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 must 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.

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


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?


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  • Layanee says:

    Gee, it looked pretty good before the makeover and now it just looks awesome. I would write a message if I were there. Perhaps…I love cake!

  • Gail says:

    Love the chalk board wall. It gives the room a finished feel.

  • Cindy, MCOK says:

    I love that chalkboard wall! I don’t have a space where I could do one but maybe in my next house!

  • Leslie says:

    I love it! You could write a note about things you don’t want to forget to take as you rush off also. That would come in really handy here!

  • Diane C says:

    My garage isn’t set up for a chalkboard wall like that but I love the idea. I’m thinking of doing one side of the basement door. That way I could open it to see if there are any reminders before I head out the door.

  • Dayloooo says:

    Not pretty? I should share photos of our garage. You’re right about our sheds though. I don’t have one now but the back patio is covered by the upstairs deck and it’s more than a little cluttered. I wonder what gene is responsible for that?

  • Carol says:

    The chalkboard wall looks like it will be very useful. I think your garage looked pretty organized before, but the bigger shelf does seem like a better use of the space.

  • Your before would be my after. You were already pretty organized. The bigger shelf is an improvement and I think the chalkboard adds an element of fun! Why can’t a garage be fun? It’s the first thing you see when you get out of the car, so why not make yourself smile?

  • Jean says:

    You are very inspiring Robin! I really do like that chalkboard wall. Such a great spot for one. I do have to say that your before pic may not look sexy but it still is pretty neat for a garage!

  • Sheas says:

    Great job on the corner makeover! My wife has used the chalkboard paint many times and loves it. The great thing is that once you are organized it’s much easier to maintain.

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