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Fifty percent of homeowners indicated their garage was the most unorganized part of their home. Many of us would be embarrassed if our neighbors saw the mess behind closed doors. While summer is the ideal time for fixing up our homes, refreshing our walls and doing yardwork – the storage of items associated with these projects often goes haywire. We’re here to give you some tips on how to tidy it up – and how to recycle those unused items. Now onto the organizing!

Pick-Up truck ready to be used for tidying a garage up

(photo credit: Ash B via Pexels)

1. Dispose of your flammable liquids safely

Flammable liquids are commonly stored in the garage or shed (if you have one), but if you no longer have use for these products, dispose of them safely by dropping them off (for free!) at one of our many recycling locations in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Ontario. Below are a few of the ones that most people are storing in their garage:

  • Gasoline: Unless you plan on using this for your car or boat, gasoline can often be forgotten about! You can bring your gasoline (in a ULC-approved gas can, or jerry can) to your nearest recycling location. To find a location near you, use our Recycling Locator.
  • BBQ lighter fluid & camping fuel: With camping season coming to an end, you may have some leftover BBQ lighter fluid or camping fuel. Look no further, you can bring it to the nearest location in British Columbia, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.
  • Other flammable liquids: Check out the Household Hazardous Waste section on our website to see what products are accepted in your province.
marshmallow in front of fire

(photo credit: Taryn Elliot via pexels)

2. Burned-out lights and old fixtures

Have you replaced the lightbulbs in your home and hidden the old ones in the garage? In the moment, you put them in a box and place it on the shelf but end up forgetting about it for months. You’ve told yourself you’ll get rid of them later, but it never happened. This is your push to dispose of them properly! If you’re in British Columbia, Manitoba, Quebec or Prince Edward Island, you can recycle them for free. Find out which light products are accepted in your province, by visiting our lights recycling program page.

If you’re in British Columbia, you can also recycle your light fixtures. Do you have any old lights or fixtures that are sitting in your garage and don’t go with the aesthetics of your space? You can either bring these to your local thrift store, sell on Facebook Marketplace, or bring the lightbulbs to your local recycling depot. Other fixtures you may find in your garage that are accepted in British Columbia’s program include: Bike lights, desk lamps, flashlights, string lights and more!

An alternative option for outdated lights and lamps is to give them a mini makeover! Paint the base and update the frame to suit your style. One of the biggest trends is adding some texture— you can find a cool spray paint or get creative and utilize our PaintShare program! Need inspiration for brightening up your lamps? Pinterest has an entire “Lamp Makeover” thread that’s pretty amazing. Give the lamp a new life and bring it back into your bedroom or living room.

lamp and side table beside bed

(photo credit: Meghan Markham via unsplash)

3. Organize your garage!

Many of us don’t have a rhyme or reason as to where we’ve placed things in our garage or storage unit. We all have those items that just sit there with no purpose. This is a great opportunity to go through everything and donate any of those possessions that don’t “spark joy” a la Marie Kondo. If you haven’t touched it in over a year, there’s no point in letting it take up space. We all like to keep those sentimental items – so if it brings nostalgia, find a way to keep that special item. If the actual item doesn’t suit your space, consider taking a photo of it so you can still cherish the memories that come with it.

Buying cute baskets and containers can make this task fun, while making your space look 10x better. Head to your local second-hand store or Buy Nothing group to grab some baskets/containers for your smaller trinkets. Have some fun with it and add labels to be even more organized.

Finally, get those shelving units in tip-top shape by giving them a good clean and adding some unique baskets. They don’t have to match to look cute and organized!

two wire baskets on table

(photo credit: Stephanie Studer via unsplash)

4. What to do with old paint?

Have you finished up all those summer renovation projects? If you’re up for a DIY project, check out these 4 ideas for your leftover paint, and get those creative juices flowing! If you’re not planning on using the leftover paint within the next year, you can bring it to your By recycling unwanted paint, you’re helping to protect the environment by keeping it out of landfills, soil, and water sources.

To learn more about what type of paint is accepted in your province, visit our paint program page.

paint roller on top of ladder

(photo credit: Ivan Samkov via Pexels)

5. Repurpose

Is there anything in your garage or storage unit that you’ve simply forgotten about? Maybe you had no use for it a few years ago, but it’s now a trendy item. Or maybe you have a new hobby that it would be perfect for. We recommend browsing Pinterest for some fun DIY ideas that can transform any of your pieces. Whether it’s adding a coat of paint, or putting it on display in your kitchen, you can always find ways to refresh a piece in your home.

flowers inside hanging light bulbs

(photo credit: Jagoda Kondratiuk via unsplash)

Let the nostalgia kick in, Happy organizing!

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