Mega-Money-Making Summer Weekend
Updated: Feb 11
(Originally published in the Napa Valley Register)
How would you like to automatically and easily add value to your home? What if it hardly cost more than a little sweat equity and a weekend? With a bit of effort, neighborhoods may not only increase their property value but also enjoy the aesthetic rewards.
You may have heard the real estate term “location, location, location” when defining the value of property. But one does not need an ocean, a manicured park, a city skyline, or a landmark like the Golden Gate Bridge to be in a nice location. No matter where, each neighborhood has the power to create a more attractive environment and generate thousands, even tens of thousands, of easy dollars.
How? I’m talking about reinstituting the traditional ritual of parking cars and trucks inside garages. Have you ever noticed when streets are void of vehicles, lawns, trees and architecture are in full sight? Streets look wider and cleaner – and more valuable.
In a previous column, “The Power of the Front Door”, I described how curb appeal affects a neighborhood. Increasing its value does not have to mean spending money. It usually means editing and maintaining what you already have. The same applies to garages.
I imagine that the routine of parking vehicles in one’s garage has decreased as one’s over-accumulation of stuff has increased. The garage has become a dumping ground for earthly possessions whose fate is on hold. The garage is the catch-all space for overflow to the point that there is no room for the vehicles for which it was intended.
Summer is a perfect time to give your garage an honest, brutal and tough love editing. Start by designating three areas in your driveway or better yet, a place near your garage that is out of your neighbors’ sight. Each item in your garage should end up in a one of these areas labeled “destined for waste and recycling center (aka “the dumps”), “donate by next weekend”, “keep without question”.
There is purposefully no label “to be determined” because let’s face it, you’ll never make that determination – and never end up making room for your vehicles. The same danger applies to the donate pile which is why a short-term deadline must be made. If you can’t make the deadline, it needs to go into the dumps pile. This is why it’s called “honest, brutal and tough love editing”.
Keep this process going until your garage is empty and you can sweep or power-wash. What a great feeling, right? Now take a look at those things that you are definitely keeping and think about the best way to do so. Are they things that need shelves or bins or hanging mechanisms? Are they things that could be stored in a backyard shed? Pre-made sheds from box stores are surprisingly affordable. They come in different sizes depending on whether you’re storing sports or garden equipment, holiday decorations, lumber, or hand-me-down furniture waiting for one of your relatives to claim.
If you don’t know where to start, start by imagining how good it will feel to have less clutter and more organization in your garage – and your life. Imagine how convenient it will be to drive right in and park. Then imagine the value-added transformation of your neighborhood.
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