As Ontarians gear up for the winter season, there is an increase in anxiety around what it’s going to be like to be (mostly) stuck indoors. As COVID-19 numbers rise, and restrictions on restaurants and indoor spaces tighten up, we are seeing the emergence of a new trend: anyone who has a garage is getting ready to use it as an indoor-outdoor social distancing space.
Properly prepared, your garage is a great winter social distance hangout
This is a great solution for those who have a garage because it’s an extension of your home, and you are able to leave the door (half) open to get appropriate amounts of air flow. Even for the most cautious, entering an indoor-outdoor space like a well-vented garage could be done with a mask on for maximum safety.
So what do you have to do in order for your garage to be COVID Social Distance Ready (and safe?) You have to maximize your garage space to be more of a transitional living space and consider air flow and heating solutions.
Start by clearing out the stuff you’ve been storing in there
We’ve heard of the TV shows, like “The Joy of Tidying Up” and “The Home Edit,” but we all know that the garage can be a catch all for the stuff in your house you’re not sure what to do with anymore. There may be things you’ve been holding onto, thinking you may use it again one day. You may have items that you haven’t bothered listing on Kijiji (and now you don’t want to because you’d have to deal with strangers coming over to your house) and you may have some things that are safely tucked away in a memory box.
There may be “joy” that comes from tidying up and creating new space solutions for your family, but the pile of tires in your garage that don’t fit your current car are a pain to get rid of. You don’t want to put these items on the street to be taken to the dump and you’d like to see those items continue giving someone else value…and let’s be honest, calling Got Junk to clear it out for you is expensive. These things still have lots of value to them, spending money to be rid of them seems crazy. Why can’t you make a little bit of money and get rid of the stuff taking up all your space?
Get the stuff gone, so you can get on with your life
Wouldn’t it be great if someone showed up, gathered up all the things you no longer wanted, and said ‘I’ll take care of it?’ Better yet, what if they took some of the proceeds and used it to help feed those in need?
That’s where Lendy comes in. We know selling items online (especially these days) is a giant pain. People never show up when they say they will, and you just wish the stuff was gone. Lendy will come take all your stuff that needs a new home and sell it in our online store, give it to one of our partners, or donate it. We donate a minimum of $3 from every order through Shoplendy.ca to Food Banks Canada to keep food on the table for those who need it most.
Now you’ve got the space, get it ready for some social distance visits
Build upon the thrill of Lendy clearing out your garage (and maybe some basement areas too?). You can turn that freshly cleared out space into an extension of your home to visit safely with loved ones. Here are a few of our suggestions.
Fresh air is key
Unlike a room in your house, garages don’t typically have a forced air supply. Research shows that the risk of COVID transmission is significantly reduced with a constant delivery of fresh air. No matter how far away from someone you are that is infectious, if the air you are sharing isn’t getting constantly replaced, you’re increasingly at risk of breathing in the air they’ve expelled. It’s the same as running a car engine in the garage. Without fresh air, you eventually get carbon monoxide poisoning.
By leaving the garage door open, at least a foot or more, you bring in some natural convection air flow. Both the top and bottom of the door create a large path for air to move around, with hot air pushing out the top and cold air pulling in below. Use a fan to bring in more fresh air, and keep things flowing.
Keep it cozy, and safe
Propane patio heaters are dangerous to use indoors, and the garage is no exception. Even a fire table is risky, but the biggest risk there is, again carbon monoxide poisoning. Keeping the garage door open takes care of that one; You don’t want a socially distant visit from the fire department.
Electric heaters are the best option for your garage space, they are cheap, compact and usually have thermostats on them so you can pre-heat the space. a typical wall plug can support a 1500 watt heater. Make sure you don’t plug more than one of these into the same circuit or you’ll trip the breaker. If your garage is near your electrical panel, hire an electrician to hook up a 7500 watt, 240V heater to get the best effect. These high voltage heaters also come with built in fans to help with air flow.
The rug that you have rolled up in the garage? Get ready to unroll it – time to make your new makeshift living space for winter as comfy and cozy as you can.
We recommend piling all your fleece blankets, sleeping bags and maybe your old kettle into the space. Keep those thing all together as part of your WARMING UP station. Don’t forget to include hand sanitizer and some disposable masks for guests who stop by for a hello but you feel a bit nervous about their visit. If it’s right there near the cozy stuff station, it makes for a much less awkward conversation about your boundaries.
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At Lendy, we aim to teach Canadians how to make the best impact with the stuff they already have. Our mission is to help Canadians keep the circular economy turning, and keeping perfectly good stuff out of landfill.
To schedule a visit to clear out your stuff fill out this form. Want to help fund our mission? Get shopping over at shoplendy.ca to find some fantastic new stuff looking for a new home.