7 Things to Get Rid of in Your Garage or Basement Right Now
There’s never been a better time to tackle these long-avoided storage spaces.
The basement or garage is one of those spaces you can easily put off organizing for years (er, decades) until a big move or major life change finally forces you to face the clutter. By that point, the accumulated lawn equipment, sports gear, outdated electronics, and paint cans have piled up pretty high. Typically, the frenetic pass of our lives would make us avoid such time-consuming organization chores—but this year, as the coronavirus pandemic has inspired more of us to spend time at home and embrace a slower pace, some of us have gone on a serious quarantine decluttering kick. Once you’ve wrangled the junk drawer and purged your closet, here are seven things you can declutter from your garage or basement. Get rid of these items right now, and you won’t miss them.
Here’s the deal: once opened, a can of paint generally only lasts for about two years. Especially when stored in a basement or garage, the temperature fluctuations can cause the paint to go bad more quickly. If you open a can of paint and it has a sour smell or has thickened, it’s time to toss it.
To safely dispose of the paint, you’ll want to turn it into a solid by mixing it with kitty litter. Let the mixture dry out for one hour before throwing it away.
The lacrosse stick from the team your child quit five years ago, the basketball that hasn’t seen a court in a decade—if you have kids, there may be some old sports equipment collecting dust in the garage.
If the gear is in good condition, consider donating it to your local recreation center—give them a call to see if they might be interested. Or consider selling your items on a site like playitagainsports.com, which is dedicated to used sports equipment and fitness gear.
Even if you know you’ll never use it again, getting rid of a bassinet, baby clothes, or changing table can be difficult for sentimental reasons. Giving these items to a friend, family member, or charity who can use them may make it easier to let go.
One caveat: check that gear like strollers and cribs don’t have any recalls (search for recalls here) and ditch older items that might not be up to modern safety standards.
As you collect new decorations each holiday season, it can be easy to amass more than you use. Look through your holiday stash, and if you haven’t touched that garland or tablecloth in the past two years, it may be time to pass it on.
When you stashed the VHS player in the basement circa 1998, you did so with the best of intentions. Surely, one day, you’ll want to watch those old tapes again. Fast forward a couple decades and you still haven’t. Take a look at the old electronics—record players, stereos, TVs—and decide if you’ll ever really use them again. If not, check Earth911 for a list of retailers or recycling centers that will take them.
That bread maker you were gifted at your wedding, the juicer that’s been neglected since the early 2000s. If you haven’t used an appliance in the past few years, it’s safe to say you may never use it. If they’re still in working condition, consider donating them to your local Goodwill. If not, some appliances may actually be recyclable.
Remember that chair you started to refinish—and then never finished? The basement or garage is a likely spot to store in-progress projects, but sometimes those projects get put on pause. When decluttering, it’s a good time to let go of any projects you don’t intend (be honest!) to complete.