Raise That Door Proudly!

How to reclaim your garage.

by Amanda LeBlanc     


How many of you have ever parked your car in the garage? How many wait until no one in the neighborhood is around to lift the garage door? Don’t even try to lie; remember I’m the one you tell when we run into each other on the street or when you just can’t take it anymore and you’re ready to make a change! I know the truth, and it’s OK, because mine has been there, too. Yes, there has been a time where my garage was a place to dump what I didn’t have time to deal with. And it’s my husband’s space, so I liked to blame it on him. Cue the devilish grin.

I’ll tell you a little story that will make you feel better. Early on in my organizing career, I had a client who called because she couldn’t get into her garage and needed to stop the insanity. Upon arriving, I realized she wasn’t joking; she literally couldn’t get into her garage. As we were working, I opened a bag of groceries that had somehow been forgotten and left in the garage. Inside was a package of hot dogs. No joke—hotdogs that had been in there for I don’t know how many months with maggots and mold. Seconds later, a mouse chased me right out the door. Truth? I wasn’t bothered at all by the rancid meat, but the mouse scared the you-know-what out of me. What I have learned through my years of helping families reclaim their lives by reclaiming their homes is that I am appalled by nothing. I am not fazed by the mess. All I see is the after, and let me tell you, the after is always life-changing.

So are you ready to take on the garage? If so, here are some great tips to turn your garage into the envy of the neighborhood!

1. You don’t need a lawn mower and a lawn boy. There are a few tools and lawn items everyone should have, but if you have never cut your own yard, then we don’t need to have everything a professional landscaper has. My clients are always asking me, “What if?” No more what ifs! Sell or donate what you are no longer using. I have had clients hold onto lawnmowers just to find out that they have rusted out or are no longer usable.

2. Think vertical. You need more storage in your garage, but you also need the center cleared in order to park your car. So, what do you do? Use your wall and go up! I am a huge fan of Organized Living’s freedomRail storage that allows you to easily install adjustable and customizable solutions, and they are available at great prices. One of my favorites in the freedomRail line is the grid system. I love how easy they are to install and that they have a ton of hook items, which allows you to organize anything from kids’ outdoor toys to yard tools and even holiday décor.

3. A garage can look nice, too. Yes, it’s a garage. But your garage should be an aesthetically pleasing space as well. I’m originally from New Orleans, and we don’t park in our garages at all! We throw a rug down and put a window unit up to make it a playroom or a den. It took me a while after moving to Alabama to get the hang of parking in a garage. We might not be wallpapering it and lighting it with pretty lamps, but the garage can still have an attractive décor that makes it an enjoyable space to be in. I have said it a million times, but if you don’t love the space, then you are less likely to maintain it. Think about how you want the space to look, and then take some time to paint the walls or the floor, buy matching bins or add attractive but functional shelving.


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