The answers usually aren’t that easy. Unless you’re Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin. “What’s in my garage? Nothing, just my car.” Baldwin says.
I personally know what it’s like to have a car in the garage. It’s just not the one I thought it would be.
My husband, David Wangsness, will say, “There’s a very beautiful completely restored sports car,” in the garage. It’s true. I just wish the cars we drive were in the garage. We have not had cars that we drive in our garage since we have been married. It’s been 22 years.
It’s not just the 1969 burgundy Triumph but boxes from old storage units and our recent remodel. All in all, it sounds a lot like most folks, including Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor.
“What’s in my garage? A bunch of stuff,” Chancellor says. “Normal people stuff. Boxes, stuff, tires, a bunch of stuff from my old place there was a pool table. My car won’t even fit, I got too much stuff in there.”
I recently surveyed a small group of my friends. More than half of them used their garage for additional storage and 20% of them had boxes in their garage that had been there for more than 10 years. That’s a long time to take up space! The garage tends to be an out of sight, out of mind place to stash unwanted stuff, but professional organizer Linda Deppa of Uncluttered Northwest says it’s also one of the most inefficiently organized spaces in a home.
“People don’t use enough vertical space,” Deppa explained. “They use flat surfaces. They don’t use vertical walls and use things you can push against the walls. That means you can’t get your cars in, and you have a $30,000 – $60,000 vehicle sitting in your driveway and a couple thousand dollars of stuff in your garage. You’re not protecting your investment in the car.”
In some cases, the items they are protecting aren’t going to be worth the investment they made. One of my friends revealed she’s got a 46-inch screen television in her garage. It’s in perfect working order, and she’s saving it because she might need it one day.
Another friend admitted she, too, has a television screen in her garage. It’s mounted over the rowing machine she purchased but never used. At least the TV made it out of the box, which is more than one of my other friends can say about the brand-new color printer in her garage. It’s in mint condition because it’s never been taken out of the box. She purchased it eight years ago.
If you’re holding on to “stuff” because it might be useful one day, it might be time to have a conversation with a professional organizer like Linda Deppa who can help reclaim your space. Perhaps you know you’ve got interesting items that could be repurposed in your garage. One of my friends discovered luggage her husband used more than two decades ago. She could just toss it, (with her husband’s permission) or she could use her imagination and repurpose the luggage. That’s what an interior designer like Michele Bayle would do.
“It’s okay to be creative and think of new uses for your items,” Bayle says. “For example, I have a horse bridle that I used to hang a hand towel. That’s why I like to see people’s things, because I’m going to use it differently and in a way that you’ve never thought of before.”
It could also lead you to think of your garage in a different way, like as a place to park your car. (As in, the one you actually drive, David.)
So, what’s in your garage?
Redecorate, Remodel or Move provides resources and advice from industry experts who can help you answer the question, “Should I redecorate, remodel or move?” Our experts can also help with smaller projects, like organizing your garage. Download 10 Tips to Organize Your Home from Linda Deppa Today to get started today.