Integral garages are a challenging feng shui issue in many modern homes today, especially in the United States, where so many houses are designed that way for convenience, with no thought for the energetic effects.
There are a number of problems this can cause.
Your front door is no longer your front door
An integral garage usually has a door that connects it to the house for ease of carrying shopping from the car. But doors are portals for energies as well as people, so what this means is that your garage entrance energetically becomes the main door of the home, and your real front door is hardly ever used.
Since many garages open into utility rooms rather than the more tastefully designed entrance foyers that front doors do, entering this way makes you feel like a second-class citizen. Your foyer may be a delightfully welcoming space for visitors, but you rarely experience this effect yourself. This can lead to issues such as low self-esteem, always putting other people’s needs before your own, or feeling that you don’t control your own life.
Your feng shui bagua orientation may change
The feng shui bagua is a grid that can be laid over the plans of your home to reveal where each aspect of your life is located in the property.
The most effective way to to do this is to orient the bagua to the front door of the home. However, if you have an integral garage, this can mean that you regularly enter through the door that connects the garage to your home instead of through the front door, and this may change the orientation of the feng shui bagua of your home in a way that can have undesirable consequences. For example, it could cause a bathroom or toilet to be located in the Wealth area of the bagua, with all the financially draining effects that can have.
There may be toxic seepage into your home
Another issue caused by having an integral garage is that any room located above one is not the best place for human habitation. If used as a bedroom, ungroundedness can result, and also health problems due to toxic seepage of fumes from the cars or chemicals that are stored in the garage.
A feng shui cure that sometimes remedies lack of grounding is to place a large rock or stone ornament in the room above the garage, and it may be possible to install ventilation ducts to channel toxic fumes safely away. But it’s still far from ideal to use such a room as a bedroom. It would be better to use it as a storage area, taking care, of course, that it doesn’t become a junk room.
The energetic side-effects
One of the least understood problems caused by having an integral garage is that each time you enter the home after parking your car, you will not only swamp your home with toxic chemicals from car fumes but will also unwittingly carry with you a whole mish-mash of energies that the vehicle has collected on its travels, which can cause very chaotic effects.
Most eastern cultures understand very well that there needs to be a clear separation between outdoor and indoor energies, which is why they observe the strict practice of removing their shoes before entering a building. They know how disruptive it can be to trample outdoor energies through a home, and this is not even taking into account the chemical cocktail of pesticides that we pick up on the soles of our shoes, even in urban areas. But most westerners have very little awareness of this, and modern garage designs now take this one step further by mingling the energies of cars as well.
The ideal location for a garage
In places like Singapore, where feng shui principles are well integrated into everyday life, cars are always located far away from living spaces, usually in designated car parks. Even the super-rich park their Ferraris at a suitable distance from the house, usually in open carports rather than enclosed in garages (a carport facilitates cleansing circulations of wind). I have never seen a single instance of a Singaporean home that has a garage attached to any kind of living space.
According to feng shui, the ideal location for a garage is some distance away from the house and behind the line of the front door, not in front of it, like the garage pictured here. Positioned right at the front of the home, this garage resembles a gaping mouth waiting to be fed. The occupants of a house such as this are likely to find that their time and resources are relentlessly gobbled up by one thing after another.
So what can you do if your home has an integral garage?
One client I worked with in the US devised a simple solution to the utility entrance issue at least. She would park her car in the garage, walk to her front door closing the garage door behind her with a remote control, and enter her home through the front door. If there was shopping to be brought in from the car, she would then re-enter the garage through her utility room to retrieve it. This simple change of behaviour resulted in beneficial changes in her life on many different levels.
Too much trouble, do I hear you say? I admit it depends a lot on the design of your house, the weather on any particular day, and how much you care about the quality of energy in your home. But if I had to live in a house like this, I would certainly do it. I suggest you at least give it a try for a while and see how it feels. Even if you cheat occasionally and enter through the utility room when it’s pouring with rain, you’ll still probably notice a marked improvement.
And if you want to take it one step further, try taking off your shoes upon entering too. In most western homes it’s not practical or desirable to leave them outside the front door, but keeping them in a cupboard just inside the front entrance works almost as well. When outside energies are kept outside, you can build a much more nurturing space inside.
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Copyright © Karen Kingston 2012, updated 2017
Do you have an integral garage? Do you habitually enter your home through the connecting door? How does this feel different to entering through your main front door?