Friday, May 28, 2010

44 May Featured Space: Outdoors - Garage Before & Afters!

The suspense has been greatly building all week, as I revealed bits and pieces of my total garage overhaul project.  Each day I have given you a glimpse into the major garage zones, such as auto, toys, tools and pets.  And today, I will wrap it all up in a pretty bow and hand over to you, the complete before and after shots!

First though, you may be wondering, how did it ever get so bad?  Well, I will sadly take blame for that.  You see, I never gave the family a good foundation in the first place, to help them keep the space organized.  There was no specific home given to many of the items that were living in the garage.  Each time something got used, it got put back somewhere new.  And that started to create a downward spiral.  The kid's loved digging in the garage for goodies, and then would just toss things back... but I was the worst.  By far the worst.  Living in frigid Wisconsin is challenging for this gal.  I mean, it's 80 degrees out today and I still have a cardigan sweater within arms reach.  Yes, I am allergic to the cold.  Very allergic.  So when winter comes around, I avoid the garage, because it's just about as cold in there as it is outside.  So, for 8 months out of the year, the garage gets no love from me.  In fact, I am really bad about just opening the door from the kitchen and tossing things into the garage and then shutting the door and running away, without looking at the chaos being created, because if I were to look, I would want to fix it, and I didn't have the strength....
That is until now.  The birds are chirping daily, the sun is shining bright, and I am not wearing twelve layers of clothing just to keep a moderate body temp.  It was time to face the scariest part of our home, and take back control.  It was time to make it a place that would be easy for us to maintain, even without me being around for a larger part of the year.  And that is exactly what I did!

So without further ado, here are the before pictures of our garage:



Now I do have to apologize, the before shots were actually taken a little while back, however, I assure you, not much had changed before I started the project....

Last Saturday rolled around and I had full intentions of cleaning out the garage with my hubs that morning, and then finishing up in the evening while he went to a baseball game with some of his guy pals.  However, starting that Friday evening, large amounts of rain began falling, lasting well into the middle of Saturday.  Not much got accomplished while he was home.  Yes, cleaning out an entire garage in one day may seem a tad ambitious, however, I tend to be a go getter, and when I start something, I don't like to finish until I am done.  Once I stop, motivation flies right out the window... typically anyway.  Luckily, when my husband left for his baseball game, the rain left our town as well.

I started out by putting a large table in the center of the garage, along with a very large garbage can and recycling bin.  I then walked around the whole garage, removing items from every shelf and storage unit, placing "keep" items on the table, and tossing or recycling the rest.  I then filled a big bucket with soapy water, and scrubbed EVERYTHING down.  That place was a major dust zone!



I now had a really blank slate which felt really good!  And at this point, between playing with the kids, feeding the kids, problem solving with the kids.... I had probably already invested about 3 hours just in clearing and cleaning.

While the kiddos ate their dinner, I jotted down some ideas in regards to my overall vision of the space.  How did I want it to function?  How do I ensure I am not scared to go in there again?  How do I help my family know where things belong?  I also used this time to start covering soup cans and an applesauce jar with decorative paper.



I also worked into the night, making labels for clear shoebox bins that held a variety of miscellaneous tools and yard supplies:

{yes, I understand I can't spell.... it is something we giggle about frequently around here!}

And labels for all of the toy storage bins:


I then called it a night, but just knowing that I had a really good start, and a blank slate to work from, kept me motivated to work on it again the next day....

That is until the next day came and went.  Yep, it was a busy busy day.  Birthday party.  Grocery Shopping.  Graduation party.  90 degrees.  Not much really happened on the garage end.  I begged my husband for his help, I pleaded, "Together we could finish this up in an hour or two!"  But he was too hot.. and not as optimistic as I, so I just did a couple of little things here and there... but he promised to help me finish up the next night, and that he did!

My main man B was really there for me that Monday night.  He used his big muscle arms to move a ton of the bigger things, and to do a lot of heavy lifting.  We were a true power team.  And we didn't even start til after the little ones were in bed, and finished in only about two hours.  

And here was the end result:




Oh yeah, we were able to park both cars inside nice and easy now! And everything had a home!  We did some singing.  Some dancing.  Some giggling.  Some jumping.  And as I mentioned, we celebrated with a glass of wine right in front of it, staring in at our new expanded living space, with jaws dropped and eyes wide open.  It was a happy moment.

So, what makes this space so great, and what did we do to make such a dramatic difference?  Well, breaking it into zones was a huge part of it!  And then finding ways to get most things onto the walls vs. the floor was another huge piece of the puzzle.  

We were fortunate enough to have a small cutout in the wall in the front of the garage, which gave us the perfect space to hang some shelves {that our neighbor generously GAVE to us for FREE?!}


With the shelves I was able to get a space for my gardening supplies and our auto supplies!  


