I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that most people’s garages aren’t all that attractive. Unless you’re one of the 1% who has a warehouse garage with sparkling stainless steel cabinets and shiny painted floors or are one of those weirdly disciplined people who don’t ever let clutter get out of hand, you probably have a garage corner or two that wouldn’t qualify for an Architectural Digest spread.
Our garage is no exception. We have a two-car garage where we actually do park two cars. We don’t have a shed because my family has a very bad track record with sheds. In my family, once you get a shed, you soon have to have a shed for your shed. Then your shed’s shed needs a shed. I figure I have that crazy shed-junk-hoarding-gene that would kick in if we had a shed. So, no shed.
I tell you this so you will understand that our garage must also serve as storage for all my garden paraphernalia, chicken supplies, bird food bins, recycling bins, lawn mower, power washer—well, you get the idea. It’s not even a roomy two-car garage. But we just can’t go down that shed path.
As part of the Lowe’s Creative Ideas “Address the Mess” challenge, I decided to give one of those corners a makeover. Just like on TV!
So, here’s the before.
Not pretty. We do a lot of outdoor exercise, so there is always an impressive collection of running shoes by the garage door. The towels are for washing cars or drying off wet dogs and husbands. All that mess on top of the frig is for the chickens. I buy canned corn from Walmart at $.67 a can, which goes a long way toward explaining why they follow me around like puppies and come when I call. And, as you can see, I save egg shells. They get crushed up and added to the garden once that bucket is full. (Yes, I know it’s full.)
I decided to paint this section of the garage wall as a chalkboard and do a bit of moving around. Using supplies from Lowe’s, here’s what I came up with.
Better, huh? With a new shelf I was able to relocate other frequently-used items near the door. The open-wire shelving means less mess collects on the shelves from our running shoes. Bulletin board squares provide a handy place to post my Good Bugs/Bad Bugs cheat sheet and also any other lists or magazine articles I want to keep handy.
But the coolest part, in my opinion, is the chalkboard wall. I can use it to write seasonal messages, to-do lists, welcome messages or just to draw new artwork as the mood strikes.
This was my first experience using chalkboard paint. I found that it went on amazingly well, requiring only a single coat with a roller. I had to be careful not to go over the painted areas too much because once the paint was down it was easy to pick it back up by rolling over it too much. This wall took just a little more than a quart.
Once you paint your wall, wait at least three days before writing on it. If you cover the whole chalkboard area with chalk and erase it, it will have more of that chalkboard look and less of a black wall look.
What did all this cost? Here are the numbers:
Black wire shelving – $79.97
2 quarts chalkboard black paint – $25.96
5-piece paint roller kit – $12.98
Bulletin board squares – $8.99
Decorative wood molding – $25.17
White trim paint – mine
SUBTOTAL – $153.07
Lowe’s 10% military discount – $15.31
PROJECT TOTAL – $137.76
I think it’s a great investment! Of course, now the other three corners of the garage are crying out for their own makeover. What do you think? Isn’t this a great way to address the mess?
It seems that all the “women’s interest” magazines and daily newspaper style pages…
…always trot out a host of articles as we start thinking about warmer weather to give us tips on “spring cleaning.”
Is it just me or do you find the whole idea of “spring cleaning” silly?
Now, don’t get me wrong. There are seasons to my household activities. For example, in spring and fall I do rotate the clothes in my too-small closet so that the seasonal items are in easy reach. I am also one of those people you might call a “serial redecorator.” In the seven years we’ve lived in our house I have painted my bathroom four times. My office is getting painted for the third time today (a lovely pinky-taupe color that sets off the triple crown molding). I’m seriously thinking about chucking the office furniture for something more airy and streamlined. I switch out linens and artwork somewhere in the house nearly every week.
As the weather warms up, my redecorating naturally turns to the outdoors—creating new beds, sprucing up the garden furniture, raking, mowing…The list is endless, isn’t it?
You might be concluding that I’m pretty much on top of the whole cleaning thing—and you would be right. So I am absolutely sent to the edge of screaming when I see some of these articles that assume that everyone is in need of a remedial class on keeping a decent house.
Case in point…
That incredibly irritating magazine, Real Simple, must be for the simple minded or for those who need remedial lessons in housekeeping. Their website is featuring some of the most lame-brained articles I have seen yet on spring cleaning.
In an article called “Streamlined Spring Cleaning Plan” they tell you to “forget what constitutes a ‘proper’ spring cleaning, and instead take aim at visible dirt.” The article is full of spiffy hints such as “If your blinds and drapes have reached the ‘do not touch’ stage, turn them over to a professional.” They go on to advise you to clean out your kitchen cabinets by first emptying the contents onto the countertop. Duh.
Naturally, all of these helpful hints are accompanied by editor-picked products to help you do the job better.
Why, oh why, do we need to read a magazine to tell us to call the hazmat team if our drapes are so disgusting that we can’t touch them? I’m thinking that the folks whose houses have reached the decontamination stage of squalor aren’t kicking back to read spring cleaning articles in Real Simple in their free time.
One more example…
There’s a little article called “Maintain a Sparkling House in Just 19 Minutes a Day.”
Nineteen minutes. Apparently 18 won’t keep it sparkling like they promise. But 20 minutes is going overboard. Should we time ourselves to make sure we don’t over-invest in this whole house cleaning thing?
Oh, wait. Apparently so. I see now that they very helpfully outline a minute-by-minute plan for those 19 minutes–4 ½ minutes for the kitchen, 2 minutes for the bathroom, 6 ½ minutes for the bedroom and 6 minutes for the family room, living room and foyer.
I don’t know about you, but 19 minutes would not cut it around our house. With two men, two dogs, a cat and a fish named Pish living under the same roof, I’m organizing, scrubbing, laundering, airing, dusting, vacuuming, sweeping or ironing something pretty much every single day. And it can’t be done in 19 minutes and still allow me to call my house “sparkling.”
In case you’re wondering by now if I need medication for my obsessive-compulsive housekeeping disorder, let me assure you that I think I have it under control. However, I might need a little something for when all those magazines and newspapers start publishing their spring cleaning articles.