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 it 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.
Automobiles, when invented, were costly, highly coveted, and treated as luxury items, so they were often undercover. As garages became more commonplace, they were attached to homes, usually resembling carriage houses. In the 1920s, Sears and Roebuck offered a “pergola garage,” and 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. Now, over 70% of homeowners use their garage as the primary passageway into their homes.
Storage, not cars, is what many garages now hold! These big, empty spaces become filled with as many possessions as can be jammed in them. I sometimes drive past houses with garage doors up, and all I see is stuff and wonder if those homeowners even know what’s in there!
The way you enter your home has a significant impact on how 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, in all your rushing, you’re carrying a load of laundry through your family room and drop a sock. On your way back through that room, you pick it up and lay it on top of the TV, intending to put it where it belongs later. You don’t get to it that day, and when you turn the TV on later to watch your favorite show, you notice it, but by then 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” occurs 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 your life.
This situation can happen in all of your spaces. Humans 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. Then, above the door leading to the back property, I hung a sign with the words, “Live Well, Love Often, Laugh Much.” This is my “welcome home, Kay.” I can sit there and breathe; I can “turn off” the outside world and walk into my Peace Full Home.
That’s what I want for you too!