It took me exactly a year from the time that I retired until I finally got to the task on my long term to do list of “Clean out garage.” But I soon found out from my wife that had she rank ordered my list, this would have probably been right at the top for her. And not just because the garage had become overcrowded, but rather the dirty and scuffed walls she encountered every time she walked in the garage were a constant eyesore to her.
The home we live in now, our third, is the first home with an enclosed garage. As we were looking for a new home, a garage was on my “must have” list. I vividly recall my excitement when we were looking at this house for the first time, to step from the kitchen into the vast emptiness of a two-car garage. Finally I was thinking, a place where I could park my little convertible sports car and leave the top down overnight without fear of some animal or worse rodent finding the comfort of my leather seats a cozy place to spend the night.
But after 19 years of residence here, the garage and adjoining utility closet had gotten out of hand including a vast array of spider webs from probably long dead spiders (in case you didn’t know, depending on the species, spiders live from 1-5 years).
In spite of our garage’s current state, it was still some consolation to me as I drove through our neighborhood to see other homes where the garage was so stuffed with things that not even a single car could be parked inside. But then I would see the open garage door of a home that was completely empty and wonder how it could be kept so pristine.
While in our garage, we were still able to park two cars; there still was a lot of “stuff” accumulated over 19 years…
…and the utility closet which also housed a refrigerator and tall cabinet was a total disaster.
I knew a big part of the project was going to be just sorting through what to keep and what to discard or give away. But then my wife asked me if I was going to repaint the garage? I had not planned to and even argued against doing so since, after all, it was just a garage that naturally got beat up with use. But overnight I realized that a garage was nothing but an oversized closet where we “parked” things until we needed them and since I had been repainting closets as I cleaned them out, this one should be treated no differently. I asked if she wanted a different color but she said no; turns out the partial bucket I had left over from the last closet I painted was an exact match for the color in the garage.
I began by sorting things into two piles: stuff that would remain in the garage and stuff that would be discarded (logically to me, things to retain on the right and things to lose on the left).
I planned to start on this wall since it had the most shelving and would allow the most of the things now on the floor of the garage to be rehoused. Because I was going to repaint, an extra step for the project was to remove all the wire shelving so that the wall could be painted (before and after below).
I managed to get the first wall painted with only one mishap, a large paint spill that not only got on the rug and garage floor, but also on my jeans and shoes. Now I could proudly wear the badge of a battled-hardened painter.
The opposite wall went just as quickly (with no spills) since I had the routine down: vacuum all the spider webs from the walls and ceiling, brush paint along the baseboard and ceiling, and then roll paint. Because I was painting an almost exact color match with no doubt, much higher quality paint than original, I was able to cover the walls with just a single coat, probably for the first time ever in spite of always using paint advertised as only requiring a single coat.
Allowing the paint to dry overnight, I re-installed the shelving and reorganized all of the items, adding a new rug to replace the old one I had spilled paint on.
Next up was the garage wall with the workbench. In this photo, the vast network of spider webs is easily visible at the top, seeming like a miniature version of the World Wide Web…
…duly eliminated with the makeover.
In order to clean the spider webs from the ceiling of the utility closet, I had to put my vacuum on top of the refrigerator.
Cleaning out the under-stairs closet space meant we were actually able to walk in this space for the first time in years.
The tall cabinet that previously restricted access to the refrigerator fit nicely in this space and still left room to store other items.
New smaller shelving and a new carpet runner made this last part of the closet even more usable.
The last step was to paint the ceiling beam that ran the width of the garage and the small wall above the garage door. Finally, after a week of work, I was able to park my car in the garage again…
…although with a bit of a tight fit only made possible by aligning with the tethered tennis ball as I pull in to park.
Many of the “lose” items still piled where my wife parks her car sat there for a couple more weeks before our son finally removed the things he still wanted with the remainder going to charity or the trash dump.
Now that the garage looks so nice and better organized, I find myself vacuuming the rugs more frequently with my new wet/dry vac.
And I know my wife can now enjoy entering the garage without experiencing the dissatisfaction of seeing it in its previous sad state and we can both feel satisfied to “park” our things in our freshly made-over garage!