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Using What We Got - i.e., Making Our Garage Work for Us

I gotta say, one of the things I missed most after leaving the farm was - along with the wide open spaces, lack of streetlights and pure quiet, of course - the WORKSHOP SPACE! Out of the rain! When you are a Northwesterner, you don't wuss out because of just get a covered area to keep on going with your power tools (and then have a good set of muck boots for doing your outdoor work!). Having a barn at the farm as well as a garage meant plenty of space not just for animals but for a workbench and to put out the sawhorses where I ultimately built our open kitchen cabinetry/counters, painted siding for our home before it was installed, created a rodent-proof brooder for our chicks before they were able to move to pasture, and much more.

When we downsized back to the City, we downsized HARD, and it was tough to transition from 5.6 acres to 0.1, to put it mildly. We lucked out and had a 10x20 shed wired for power, but the covered built-in carport attached was rotted out and had to be deconstructed and the property there was such that it had multiple tiers, so getting from area to area of the property was not conducive for my many DIY projects, definitely not great for wheelbarrows since I didn't have any kind of ramp, and I needed just that wee bit more space overall to stretch out with my sawhorses and drills and the like...while still having room for things like bikes and garden tools. I definitely made the most of it though, and I'm proud of how I transformed the landscaping and more during our two year mini-chapter there.

From my first home's "Model T garage/shed" to the 6-stall barn/workshop at the farm to the shed on the 'upper tier' of the backyard in the City before fleeing for the Valley, we've definitely had our variety pack of areas to both organize and DO the DIY-ing that we love. As you can see below, using every square inch adeptly makes all the difference in the world, from the wee to the massive and everything in between. Going vertical, using rafters, and - of course - having a good set of hooks, made all the difference.

So while we didn't pay much attention to the combination of "DIY-er Friendly Features" when we made our offer up here in the Valley, having not only a level lot-and-a-half AND a one-car garage AND a killer covered patio in the back....PLUS an alley behind us (the latter we had in the City which we loved since our house was set high up off the street, great for privacy but awful for unloading heavy stuff LOL...)? It's has ended up being SO awesome and delivered time and again. While we're no longer taking on the *truly* intense physical labor projects we did on the Coast, we've already spent significant time in the past 10 weeks doing everything from our DIY kitchen renovation (gotta cut those countertops and cut/stain that open shelving somewhere...) to building our new floating deck in the backyard yesterday that I'll show you very soon.

Here's some of how I organized it (below):

The little "nook" on the left was originally going to be for our bikes but I realized quickly that it was perfect for some mega-organizing of our power tools & everything else repurposing some old shelves & pegboards (plus the outlet is perfect for the miter saw which I put on a rolling cart to easily pull it out into the garage for bigger projects like I did yesterday). I scored two $12 hooks to pop our bikes on the wall (heavy duty enough for my fella's new ebike) & am using an old cabinet left by the seller for garden supplies in the back. WHEW! Still a few tweaks I gotta do for sure (like even more pegboard attachments!!) but hey, it's functional... and there is still room on the yuckiest of days to pull our little C-Max in if needed (but honestly, I'd rather use this as a workshop for my sawhorses and such on a rainy day LOL...I am a native Northwesterner after all).

Beyond a few of the pegboard accessories, everything you see here was repurposed, including but not limited to:

  • Open Shelving: These originally were scored from Salvage Works years ago for bookshelves when we lived in Portland. They (RIP) would deconstruct old barns that farmers didn't want/need and resell the beautiful old-growth wood so nothing went to waste. On the farm I used them as media shelves for our old DVDs & such under the wall-mount TV, and in the City I then used them on our pantry wall. Here? Perfect for up-high shelving to hold paint and other less-frequently used items. The brackets? I've had these wooden Ikea brackets that I'd stained years ago for AGES, and they have accompanied these shelves ever since.

  • Pegboards: I brought these over from our shed in the City! We had HUGE ones on the farm, so I left them for the buyers there, but knew these smaller ones would be valuable, and they indeed have been worth their weight in gold!

  • Hooks: The only new hooks were for the bikes and a couple of the pegboard hanging shelves. 95% of the hooks I've brought with me from house to house over the years. This stuff adds up!

  • Storage Cabinet: This came with the house, stuffed in a corner behind the water heater. Not the greatest quality but has done well to store our miscellaneous garden items out of the elements, not to mention bike tools, my husband's lesser-used butchery & charcuterie making equipment, and more.

PS - and check out the delish power tool hooks for the drills? And my new cordless jigsaw? Ok for me this IS borderline sexy y'all... 😊


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