Dreaming of an Organized Garage

I really like an organized home. When things get all chaotic and messy, I find that my mind kinda’ gets that way, too. But when everything has a place—and everything is in its place—I feel a sense of peace. I can think straight, relax and enjoy.

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Some rights reserved: Rubbermaid Fast Track

I really like an organized garage, too. At least I’ve enjoyed the pictures I’ve seen of garages that function in all the ways that garages are supposed to. Let’s just say I haven’t experienced this first hand.

Faithful readers know that my husband is a woodworker—a master craftsman. He remodels our homes, designs and builds heirloom furniture. This amazing talent does come with unintended consequences. Let’s just say the man does not possess a single iota of organizational talent. I’ll leave it there, although I could offer several pictures examples to illustrate my point.

For 27 years we had a two-car garage, also known as the hubs’ workshop—and for the record, there was no space in this garage for a vehicle of any size.

Soon, we will move to a home with a beautiful, pristine, three-car garage—complete with built-in cabinetry and extensive pegboard. I worry that instead of a regular-sized chaotic, messy workshop we’re going to end up with an extra large chaotic, messy workshop. And still no room for a vehicle of any size.

My sweet husband has promised me this will not happen—that we will have room for two vehicles and it will be neatly organized and tidy, while still fully functioning so he can make me stuff.

I believe. Sure I do.

And to that end, I’d like to suggest a couple of neat tips and tricks that will help keep him organized.

Carabiner hooks. I know how hard it is to keep tools organized and by organized I mean “able to be found.” A carabiner is an oblong metal ring with one spring-hinged side that is used especially in mountain climbing to connect stuff. They’re easy to open with one hand and come in all sizes from itty-bitty keychain size to big ones. A carabiner is the perfect way to organize box-end wrenches and other items that have a hole in the handle. We will have dozens of these, which should tell you just how many tools he has because you need many when you cannot find any of them.

Magnetic bowls. Random nails, brads, screws, bolts, staples and other small, pointy, metal objects can be quickly corralled in a magnetic bowl. Just remember, Honey,  this is not a handy place to set your mobile phone, or any other thing electronic that does not play well with magnets. He will have a number of magnetic bowls to match the many different sizes of screws, bolts, nuts, nails and brads that master craftsmen (and auto mechanics) require to be really good at what they do.

Magnetic trays. I think we will need a dozen or so magnetic trays to keep long objects like wrenches, pliers and screwdrivers organized and also handy when needed. Really, this is such a brilliant idea. I’ve seen how my husband works. He uses dozens of tools at the same time and he isn’t about to run back to a cabinet or bin between every use.

Hangers. Not clothes hangers, but a quick system like this, is just great to keep odd-sized things off the floor and visible so they are handy. The hubster will need an entire wall of these. Given the great reviews and reasonable price, he’s going to be one happy camper.

While we wait out these last few months, we are having a great time planning. In fact, the hubs is really getting into the ideas I’m coming up with for how two vehicles will be able to get along with a wood working shop. While he promises me his shop will be confined to a single space, I’m not taking any chances.

I’ve been promoted to Shop Assistant and you can be sure I’ll come fully prepared with carabiners, magnetic bowls, and trays in multiple colors and sizes. And something else.

I’ve got my eye on a killer sawdust-collection system

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15 replies
  1. Miriam
    Miriam says:

    You could wall off “his space” from the rest of the garage.That gives you more space for organizing his stuff, and ensures the rest of the garage is kept for cars!

    Reply
  2. Shey
    Shey says:

    I know a guy who built a second garage, and then a workshop. Guess what he has now? A wood-working shop, an electrical hobby shop, and a general tools and maintenance shop. No cars inside. But, his wife at least insisted on a carport–to keep the snow off.
    I recommend taking the “single car” bay for yourself. Leave the other two to him, that way he can decide to park his car or to use his tools.