And our wagon tucked perfectly under the bottom shelf, nice and out of the way, but easy to get out when needed!  Love the seed packet container?  Check out how that came to be, right here....

Our hose used to be on a floor winding system, but again, trying to maximize floor space and making it easy to get around the cars when parked in the garage, a cheapo wall hose organizer was hung in it's place:


It even came with a little cabinet holder for the hose sprayers!  Love that!


Still on that wall, all of our golf bags were hung by simple screw in hooks. 


And next was the newly created station for our friendly pups:


This area works great for hanging all of their leashes from an old coat hook rack:


And storing all of their supplies and food:


On the opposite side of the door leading into our kitchen, we had placed a large coat wardrobe, to store our winter coats and boots during the summer months.  This helped a ton since we were never blessed with a true coat closet inside the home.

And to really use the space, we installed a broom hanging rail to the side, where I keep our mops, broom and dustpan, right in reach from the kitchen.


The handles just snap in and out, making it a super easy storage solution for me, because again, I don't have a closet inside to hold these items for me.

Around to the back of the garage, we have our outdoor freezer chest and next to that, is where the magic happens for the kids.  A large set of shelves was the perfect place to hold my new green plastic storage baskets {scored on sale from Target for $6 each!}, along with some additional storage I already had on hand.  


With the bins all labeled and ready to go, everything had a home and the kids would never be left wondering where to put their belongings again!


Here is little Parker now, testing things out....


Next in line is my favorite part of the whole space!  The perfect place to do any home improvement project!  No excuses now for not getting things done around here!


The workbench has loads of work space now that nothing needs to be stacked in piles on top of it!  Everything has a place to call it's own, whether inside a mini-labeled drawer, an old plastic shoe box or on the pegboard.  It all works together in harmony!  And now the hubs and I can too!



And right above the workbench is actually a very crucial storage space for our family.  Awhile back, my husband and his handy papa, built an overhead storage shelf, similar to the kind of you find at Home Depot.  They just used scrap wood pieces, and completely expanded our garage storage space!



The upper storage holds two shop vacs, collapsible chairs, strollers, a fan, a snow blower.... all sorts of larger items!    It is a fantastic use of space!

Onto the final wall, where you will find that we placed all of our fire wood into two lidded bins, to ensure it stays nice and dry and ready whenever we are, for a good late night bonfire!


And using more of the awesome screw in wall hooks, hangs a post-hole digger, again, up and off of the floor!!



The hooks are so versatile!  We even used them to hang our bikes from the ceiling!  Is there anything these amazing little beauties can't hold?


And next comes another storage shelf, holding a compressor and parts on top, cleaning supplies to keep the garage in tip top shape moving forward, a tool box filled additional tool pieces, and a dry place to store bags of potting soil and grass seed.



On the far side of the wall, boasts even more storage, this time in the form of a 2 x 4 screwed into the wall, with smaller hooks screwed into the 2 x 4.


It created cheap and perfect yard tool storage!  Up and out of the way, yet at a simple reach when needed!


Last but not least, some stacking bins tuck perfectly in the corner, to hold all sorts of garage goodies from shop vac attachments to life jackets and kid's tackle boxes!


Now you have had the grand garage tour!  

Some final side by side shots?




Not bad what can be done in a matter of a couple of hours with a lot of motivation behind you!  And yes, I know there is a big rectangle mark on the floor of my garage, note to self to use bigger cardboard next time I get the urge to spray paint something!  Oops!  I say it adds character, my husband on the other hand.... 

So now my pledge, to not be afraid of my garage.  To brave it even during the winter months, no matter how cold my toes are.  To enjoy it and use it for many more fun projects around the home!  To keep it two car able until the harsh winter comes, because scraping windows daily is no fun task!

So what do you think?  Any favorite parts?  Any ideas you are going to snag and give a try in your own space?  Any awesome ideas that are working wonders in your garage, that you care to share with us?  Please tell!!



44 comments:

  1. I am very impressed! It is the best feeling to finish a huge project like that- now you can enjoy your holiday weekend.

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  2. GORGEOUS! I want to move in, seriously! LOL Great job and it inspires me to get busy on our downstairs storage area in our house (sort of like a basement) so things are easier to find. Congratulations!

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  3. FAB-YOU-LOUS!!! It must make you happy every time you pass through! Your son is such a cutie! :)

    -heather

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  4. You are such an inspiration! I think I'll finally be able to tackle my basement this weekend because of your garage post. We DO NOT HAVE A GARAGE!! I live in the country on a 26 acre farm in a 1600 sq. ft. cape cod. We have a giant basement, but no garage.

    The basement is full of bikes, the washer/dryer, pantry, storage, cat litter box and a million other things that most people have inside their garage. Our only defense is that we built the house BEFORE the two kids came along and it was fine then!

