Updated: Aug 9
Those of us who own a home will say we have a favorite room in the house. For some, it's the kitchen. Others will say their bedroom. Maybe it's a game room or media room. Perhaps a library or home office. No matter what your favorite room is, most likely it's not the most important room in the house. That distinction belongs to the garage.
When we define a garage we often say it's the part of the house where we park our cars. The reality is much more than that for most of us.
The Garage is the Hub
Our garages are what connect the inside of our homes to the outside world. Almost everything that enters a house and leaves a house flows through the garage. Order a new appliance? Most likely its brought in through the garage. Looking to donate a few bags of old clothes? Chances are you are temporarily housing those bags in the garage. The flow of goods, products, and people usually passes through the garage.
The Garage is Our Storage Unit
Have you priced a storage unit lately? During a time when everything is pricing itself to new highs, renting a storage unit is a luxury that most of us pass on. However, most of us have a lot of crap. Unless you have a walk-in attic or a dedicated storage room like my parents did in their old home, you are probably storing all those seasonal decorations and seldom-used small appliances in the garage.
The Garage is a Game Room
Unless you have a large enough home that has a dedicated game or media room, there are times when you need extra space for activities. Maybe you are hosting a football-watching party or you had to buy that ping-pong table. Your living room is too small so where do you turn? The garage of course!
The Garage is a Home Gym
Some of us like to work out but we don't like the cost of a gym membership or the perpetual narcissism of gym members. You know what I mean - you pay $75/month and you can't do your lifting because some douchebag is taking flex selfies in the mirror while blocking the racks. So we say fuck that guy and this gym and turn to our garages to set up and use with the equipment we bought.
The Garage is a Second Pantry
Most people I know that have garages have a second refrigerator in it. A lot have deep freezers. Depending on climate control, others have storage bins for bulk items such as extra tp, paper towels, and packaged snacks. Thank you, Costco!
The Garage is a Workshop
All those home projects we love to do after watching HGTV, we either do them or stage them in the garage. Workbenches and power tools allow us to restore furniture, replace fences, make curb appeal dreams come true, and construct all sorts of contraptions for our lives. It's how suburban dads show off to their fellow fathers in the never-ceasing neighborhood peacocking.
Don't Trash the Garage
However, the garage can also be the root cause of "nothing ever gets done around here." Because of its importance and strategic location, if a garage is a wreck, then all those Honey-Does and DIY projects get delayed. You know what that means, right? It creates the "if Momma ain't happy, none is happy" effect.
Tips for Organizing and Maintaining the Garage
Unless you are using your garage just to park your vehicles, you need a plan for your garage to not only use it effectively but keep it from turning into this:
Define what your garage is going to be. In my case, it is storage, workshop, and home gym.
If defining multiple uses, such as I do, delineate dedicated areas to prevent conflict, overlap, and clutter. I don't want to be ducking under bikes and stepping over tools if I am doing a workout.
Organize! Use good shelving and durable totes to store, stack, and protect your items.
Eliminate the junk. For some that is hard but if something is stored with no intended use, remove it. Offer it to family, friends, or donate.
Paint the walls and if you can, treat the floor. A garage with a finished look is more appealing than the typical unfinished look that home builders leave behind. Even if you are just parking cars, it helps.
Keep your garage clean. Treat it like you would the rest of your home.
If you can, keep enough free space available for your most valued vehicle. In my home, we park in the driveway but if the weather is really bad (hail, tornadoes, ice storms, snow), we pull my wife's car into the garage. Nothing is worse than the weather sirens going off and trying to frantically clear enough space to pull the car in.
If you utilize your garage for more than just a covered parking space, tell us what you do in the comments.