The little things in life

The last few weeks have been a dark period for me and the blogosphere. I have no excuses other then work and A Lot of out of town adventures. Between camping on the beach, Andy’s business trip to Egypt and a weekend with the ‘rents’ it has been a fun filled busy month! Don’t let me fool you with all of this talk of busyness…we have still been working around the house in our spare hours (or minutes) to finish things on the to-do list. Progress may be an overstatement, but we are definitely chipping away at small items we wanted to finish for the summer.

A few weekends back, before the above mentioned craziness, I walked into the garage looking for our camping gear. Thirty minutes later I was completely frustrated, covered in dirt/tile dust, had a bruised shin and still had not found what I was looking for. Cue the first amazing garage picture

I don’t know what I can really say about the state of affairs in our garage. It is a mix between storage shed, wood shop, tile cutting arena, bike repair shop and it looks like an obsessive compulsive has been hoarding empty paint cans in the back corner for years.

Another shot…

May I take this opportunity to thank Nipo for putting up with this mess for the last few months and reminding me on a daily basis how filthy the garage really was by tracking tile dust inside the house all over our dark wood floors.

Back to the fateful Sunday when I went off for camping gear…never to return (ok…overexxageration – I did return- 7 hours later…). It became clear in the first hour what my mission in life was…at least for that Sunday… Clean the garage.

The first part of this mission required pulling everything out of the center of the garage on to the driveway and into the front yard.

The next few hours was spent sorting through about 10-15 boxes of crap we had never dealt with after our move. I am pretty sure our neighbors have been looking in our garage in recent months and were ready to recommend we be on the Hoarders television show. So, I created a couple self imposed rules while sorting, (I plan on using this in the office and middle bedroom when I have enough will power to organize those spaces)!

Step 1: If I (we) had not used something in over a year (besides a few sentimental items) they were going in the dumpster/goodwill. This does not apply to books, or tools.

Step 2: Sort through old college notebooks and decide what could be thrown away. Between the two of us we threw away 3 boxes worth of binders and notes. (Did I really need to save my class doodles I mean notes from psychology of the human personality…umm NO)

Step 3: Sort like items and either pack them into one storage container (with a clear label) or locate them in the same vicinity. We now keep all our paint cans in one corner of the garage on a shelf so they are easy to find and access. Camping gear also found a home on the top shelf.

Step 4: Place occasional/rarely used items on the top shelves or towards the back of the shelf. This way you are not pulling out tons of crap just to find your flashlight/bike pump.

Step 5: Go Up! Use brackets/hooks to hang items like bikes from the rafters instead of leaving everything on the ground. We placed Andy’s surfboard and ladder on a high shelf. We also installed bike hooks from the garage rafters so we could keep the road bikes off the ground.

Step 6: Create a clean and usable workspace. This step really only applies if you do a lot of projects in the garage. Since our garage duels as a woodshop it was important for me to have a clean space to work on projects and access the miter saw.

After seven hours, a few cuts, nose full of tile dust I was able to pull the car into the garage for the first time since we have lived at 1508…in one word…priceless.

It may seem like a trivial thing, but I still smile when I can open my garage and drive in after work. It amazes me how simple it is to make a space feel more livable without spending a dime. My total cost on this project was 20 dollars (we spent 6 months ago) buying the bike hangers. While the garage is no looker, it is SO much more functional. I can’t count how many times we have looked at each other and said, “Not gonna lie…I am really lovin the garage!”

Have any of you worked on projects lately that required a few hours of elbow grease/organizing and made your life better?

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