    Thanks again for posting this and getting my lazy bottom motivated!

    Michele

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  5. You AMAZE me!!! I love it! You're invited to my house ANYTIME. Once you recover from passing out, you can help me organize. I want all those pretty storage containers.

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  6. Very inspirational. I love the idea of zones for different things. I might try this in my store room like you did in your garage. Thanks for sharing!

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  7. I really like what you've done with your garage, especially the pet area. I've been wanting to do something like this for our dogs ever since I saw your post. Could you tell me where you found the container for your dog food? Thanks for all of your inspiration!

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  8. Hi Theresa!

    I believe we found the petfood bin from Walmart. Here is a similar one: http://www.walmart.com/ip/Suncast-72-Quart-Food-Storage-Bin-Cats-Dogs/9606596

    Hope that helps!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  9. Jen, You totally inspired me to clean out my garage. As we speak everything is pulled out and put into categories on the driveway awaiting a plan to put it all back. I have a question for you. I didn't see any kids bikes in your garage photos. I have 3 boys too and we have all kinds of bikes, scooters, etc. They end up in a tangled pile on the garage floor or worse outside in the rain. They use them almost every day. Do you have any suggestions for taming this beast? Something that would be easy for the kids to stick with. Thanks so much and thank you for all of the wonderful ideas!!

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  10. you are so lucky that your hubby will let you touch the garage. ours i feel is in utter chaos but my hubby says it's organized and that it's his space so i'm pretty much not allowed to touch it :(

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  11. Thank you for sharing your home with us!!! I am wanting to tackle our garage as well and in the same boat as Heather G. We have little ones and lots of ride on toys, tricycles, scooters, etc. What do you suggest for storage that is accessible for kids? Thank you!

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  12. A couple of ideas come to mind.

    Possibly adding a special storage shelf just for the ride on toys to line up/stack?

    Or look for areas/shelving in the garage that the ride on toys could be tucked under?

    We typically kept ours out in the back on the patio during the summer and stored in the shed during the winter, however, this isn't the most idea way to do it either.

    We use hooks in the ceiling to hang all of our bikes, this works when you need to get the bikes/ride on toys out of the way, however, is impossible to have your little ones put them away on their own.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  13. I just found your blog, and you have got some awesome ideas. Thanks for the inspiration!

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  14. This and the new Ikea catalog really make me want to clean up our garage as well, but as we have only moved into our house not too long ago I have some other - more important - projects to do in the house. As our garage isn't really very crowded, but still very chaotic, I might clean it up by-and-by. Yeah. Thanks for all the brilliant ideas that you share with your readers.
    Jule

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  15. Jen, I am in love with your blog!!! I love everything you have done in your house! You are soooo inspiring,thank you for sharing all of your tips!!! Showing the pics of the garage to my hubby!!!!

    Lori

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  16. I love how neat your garage looks. That work table is a dream of mine. I don't have room in my garage for one, but there is room in the basement. By the way, I believe the garage walls that are joining the house should be taped and mudded for fire/exhaust fume safety. The codes may be different in your area, though.

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  17. @Sara,

    We really want to finish off all of the walls in the near future, however, our home did pass code in this area when we built it, we weren't able to close and move in until it did.

    Thanks so much!

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  18. Great organizational plan! Do you have a lawn mower or wheel barrow? Do you store them elsewhere?

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  19. @Anonymous,

    We do have a small push mower which during the summer we just tuck on the side wall under our window, and in the winter, hoist up to the top storage shelf out of the way. No wheel barrow but we keep our garden wagon tucked under some shelving.

    xoxo,
    Jen

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  20. I love your blog. I have been wanting to get organized, but I just never knew where to start. Today I have already read 4 of your posts on getting organized. I read about your kitchen, your playroom and two garage posts. This is truly inspiring. PS I totally love that you put that pressed tin looking backsplash from Home Depot in your pantry<3.

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  21. Hi!

    First, I have to tell you how much I love your blog. I can't remember how I found it, but I've spent the last two weeks working my way through the archives and bookmarking posts for inspiration/future project reference. I adore your decorating and organizing style!

    I have a question about hanging the bikes. Did you have to do anything special? I have two bikes I need to hang, and those screw-in hooks look like a perfect solution. (I live in a small apartment, and I don't have a storage area/closet big enough to stash the bikes.)

    Thanks for all the hard work and love that so clearly goes into your blog. It's one of my favorites. :)

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  22. Fabulous job! I was wondering how you made the great labels for the clear bins with blue lids stacked 3x3 on the counter? I've just cleared out, cleaned, sorted and put back all the cupboards in my laundry/mud room and want to label all of the newly organized containers. I love your bright, eye-catching labels, can you share how you made them? Thanks so much, from another "Jen".

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    Replies
    1. Hi Jen!

