How (and why) to give your garage a makeover

From my just published article in the Fall 2010 issue of Northbank Magazine:
(see photos illustrating a successful garage makeover )

Joy Overstreet Feng Shui garage makeoverThis may have been the year you were going to remodel the kitchen, buy new furniture, move to a bigger home, or downsize to something smaller.  Unfortunately the economy has deflated your wallet and those dreams are on hold.

Are you stuck?

Not at all. This is the perfect time to give yourself a huge energetic boost by clearing out the worst room in the house – your garage. All you need is long weekend, a big table, some empty boxes, and a few cans of colorful paint.

Three of the most basic principles in feng shui are that everything is changing, everything is alive, and everything is connected. So how do these principles relate to the state of your garage?

Everything is changing. Life is series of continuous cycles. We are constantly changing but our stuff often stays static, which holds us back. We need to let go of our past lives to make space for living in the present and preparing for the future.

Everything is alive – not just on a molecular basis, but symbolically. Our things talk to us, whether we’re conscious of the conversation or not. When they reproach us for not fixing them, putting them away or using them, our energy is drained. When they remind us of a beloved aunt or special accomplishment we feel encouraged.

Everything is connected. Changes in one area of your life have a ripple effect in either a positive or negative direction. When you drive into the garage at the end of the day and see chaos, you feel defeated before you even enter the house. When it’s organized and cheery, you’ll enter smiling, ready for anything.

Here’s the garage clearing process.

  1. Back the cars out and take “before” pictures of each wall, so you can admire your progress later.
  2. Set up the table as a staging area where you can sort things into piles – first putting related stuff together (athletic, garden, shop tools, holiday, etc).
  3. Set up five empty boxes into which you’ll sort each category: YES YES– we use it, need it, love it and it works; YES BUT – it needs fixing or to be stored elsewhere; NO – sell or donate; NO – recycle; NO – trash can.  Be ruthless here!
  4. Remove all but the YES YES and YES BUT boxes, then contemplate what kind of storage system would best hold what’s left. Metal racks? Fresh boxes? Cupboards? Wall hooks? Acquire those and put them in place.
  5. Sweep, dust, then apply fresh paint in cheery colors. How about hanging some attractive posters on the wall?
  6. Fix or let go of what was in the YES BUT boxes, then put everything you’re keeping in its proper home, clearly labeling the contents of storage boxes.
  7. Dispose of all the NO box contents. (List things for free on Craigslist and they’ll be gone in the blink of an eye!)
  8. Take “after” pictures and marvel at what you’ve done.

Should your wallet fatten again and you decide to move, it will be much easier to do so with a clear garage. Meanwhile you’ll feel so good you might want to tackle that horrible closet.

If the prospect of this sort of project gives you the colly-wobbles, and you’re in the Portland Vancouver metro area, give me a call at 360-314-2467. I can help.

This entry was posted in Before and After: Homes and Workspaces, Color inspiration: home and nature, De-clutter, simplify, downsize, It's all feng shui and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How (and why) to give your garage a makeover

  1. Pingback: Setting an intention for your home: sankulpa | | Creating Joyful SpacesCreating Joyful Spaces