be affixed to a piece of pegboard or hung from hooks within easy reach.

Read more about Peter Walsh's life-changing garage makeover.