      Here is a tutorial for you: http://iheartorganizing.blogspot.com/2010/08/you-asked-label-me.html

      I followed steps similar to that and mounted on pretty cardstock and laminated.

      xoxo!
      Jen

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  23. One of my new years resolutions is to tackle our garage. I love organizing just like you but the garage for me is so daunting!! I think it's because there are so many different things going on in there and my ocd mind of mine gets frustrated..but you have given me the encouragement to do it this week. Thanks!! s mine done.

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  24. right now my suitcases are in my garage. where do you keep yours? or how do you suggest people store their luggage? I love your garage by the way! Thanks for the inspiration (and guilt) i now have!!

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    Replies
    1. I store mine in a small storage area under our stairs. I store them one inside the other to make the best use of the space. I would think you would want to store them in a dry space to avoid molding or attracting bugs/mice, however, if your garage is your only option, I would recommend off the floor and maybe adding some dryer sheets inside to repel unwanted visitors and to keep a fresh smell.

      Hope that helps!

      xoxo,
      Jen

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  25. Nice!
    FYI....Steaks are meat or fish. Stakes help hold up and support plants!

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  26. Great stuff!! ..but maybe next project could be cleaning up this webpage. my computer just about crashed because of all the pics/posts...

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    Replies
    1. Maybe you could get a computer that actually functions properly?

      Delete
  27. Amazing!!!! We have an over sized 3 car garage and have managed to use every inch of space. As a pregnant woman who is in extreme nesting mode...this is FABULOUS!!!!!!!! So excited for my garage future :)

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  28. OMG!! I am SO INSPIRED NOW to go clean out & revamp our garage!! P.S. though, we're military and are just renting our current house (boo☹) so it sucks that all the renovations I want to make can't be done, even the small things like putting up shelves I have to think twice about since I can see the holes that have been patched up by previous renters and it's not very easy to hide the marks...
    but here's to making things work, eh?
    Thanks again Jen!

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  29. Do you have any suggestions for storage for larger items for kids, think scooters, bikes, skateboards, etc. I love the idea of hanging them from the ceiling, and that works for my bike and the hub's bike, but if we hang all of the kid's stuff, they have to wait on a adult to get it down for them. Our kids are old enough to play outside on their own, so I don't want them to have to get an adult to get their own toys out.

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    Replies
    1. What about utilizing wall space and adding hooks at their level? Potentially adding a rail to hang their bikes from?

      xo!
      Jen

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  30. I totally hear ya on not wanting to deal with the garage! I'm also a Wisconsin Gal & find myself throwing stuff into the garage & closing the door without another thought. I heart your makeover!! It's amazing!! I made an attempt to organize the garage this fall, but we just have too much stuff and my husband is not ready to get rid of anything (most of it is his) so, alas, until we can afford to built a storage building, the garage will always be full. I did at least get it somewhat clean & as organized as I could (all things considered). Nice job on yours!!

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  31. Really like the workbench area...my husband wants to know what is hanging on the wall with the varied size drawers. He wants that to sort a lot of his tools and screws and stuff in...but we don't know what it is or where to find it. Please help! Thanks. :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Cindy!

      They are organizers found from Home Depot - we purchased two of these and stacked them: http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xit/R-100005768/h_d2/ProductDisplay?langId=-1&storeId=10051&catalogId=10053

      xo!
      Jen

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  32. I'm revisiting this as I put together my household inspiration booklet -- ideas for things I want to get done around here after 5 years FINALLY -- and printed a few photos to tape into it. SO glad I pinned this well over a year ago so that I could find it now when I truly need it!

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  33. Hi Jen, I absolutely love your blog and the creative and simply beautiful way in which u organize! Thank you for the ongoing 'pinspiration'! I am a high school English teacher, and somewhat of a grammar nazi, so I thought I should draw your attention to your garden tool organization; the yard steak label should read yard stakes. I mean no criticism, it simply popped out me, as my eye is trained to pick up spelling errors, usually they're circled in that dreaded red pen though!

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    Replies
    1. Yep! It's been a topic of laughter since I originally posted a few years back. :)

      xo,
      Jen

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  34. Hi Jen,

    I have not come across a site more inspiring than yours in the organization arena. I also don't know how you do it with 3 boys!! I hope you have some help at home (though it doesn't seem like you do)!

    Anyway - can you tell me where you got those green sterilite boxes and drawers? I can only seem to find the white ones everywhere I look.

    Thanks!

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    Replies
    1. Hi and thank you for the sweetness!

      I found them at Target awhile back and have been on the hunt since as well, and also have only seen the white. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!

      xo,
      Jen

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    2. Thanks for the quick reply on such an old post!

      Delete
  35. Wow! You are a go getter. The garage is fantastic. Now you can breathe better, given the extra space.
    I love it!

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