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Published July 7th, 2021
Reimagine your garage and give your family the space they need
Epoxy type flooring is a paint-like durable coating that looks amazing!

This past year is one we will likely never forget. Many of my clients found themselves scrambling for more space in their homes. They were having to share not only the Wifi, but the actual rooms they needed to work in. Once we realized that the pandemic was not going away in a couple of weeks, we knew that we had to figure out how to live, work, and go to school together - at home! This presented a huge challenge for families. I started getting calls last summer from clients that needed help creating more space.
My solution for many of these families was to design a multi-use garage space. The average size 2 car garage is 24 X 24 (576 sq ft.). Compare this to an average size bedroom of 12 X 10 (120 sq ft.). By making some simple changes, we were able to create space for several needs--home office, school-work area, exercise space, teen hang out, and storage too!--for a fraction of the cost and time of adding on a new room. Converting garages to create extra living space is a trend that is here to stay.
What are you currently using your garage for? Let's face it, many of us do not use our garages well. They can easily become a cluttered catch-all for items, much of which we are not using, can't access, or have even forgotten about. Do you know what "stuff" you have buried away in your garage? Most garages are filled to the brim with a variety of items we seldom look at or use including household products, memorabilia, old papers, used toys, furniture, items we are saving for our kids, unfinished craft projects, broken items we plan to repair someday, outdated electronics, cords (to what?) and of course "mystery boxes".
Your garage can be so much more than an overstuffed storage space! It's time to reimagine your garage. If you are like most of my clients, you probably do not know where to start. I recommend that you start with your ideal vision for the space.
Create a simple sketch of the garage and rough out each zone - be sure to allot enough space for its use. For example, maybe you want one fourth for exercise equipment, one fourth for home office and the rest for a car and storage.
Here are some ideas for how you can use your space:
? Work from Home Office: Post-COVID, more people are working from home than ever before. Create an area for your home office (or kid's study space)
? Exercise Area: Create a space for workouts, yoga, meditation and more. Cover the floor area in rubber tiles which are easy to install and easy on your joints.
? Craft Space or Workshop: Keep all of your tools (or craft supplies) within easy reach and have space to work in.
? Kid's Hangout: Kid's of all ages (yes, adults too) can use more space to hangout and relax in. I have had many TVs installed in garages this last year.
? Storage: We all need extra storage space. Slatwall systems, overhead storage racks, freestanding and wall shelving, and garage attics are some of my space-saving solutions. Vertical and ceiling storage is often overlooked and underused.
? Cars: Yes, some people actually park their car in the garage. You can mix and match by having a car parked on one side and your home gym on the other side.
Don't forget about flooring and lighting. Say goodbye to the drab gray slab. Covering the surface with a durable yet good looking flooring can transform your garage into a more usable space. Epoxy coating, rubber tile, and even carpet and tiles made for garages are an option. Change up your lighting. Think outside the box and kick those old-school fluorescent lights to the curb and replace them with energy-efficient LED lighting.
Now that you have the vision, the real work begins. Here is where the rubber hits the road, you have to remove everything from the garage to sort and purge so you can start with a clean slate. If you are feeling daunted by the task, consider hiring a professional organizer to help design and streamline the project. You'll save time, money and stress. It's worth the investment for livability!

Reimagine your garage - create a simple layout of your wants and needs.
Keep all of your tools (or craft supplies) within easy reach and have space to work in.
Kid's of all ages (yes, adults too) can use more space to hang out and relax in.
Jennifer Raftis, CPOr founded Efficiency Matters, LLC to help you with all of your organizing needs for your home and business. She is a Certified Professional Organizer and an active board member with NAPO, National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals. She is also an independent representative for The Container Store and has expertise in designing closets, garages, pantries, playrooms and more. In addition, she is a Corporate Organizing and Productivity Consultant and has worked with Fortune 500 companies across the U.S. Another large part of her business is move management especially working with seniors who are downsizing. She and her husband have lived in Moraga for 30 years, raising 3 kids and working countless volunteer hours with many local non-profit organizations and schools. Jennifer@efficiencymattersllc.com 925-698-3756 www.efficiencymattersllc.com

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