Your home should calm, restful, and re-energizing. If you’re fortunate enough to own a house with a garage, it’s ideal to use if for its intended purpose, and the perfect place to begin creating a Zen home. “Garage;” French from the root word “garer,” means to cover or shelter. When automobiles were invented, they were costly, highly coveted, and treated as luxury items, so they were often undercover.
Once garages became more commonplace, they were attached to homes, often resembling carriage houses with a gable 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,” and by 1960, 45% of homes had garages. Now over 70% of homeowners use their garage as their primary passageway into their homes.
A lot of the garages, I see, are used for storage, not cars. These big, empty spaces suddenly become filled with as much stuff as can be jammed in them. I sometimes drive past houses, with garage doors up, and all I see is stuff!. I wonder if those people even know what’s in there!
The way you enter your home has a significant impact on the way you feel the rest of the time you’re there. It “sets the stage” for the rest of the experience. It is essential to “unpack” what you’re coming home to, literally and figuratively.
When you drive into or walk through an area every day, 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 that room, you pick it up and lay it on top of the television, intending to put it where it belongs when you have time. 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 noticeable, and eventually, you just don’t “see” it. “The Sock on the TV Phenomenon” happens a lot more than you may think. You get used to seeing—or hearing or experiencing—something so often that it becomes merely “wallpaper,” a background in your 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 it necessary 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 to 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!” 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.
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