In the midst of Rocky Mountain winters, a garaged-car owner is blissful, relaxed and more likely to start each day with a gleaming smile. As winter descends and dark, frigid mornings dig in for the long, cold season, there is something deviously luxurious about pulling the daily commuter into a clean and spaciously well-organized garage.
Actually, the luxury comes in the morning.
While the neighbors are frantically stomping around in snow boots, desperately coaxing their frozen vehicles back to life, my wife and I listen to their furious ice scraping with triumphant satisfaction. Burrowing deeper into our cozy bedding for an extra 20 minutes, we gloat with delight for the sophisticated Subaru smugly resting in the warmth of our immaculate garage.
While the notion of parking an entire automobile in the garage is mere fantasy for defeatists, true Americans realize this constitutionally-protected right to clear their garage-clutter once and for all, and permanently carve out an unobstructed piece of hallowed real estate for the venerated family wagon.
Truth be told, it's not that difficult to accomplish and may be one of the single most rewarding achievements of the whole year. Sure, it may seem daunting, considering the current state of your garage, but undertaken with tactical precision and focused intention, you'll have Ol' Bessie (or in our case, Aunt Sally) sitting high and dry in no time.
Let's review Intentional Interiors' three-step method: Simplify, clarify and inspire.
In other words, purge what you don't need, organize what is essential to keep, and refresh the space to inspire long-term success.
Schedule some time on a Saturday afternoon when you can devote three to four hours of uninterrupted time. Going through the entire space, account for absolutely every single item, starting on one side of the garage, working from floor to ceiling. Each item represents a potential obstacle to parking, so scrutinize every article with unwavering conviction.
Purge, purge, purge.
Whatever can be gotten rid of, the larger and more effective the aisle around your potentially-parked vehicle for viable use of car doors. After all, parking the thing without use of the doors may result in equally frustrating challenges.
Sorting what you keep using my four rules of organization - like things together, easy to find, easy to reach, and out of the way - will ensure that everything from ski equipment to toilet paper is easy to find, easy to reach, and out of the way.
Refreshing the space for aesthetic, function, flexibility and lifestyle will effectively inspire enough family support and personal commitment to maintain your palatial new indoor parking - though it may inadvertently annoy the hell out of your frigid, sleep-deprived neighbors.
There are all manner of contraptions and apparatuses to aid in your garage organization, ranging from pulleys and straps to hooks and cabinet systems. But avoid spending a dime until all that can be purged is sufficiently removed from your space.
Re-use, repurpose and up-cycle anything that may be useful in storing items effectively, even if it's not as pretty as you may have imagined. You can always spend your disposable income on designer storage bins later, if you simply cannot live without them.
The best use of a functional storage space incorporates vertically-designed systems. Using floor-to-ceiling shelving, compartments, cabinets and so forth helps to ensure optimal vertical square footage while helping to minimize horizontal sprawl. Bins should be labeled, seasonal summer items should be secured out of the way, and consideration to safe passage throughout your space should be paramount.
I've worked with countless clients to design simple, elegant and aesthetically functional storage spaces, but none quite as rewarding as preparing a household garage for winter parking. Happy parking and I'll see you on the hill.
- "Life. Simplified." appears on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Evan Zislis is founder and principal consultant of www.MyIntentionalSolutions.com, delivering hands-on organizational solutions for households, businesses, nonprofits, students, and life transitions. For more information about simplifying your stuff and organizing your life, call 366.2532 or email evan@MyIntentionalSolutions.com.