Organizing the Garage

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Ever wished for that perfect clean garage?  I’ve always dreamed that someday my cluttered and overflowing garage would somehow become perfectly organized – the absolute man-cave of garages, and the envy of all my neighbors.  Well mine is still not perfect but you can easily turn your nightmare garage into something more reasonable in just one weekend.  Just like the motto on our BusyDads website - These tips will not give a busy dad the perfect garage, but they can certainly help you to have a better looking one!

closetTHE ENTRYWAY DMZ – One of my biggest problems was having everyone getting dirt and mud from their boots and shoes inside the house and garage.  Now it’s certainly better to have the mess in your garage instead of the house, but how about cutting it out of both?  The key here is to dedicate a portion of the entryway of your garage as a mudroom or de-mudded zone (DMZ).  Those of you with master carpenter skills can create a real mudroom, but for the rest of us we could simply place a rubberized tray where people can leave their wet boots before going through your garage.  The tray can capture all the muck and debris before it gets tracked all through the garage and house.  A cheap alternative would be to use one of those washer pans made for if your washing machine overflows.  Add garbage cans, a rack for hanging coats, and even a small clean up station with towels, and a hand cleaner dispenser to make sure that you’re in good shape before entering and leaving the garage.  I can’t tell you how many times this DMZ station has come in handy right at the side door to the garage - even if I’m just popping in to grab a tool or something.


YARD TOOLS - Tired of looking for your landscaping or yard tools?  Come on, I know yours are in a tangled mess in the corner of the garage.  Pulling one out is nearly impossible without dumping all of them onto the back end of your car.  Now you can go out and buy some of those expensive garage organizers (see the link below).  Another way of organizing your long-handled tools is by using pieces of PVC pipe.  Simply cut some small pieces of 1-1/2” or 2” plastic or PVC pipe by just cutting the pipe at an angle.  The angle cut is important so that you have clearance to put mounting screws through the pipes into a short section of 2x4 stud.  Then just attach the 2x4 to your garage wall and make sure that the pipe spacing is enough to allow easy access for the tools you are going to put there. Simply drop the handle of your rake, shovel, or other tool down into the PVC pipe sections on the wall.  It will look neat and beautiful, plus there will be fewer scratches on your car too. 

workbenchREMODELING LATELY - Got any old kitchen cabinets from your last remodeling project?  Or maybe from Craigslist or a neighborhood garage sale?  These old cabinets can be a great addition to your garage. You can install either uppers or base cabinets with countertops for next to nothing…and since they are in the garage nobody really cares if you did it perfectly.  A word of caution here – FIRST make sure that they will fit and not be on the way or your car or opening doors (yes I messed up and had to move them).

HEADS UP - Got too much stuff?  Don’t forget to use the overhead space too!  I may be time to take advantage of the height of your garage.  Hangers, hooks, pulleys can all be used to efficiently store your multitude of stuff up and out of the way.  Just screw and fasten those platforms or hangers to the wall and ceiling so that it will not require any legs to support it under.  That’s where our bicycles and other occasional use items (ladder) are stored.

PLAN B / RECYCLE - Go green, recycle everything!  Just scan over the raw amount of unused stuff in your garage.  I found that the NUMBER 1 way to remove clutter and better organize my garage was to get rid of half of the crap I never needed in the first place.  Throw it away; have a garage sale; or (like in my town) you can recycle the usable items by donating them to what we call the “reuse shed” at our local landfill.  Instead of throwing something broken (but repairable) we can leave it in the shed for somebody else to repair or re-use.  By being creative and doing some tweaking here and there, you could be amazed of the infinity number of garage items that you can do without.

YardShedTHE YARD SHED – If all else fails you can install a yard shed to handle the overflow from the garage - further reducing clutter.  But take it from me, you’re just avoiding the task of cleaning the garage by sending it all out to the shed where someday you’re going to be overflowing anyway - so why bother starting now?



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Home Made Motorcycle Lift

Average: 4.1 (10 votes)

Every motorcycle owner knows that if you want to do any work on your road bike, even something as simple as changing the oil, it’s nearly impossible to keep the bike upright and stable. Even worse, on my Kawasaki Vulcan 900, the oil level sight glass is way down at the very bottom of the engine casings next to the shift lever. Absolutely freaking impossible to hold the bike upright while you’re bent over trying to see the oil level in the window. I have no idea how the Harley riders or other Cruisers do this either. Let me show you how to build a home-made bike lift for next to nothing and it works like a charm….

Make it a New Year's Date

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GlassesToday it seems like 24 hours is just too short for one day - and forget getting your work done in just 8 hours. That does not include traffic; travel; shopping; taking care of the kids; mowing the yard; making meals; and taking out the trash. No matter how busy we get, there’s no excuse for compromising or giving up our role as fathers and husbands. Speaking about taking out the trash, when’s the last time you took your wife for a special New Year's night out?


Average: 4 (1 vote)

raccoonWe live in a rural subdivision and every year will have to deal with nuisance critters getting into our garage and eating all the cat food. It’s quite easy to do because we have a kitty-door in the wall. Our cats will just sit there passively watching a possum, raccoon, or s skunk eat all their food. So I use a live trap to make sure these nocturnal visitors pay the cover charge. And if it happens to be a skunk this process can get difficult. Here’s how I do it…

How To Cut Countertops

Average: 5 (1 vote)

circular sawAs our remodel job progresses, this weekend I tackled installing our new laminate countertops. This wasn’t a big job, but it was one I had never done before so the anxiety level was elevated. You know – the old fear-of-failure mechanisms kicked in and I tried to over analyze everything. So with a moderate level of planning and a go-for-it attitude, you can do it too. Here’s how I did it…

Blue Ribbons and Good Times

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Shiny blue ribbons, mooing cows, and sweaty summer days seem to epitomize 4-H for many. 4-Hers haul their animals off the family farm and drag them to the county fair where the animals are spiffed up and shown for bragging rights… right? Well, 4-H entails much more; it requires hard work and dedication and provides a time for kids and their parents to work together towards a common goal, whether that is first place for a pig or grand champion on a poster. For a busy dad, 4-H may seem daunting. Surprisingly, it’s not only manageable but truly rewarding.

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