When you are married with kids, it can difficult to find a living space that feels like your own. Occasionally you need to seek refuge in a place without toys, bickering, and endless re-runs of Spongebob Squarepants. Taking a timeout is necessary sometimes, but do you have a place to recharge your batteries? The garage of your home can serve as your personal escape hatch the next time you need a mental break, and these four steps will help you create your ideal fortress of solitude.
How To Improve Your Garage Space (And Preserve Your Sanity)
1) Clear The Clutter
Every square foot you de-junk becomes additional square footage in your new domain, so feel free to get excited about all the space you are creating for yourself. Your garage may still need to be used for storing items like tools and boxes, but consolidating and organizing loose items will make them less intrusive in your new retreat.
Consider space-saving techniques like these:
- hang your bikes on hooks on the walls or the ceiling
- add shelves (or wardrobe closets) to store items neatly
- label boxes to make stored belongings easy to locate
Just because your family uses the garage as a storage unit doesn't mean your garage has to be an eye-sore. The Princeton University Neuroscience Institute found that eliminating clutter is essential for creating a space capable of becoming a mental sanctuary.
2) Block Out The Noise
Creating an insulating barrier around your garage will actually help your living space in more ways than one. Adding insulation to your garage doors and walls will:
- block cold air from outside
- keep outside noises out of your lair
- keep noises within your den from escaping
Obviously your garage is not the most comfortable living space in your home. Adding insulation to the garage door paneling of your garage can help prevent a lot of cool air drafts from seeping in. The same insulation will also prevent cool air from seeping into your home and driving up your heating bill.
A 3-1/2" barrier of insulation can reduce noise by as much as 50%. Proper insulation can practically mute noises as loud as a gas powered lawn mower. Your escape hatch will afford you some peace and quiet when you need it. You will also be able to enjoy turning up the surround sound in your garage or playing your drums at 2 am when you feel like it.
3) Create Your Ideal Space
When you feel like "escaping," what is it you think about doing? Would you love to lock yourself in a quiet room and read a book? Do you want to watch television uninterrupted? Are you always wishing you had more time to pursue hobbies like woodworking, crafts, or art projects?
You can reform your garage space into a utopic living area by limiting items in your space to elements that simulate your perfect getaway. Moving an old couch and a television into the garage will not make the space "your own." Make sure you add elements to your safe haven that create the atmosphere you are looking for. Incorporate items that may not be welcome in the rest of the house.
Try using items in your garage den like:
- your fantasy football trophy
- posters from your favorite movie titles
- a soft throw blanket and a comfy pillow
- a mini fridge stocked with your private stash of drinks and snacks
4) Keep The Kids Out
Your asylum needs to be all about you. You may choose to share your garage space with your spouse, but it is important that you keep the kids out. Your garage may be the only space in your home that is off-limits to your kids, but strict adherence to this rule should be enforced.
You can love your family all the time, but that doesn't mean you don't still need some "me-time." When you have a space that is all yours, you can take mental breaks as needed (even a few minutes alone can help diffuse your frustration). When you resurface from your kingdom of solitude, you be refreshed and ready to give your family your best.