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KonMari and Feng Shui For Your Garage and Workbench

Maren is a fixer-upper of "TLC Needed" houses. She explains DIY methods simply to homeowners who are not in the construction trades.

Keep Tools Organized and Visible

Tools organized on a pegboard are easy to find and easy to put back. An American way to say this might be "a place for everything and everything in its place."

Tools organized on a pegboard are easy to find and easy to put back. An American way to say this might be "a place for everything and everything in its place."

Clean So Your Car Fits In the Garage

For people who are not naturally neatniks, a garage or workbench can quickly become full of piles of tools, lawn equipment, empty boxes, and you-name-it.

Fitting an actual vehicle INSIDE the garage can seem like pie-in-the-sky fantasy.

If a workbench and tools occupy part of the garage, balancing of needs of all family members who share the garage should not be hard. However, the cluttered garage potentially turns into a war zone.

By doing even a little common sense sorting and cleaning, you can keep the peace and claim the benefits of Japanese KonMari tidying and Chinese Feng Shui.

Feng Shui Quick Intro

The Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui dates back thousands of years. Its goal is to increase positive energy in your life. The old-school practitioners accomplished this through the orientation of buildings and their furnishing to compass readings.

Of course, every philosophy evolves over time. When Westerners re-established contact with China, a new school of Feng Shui called Black Hat Sect (or Black Tantric Buddhist Sect) developed. Instead of using the earth's magnetic poles or geographic poles as reference points, Black Hat Feng Shui focuses on your house or apartment as the primary starting focus.

Simple Black Hat Feng Shui

This Does Not Mean Buddha Statues or Bamboo Wind Chimes In the Garage

Black Hat Feng Shui divides living spaces into parts, each having significance for a particular human need. However, it seems extremely ridiculous to worry about a love and romance corner in a workshop/garage. Well, perhaps I speak too soon. Weren’t “girlie calendars” a popular decorating feature for auto mechanics in the twentieth century?

Equally important, Black Hat Feng Shui heavily promotes decluttering and surrounding yourself with only items you like and want. This fits right in with KonMari principles. Really.

KonMari Methods Quick Intro

Marie Kondo, the delightful Japanese founder of the KonMari method has wisdom about "stuff" and all the reasons some humans seem to be at war with their own possessions. Her upbringing in eastern religions gives her some quirky perspectives on the sacredness of a house and of all material things inside it. She has deep respect for the service that they give to us.

The KonMari philosophy states that you should keep only items which spark joy for you. Common sense! There are times to say goodbye to stuff that served you well once, but now are just cluttering the space.

KonMari Guidebook

Organized, Easy to Find, Sparking Joy

Years of developing her methods led Marie Kondo to a successful career helping others with unmanageable possessions. Her basic ideas are:

  • Put things away and always in the same place
  • Store things so that all are visible
  • Only keep things that spark joy in your heart as you handle them

The consistent and visible storage methods save a lot of time as you go get something you know you have. It is so down to earth!


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Neatniks

Some mechanics keep immaculate home shop areas. They recognize the value in cleaning, sharpening, and oiling their tools to prolong their life and usefulness. Shop safety principles demand clean floors and workspaces. Everything hums wonderfully. These folks are already Feng Shui-ing and KonMari-ing without knowing it.

Labels Add Serenity to the Workbench

Tidying and labelling are simple things to do, making the work space peaceful.

Tidying and labelling are simple things to do, making the work space peaceful.

Clean

We all know that clean tools run better. Clean containers close more tightly. Dirt and dust constitute hazards to the personal environment.

Light

Light and some air movement are considered to give you positive energy. So, by wiping any dirty windows and replacing a few burned-out bulbs instead of blaming the outlet – one is Feng Shui compliant.

Working Light Bulbs

Wow - let there be light!  This is a no-brainer and it is Feng Shui!

Wow - let there be light! This is a no-brainer and it is Feng Shui!

Uncluttered and Always Where You Expect It

If piles of tools, projects waiting to be completed, or papers and trash block your ability to park the car or work, then they are also blocking the positive energy from circulating. So, re-think what you really need and use and sell, give away, and Freecycle the rest.

Don’t be like the sewing hobbyists with bumper stickers reading “She who dies with the most fabric wins.” Don't think about the "some day in the future, I might..." Think about the now.

One's well-being is not enhanced by digging through five boxes of clutter to find a tool or supply.

One's well-being is not enhanced by digging through five boxes of clutter to find a tool or supply.

No tool hides behind another.

No tool hides behind another.

Surround Yourself With Smile-Inducing, Joy-Sparking Stuff

Broken possessions usually do not bring smiles. So, fix them or ditch them. Saving the wobbly ladder that you fell off three summers ago, requiring a trip to the emergency room and stitches: that is not good Feng Shui.

What tools do you like to use – do you like to “play” with? Keep them in full sight. Go ahead – hang up a picture or a calendar featuring pictures of your favorite hobby, sport, or your favorite place.

One does not need Buddha. Perhaps a coat of fresh paint on the garage wall in a color you like would brighten your mood and energy flow. A weather-proof poster of your ideal vacation should probably fit somewhere. Or, if you like to sit on a stool at the workbench, make it a really comfortable one, one that says "welcome" to you.

Draw an outline of the car's footprint on the garage floor. Think of the joy you and your family members will feel every time they can easily pull into the garage on a rainy or cold night. Every time you look at that outline, or parked car, you will feel pleased.

Not So Hard

Replacing light bulbs and shop-vacuuming the sawdust under the table saw are good practices. The same holds for organizing essential tools and lawn equipment so that you know where they are and can rely on finding them quickly. T

Perhaps calling these habits Feng Shui or KonMari could take you out of your comfort zone. But, all the same, I think I have proven it truly is compatible with these recommendations about maximizing the positive in your life by auspiciously arranging your environment. Arranging your environment to support you - sounds good, doesn't it?

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2011 Maren Elizabeth Morgan

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