We store so many items to keep them in one place, and soon enough, we’re making such a clutter, we don’t even realize we’re creating an environment for creepy crawlers. Us SoCal folks rely on our garages as storage units since most homes don’t come with a good size attic or basement. That’s why the garage is notorious for harboring pests. We tend to take anything we don’t use to the garage. It’s time to use that space for what was meant for: your car. Here are some tips on keeping your garage de-cluttered and preventing it from being infested with those creatures of the night.

De-cluttering takes some thought: as you’re moving around in the garage, think about getting rid of things you haven’t used in a long while. Throw it out, have a garage sale or give it to good will. The more stored and less kept up, the more new homes you’re creating for spiders, mice, rats, termites, raccoons, lizards, mold and so much more. These creatures enjoy the warmth and moisture. Especially mice, they can turn into a full-blown infestation and your garage is the first place they head to before making their way into your room. They mate like crazy, so you might not be looking at just one mouse but an entire family of them. Plus, they’re loud and smell terribly.

Steps to declutter your garage:

Step 1: Make a plan. Make sure you have an exit route if your garage is stuffed full. Better safe than sorry.

Step 2: Don’t hold on to anything that you know you’ll never use again. Like that treadmill posing as a coat hanger. If you haven’t used it in all the years you’ve had it, it’s time to let it go.

Step 3: Get rid of those old moldy boxes. They are not waterproof and can contaminate your items with mold; rodents can nibble through them and ruin your possessions. Plus boxes can get flimsy and fall apart, especially with the help of termites.

Step 4: For the items you are keeping, get plastic bins with a cover. That way your keepsakes and trophies and even your winter/ summer clothes will be clean, and mold and pest free. Plus, it’s easier to store and keep out of the way.

Step 5: Shelves are your new best friend. The garage can become a tsunami of boxes and bikes and books and toys and tools and so on and so forth. For easy access, get shelves and even bike racks to organize.

Step 6: ORGANIZATION: Organize your garage. Make a section for each group of items you want together. Make a system you can remember, so you get to an item right away, instead of digging through a pile of mixed and jumbled items.

Step 7: Enjoy your pest and clutter free space!