    Reply
  3. Elle
    Elle says:

    My husband also is a handyman/hobby type of guy. He used to do a lot of woodworking and furniture building. Now he’s moved on to small engine repair/lawn care because there is such a need for it in our area. It is much less expensive for my husband to fix someone’s leaf blower/lawn mower/string trimmer than for the person to buy a new one. But, that means our huge backyard shed is overflowing into the yard with machines and parts as well as tools. I haven’t yet found, in 21+ years of marriage, a way to get him organized. 🙂 Maybe most creative types just aren’t?

    Reply
  4. Sheila
    Sheila says:

    I agree separate work shop. We moved and downscaled after retiring. We built 42 by 64 garage with promise that my car would be inside. Ha! His toys got larger ( farm tractor, skidster, 4 wheelers,more shop tools), you get the picture. So added 24 ft. more. Well then came pontoon and bulldozer a new barn was built to accommodate. So 15 years later the car is still outside. Good luck with trying to keep him organized. In 50 years of marriage I haven’t learned how so I hope you have better luck.

    Reply
    • Guest
      Guest says:

      Oh this is so funny. Really. I need a picture of this mammoth sized structure for all the toys and your tiny car sitting out in the cold. You gave me a good laugh. But 50 years together someone’s doing something right!

      Reply
  5. Cathy
    Cathy says:

    One thing we are going to do once we get the pegboard and cabinets up in the garage, is I am going to paint the pegboard a light color, then once hubby has his tools hung up the way he wants, I am going to outline them in black, so everyone will know where to put back any tool that was taken down (and we’ll know right away which one is missing). Hubby knows where his tools go, but the rest of us don’t always.

    Reply
  6. Sherry Morgan
    Sherry Morgan says:

    Lovely pic of very organized garage…. I dream to be that organized. However, in New England, garages never (!) stay that clean. Between the wet leaves in the fall, the chunks of snow mixed with dirt and salt in the winter and then the mud in the spring; we need a power washer to remove it all…

    Reply
    • Guest
      Guest says:

      I guess we do need to remember that a garage is still a garage! I just want to make sure ours will have room to keep our cars out of the winter weather.

      Reply
  7. Janie Dale
    Janie Dale says:

    Love your emails/blog! The website www.familyhandyman.com has wonderful and inexpensive ideas and how to’s for organizing the garage, cleaning tips, etc. and many of them are quite similar to yours. Thought you or your readers might want to take a look. It has become my bible for doing things around the house. Something I haven’t found suggested anywhere is the use of Popsicle sticks. They are the handiest things in the world (I’m telling on myself for eating so many). I use them in the garage for scraping nails etc back into the appropriate containers. I use them with a cut up tshirt rag to clean in the crevices all over the house and they make a beautiful smooth line if you are applying calking somewhere. Because they are wooden and pliable they don’t scratch whatever your cleaning such as the grooves in cabinets or furniture. Just thought I would share the tip since it sounds like you will be cleaning up a lot in the garage.

    Reply
  8. Muffingirl
    Muffingirl says:

    Good luck assisting your wood worker. I too have a husband with the same hobby. We built a second garage specifically for his shop 18 years ago when we had our house built and so glad we did. Even with a huge dust collection system, there is still saw dust everywhere. Now that he is retired, he does keep his shop organized and does make me and our family and friends a lot of cool furniture Nd other things. If it’s not too late, think of building him a separate shop.

    Reply
    • Emjay
      Emjay says:

      Yep. Agree! I have your husband’s (and Mary’s) triplet brother right here. One unintended consequence: Small woodchips come into the house in his pockets and on his clothing in spite of efforts to keep the chips out. I have to be vigilant in keeping this stuff out of the lint collector in the dryer! I don’t want it to accumulate in the vents and be a fire hazard.

      Reply
      • Guest
        Guest says:

        Aren’t we the lucky ones! Could we ever afford to buy the things our hubbies make? I know I couldn’t. My hubs can copy things I find in magazines, Pinterest … Pottery Barn Catalog! And often he improves on them. And his creations will last through eternity. He uses a lot of glue, screws. And screws and more screws. I love it.

    • Guest
      Guest says:

      Wouldn’t that be nice! I think we may actually divide that 3rd garage with a full on wall floor to ceiling. That will help contain all that sawdust. Actually, I love the smell of sawdust 🙂

      Reply

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