Thursday, January 6, 2011

Maximizing Space

It's a new year, and a new mental rolodex full of goals I'd like to accomplish.
Thsi year, I'm trying to find organizational solutions that stick...
I'm trying to think beyond just putting clothes away
or trying to avoid leaving the mail scattered on the kitchen counter.

It's easy to put things in bins and put those bins on a shelf and call it a day.
And this is a great tool for reducing clutter and giving things a "home", but I struggle sometimes because adding that shelving unit gave me organization, but it didn't give me space.

So, I've been on a mission to find empty or unused space, and shove my junk there, leaving floor space and corner space and all the cool space for Me. 
And The Redhead.  And maybe Mr. V.

The garage is on our "major organizational overhaul" list for 2011, and it's the first place where we've been able to create about 100 square feet of usable space for storage that we didn't have before.

Where did we find it? 
Just look UP.

A lot of newer construction homes have spaces like these (so you might even find a space like this in your garage, too) - it's a raised area along the edge of the garage closest to the door. 
And it's easily 4 feet high.  (Above the garage door when it's open).  And not being used for ANYTHING.
Well, until now.

Mr. V. got tired of hanging all our patio furniture on strong, yet precarious, hooks like these all winter long.

We're finishing our basement, and our storage room won't fit the furniture and all my junk, and my junk is awesome.  So it stays.

But Mr. V. wasn't digging the patio furniture
taking up all the room in the 3rd stall in the garage all winter, either. 
Evidently, a 3rd garage stall is not for a car, for kiddo toys or for general, functional storage. 
It's for MANLY things, like snowblowers! 
Lawn mowers! 
Bean Bag toss games! (yes, also manly. Um....... Yes.)
So to his credit, instead of just complaining about
 the storage issue, he came up with a solution.
His goal was to create storage space out of the wasted space above the garage door.
As in, when the garage door is UP, the shelving is ABOVE it.
It had never occured to me to tap into this space.  Not once. 
And I'm a little bitter about that.
So, [begrudgingly] props to Mr. V.

Since I'm only as mechanically inclined as a power sander and a cordless drill,
the following master plan is in the words of "guest blogger"... Mr.V.

Handsome devil, yes? :)

The End Result:

The Tutorial, by Mr. V.:

The first thing I had to find out was what kind of support structure we had in the garage.
This is an important step that you'll want to run by someone with expertise -
we're lucky to have a family friend who happens
to be a brilliant engineer who we roped into becoming our "consultant". 
But you just need to find out what you've got to work with.  no one wants storage shelves crashing onto their car or garage door.

We had a manufactured steel I-beam which means there was only one 2x6 to drill lag bolts into. So, knowing that, I had to use something stronger than wood to hang on that side.
I cut 4 ft garage strapping down to 3 ft and hung them with 3-inch lag bolts.

If you have an all wood I-beam, you can use wood and attach each one with 2 4-inch lag bolts.
Place those every 2 feet apart.
On the other side I cut 2x4 down to 3 ft & used a stud finder (Emily: FOUND! :) ) and attached those every 32 inches (every other stud).

I used 4 or 5 in lag bolts. Then I used 16 ft 2x4's and strung those on each side as the bottom for support. Then I measured the width between the support on the wall, & I-beam & cut 2x4's to fit & hung those every 16 inches.

Then put plywood on top of those supports for the flooring.

OK... is it winning any fashion awards or going to be in the next issue
 of Vogue: Garage Edition
BUT, here's what we're able to now store up there:
- 1 large patio table
- 6 [non-folding] patio chairs - 2 are rockers
- The Redhead's full-size sand & water table
- Radio Flyer
(with canopy.  Don't judge us.  The Redhead and I are a pale, pale people.)
- "Wiggles" car
(similar in size to the Radio Flyer, for those who don't know who these singing, turtleneck-wearing, indefinably-creepy dancers are)
- Kiddie pool

So think about how much space that freed up!
What could you do with that?  :)


1 comment:

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