Two weeks ago, I told you about the re-construction of the entire back of my house. We’re now on day eleven of ripping out everything that was there, rebuilding the house’s foundation and then replacing all the siding and decking. As I’m sitting in my office typing this, there’s a LOT of noise going on right outside my door.
Like too many things in life, I’ve taken for granted living in a house that was secure and peaceful. During this process I’ve thought about how strongly I feel that our homes should be calm, restful, re-energizing places. So many of the issues I teach, write about and talk about have been played out in my own space. My perfectionist, “type A” tendencies have definitely been challenged!
In the next few weeks, I want to go through the house, room-by-room, and discuss ways to CREATE a space that’s a sanctuary; a new way of looking at your home. The garage is the perfect place to begin your “fresh start”.
If you’re fortunate enough to own a home with a garage, it’s ideal to use it for it’s intended purpose….parking your car. “Garage” is a French word from the root word, “garer” meaning to cover or shelter. When automobiles were invented, there came a need to cover them. Cars were very expensive, highly coveted and treated as luxury items.
Once garages became more commonplace they were attached to a home, often resembling a carriage house with a cable roof. In the 1920s Sears and Roebuck offered a “pergola garage”, and in that same decade The Atlantic Monthly posted, “houses without garages slow to sell”. In 1952 House & Garden Magazine wrote that the “garage has become the front entrance”. By 1960, 45% of homes had garages, and now over 70% of homeowners use their garage as their main passageway into their homes.
A lot of the garages, I see, are used for storage. This big, empty space suddenly becomes FILLED with as much stuff as can be jammed in it. I sometimes drive past houses, with a garage door up, and all you see is STUFF. I wonder if those people even KNOW what’s in there!
The way you enter your home has a HUGE impact on the way you feel the rest of the time you’re there.
It “sets the stage” for the rest of the experience. We need to “unpack” what we’re coming home to, literally and figuratively.
When you drive into, or walk through, a space everyday you often don’t really SEE it anymore. In talking to students or clients, I call it “the sock on the TV phenomenon”. Let me explain.
One day as you’re carrying a load of laundry through your family room, a sock falls out. On your way back through the room you pick it up and lay it on top of the TV (obviously intending to put it where it belongs later). When you turn the TV on later you notice it, but by then you just want to sit down and relax, so you leave it there. This keeps happening, but each time the sock becomes less obvious, and eventually you just don’t “see” it. “The Sock on the TV Phenomenon” happens a lot more than you may think. We get used to seeing (or hearing or experiencing) something so often that it simply becomes “wallpaper”— a background in our life.
This happens in all of our spaces. We get “used to” and “accept” things because it’s easier than “putting the sock away”. This week, step back and analyze what’s welcoming you home. Can you barely squeeze your car, or yourself, through your garage? What’s really in there? Is necessary, important or valuable?
I’ve long recognized the importance of being purposeful about CREATING a sanctuary. One of the first things I did in my current home was paint the garage a soothing green. Above the door, leading to the yard, I hung a sign with the words, “Live Well, Love Often’ Laugh Much”. This is my “welcome home, Kay!”
Yesterday I spent some time sweeping the garage; working around the contractor’s equipment. It’s not back to normal yet, but it’s getting there. When I pull the car in the garage, at the end of my day, I can sit there and breathe; I can “turn off” the outside world and walk into my Peace Full Home.
Next we’ll talk about ways to make other rooms in your home feel more peaceful and less chaotic. Until then “live well, love often, and laugh much”.
©2014 peace full home/intentional living
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