Rakes & shovels & edgers – oh my…

I think the planning of projects is often more time consuming than the actual project itself? This one is a good example.  Hours and hours spent planning. Less than an hour to install. When I say hours and hours, I mean hours and hours over several years that probably have added up to days and days of my life. Crazy, but good to have it done – finally. And – not to be annoying or anything, but another thing checked off my To Do List.

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I’ve been wanting to get our yard tool garage corner organized for a while now.  I have been thinking about it since we had the garage built. Initially, Tad was thinking he wanted to finish the garage with insulation and drywall before doing any organizational things.  I thought that seemed reasonable in that I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money and time installing shelving and other organizational systems if we were going to just have to remove and possibly replace them in the next little bit. That was a few years ago. The garage isn’t finished yet. We are still talking about doing it. We’ve discussed some of the details. Tad is still formulating a final plan in his head. I would like to get the inside of the house finished before finishing the garage. Anyway, the story of the garage goes on and on…

In the meantime, I decided that we could still get a small part of the place organized.  The thing that has been making me the craziest is the yard tool section. So, I thought that would be a good place to start.  We have been just piling the tools in one corner of the garage. Inevitably, the tool that I want to use is always at the bottom of the pile. I don’t really like piles of things – unless it is piles of cookies or piles of strawberries. So, the pile of yard tools hasn’t been working for me – at all.

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I’ve liked the idea of getting stuff up off the floor and up onto the wall. It frees up floor space – so we can walk comfortably around the cars and it makes cleaning the garage floor a lot quicker and easier. My initial thought was that I could just hang some hooks up on the exposed studs. That seemed like the least expensive path – and pretty simple.  Then, I started thinking about it in detail.  I realized that plan did not accommodate all of the yard tools. We have more yard tools than we have available exposed studs.

I immediately moved on to the idea of installing a 2X4 horizontally along the wall and attaching that to the exposed studs.  Then, I could install a few hooks or nails along the 2X4 to hang the tools on.  I did a bit of measuring and thought about the details of this plan.  This was an ok plan, but I decided it wasn’t very flexible. The hooks/nails wouldn’t be able to be moved easily. I wanted something more flexible.

I had refrained from looking at any type of commercial organizational systems up until this point.  I am entranced by these things.  I get caught up in the whole pretty storage thing.  That then leads to needing to get more stuff so I can get the pretty storage thing. It’s crazy. I have to seriously restrain myself. I have to prepare ahead of time. I have to walk in there with a very specific plan to not get side tracked and talked into anything more than I need.  Anyway, I researched a couple of organizational systems online.  I eventually decided on one of the systems.  I thought I knew what I needed based on what I saw online. I made the trip to the store to see things in person. I quickly realized that everything I picked out online was wrong.  So. I got a few questions answered. I checked out the many accessories in person. I headed back home to take a few more measurements and make a more accurate assessment of my yard tool collection.

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I laid the tools out on the floor. I measured again. I figured out what assortment of hooks were needed for our tools. Please ignore the dirty garage floor. It’s been a long, messy winter.

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I ran the final plan by Tad. He wasn’t completely sold, but was willing to give it a try. We trekked back to the store (though not really a trek – it’s only about 15 minutes away) and picked up the supplies.

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I opted for a rail system that has moveable/replaceable accessories. Here is what we needed to get our yard tools organized:

  1. Two 80″ rails to be installed one beneath the other.
  2. 7 straight yard tool hooks.
  3. 2 large yard tool holders for tools that can’t be hung on traditional hooks.
  4. 10 stainless steel screws.
  5. A new drill bit – to drill pilot holes.  A new drill bit because our current supply of drill bits is disorganized…
  6. A bar of soap to coat the screws in so the stud doesn’t split – at the suggestion of the guy at the store who help us gather our organizing system supplies.
  7. A level to make sure the rails were level. We already had the level.
  8. A sharpie to mark our pilot holes. We already had a sharpie.
  9. A drill. We already had that too.

It’s everything I was looking for – in a yard tool organizing system:

  • The tools are off the floor and neatly stored on the wall.
  • The tools are easy to access.
  • The rails and hooks seem to be made from quality materials. It seems strong.
  • It’s flexible. They’ve got every kind of accessory imaginable. I only ended up with 2 different accessories – hooks and holders – because that is all I need at this time. I successfully restrained myself from going crazy with the accessories. In fact, I only ended up needing 6 hooks so will return the one I don’t need.
  • The system can be easily reused once the garage does get finished.
  • It was relatively easy to install. It took less than an hour to get it installed and all the tools hung (or is it hanged?)

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Here’s the before.

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Here’s the after.

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Even Tad was impressed how big of a transformation this little project made. We can easily walk around the front of Tad’s car now. You couldn’t do that before. I wished I had a before picture. I don’t know why I didn’t take a before picture. Anyway, we can walk in front of the car now. It’s exciting!

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In fact, it’s so exciting that it has gotten us excited about getting the next corner organized. This one will be a bit more of a challenge…

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Fall maintenance – the bat cave…

Fall maintenance may not sound very interesting – it may even result in a yawn or two.  Now, mention that it is about a bat cave and I’ve got your attention!

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Back to reality – sadly, we don’t really have a bat cave.  We have a garage that a friend nicknamed the bat cave (because access is via an alley and the outdoor lighting is on a motion sensor) – so, it does have a bit of surreal vibe at night.

Does the real bat cave have wood doors?  I am not sure.

Our garage doors are wood – Douglas Fir, specifically.  When we decided to go with wood doors, we were well educated and prepared for the associated maintenance.   We really liked the doors from the beginning – we still really like the doors – we want to keep them looking great for years to come.

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We have 2 large roll up garage doors and 4 regular exterior doors to maintain.  That sounds like a lot but it only takes about 4-5 hours to get it all done.

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I first wipe the doors down with dish soap and water.  Then, I use a damp cloth with clean rinse water to wipe away the extra soapy water.  Next, I do a quick sanding with a fine drywall block/sponge – mostly to remove some of the sap spots that have popped up over the year.  Then, the door gets wiped down with a tack cloth – or just a towel if I don’t have any tack cloths.  Finally, I put on a coat of Superdeck Transparent Stain and Sealer.  The first few years I ended up needing to put on more than one coat because it soaked right into the wood.  This year the doors only needed 1 coat.  It keeps getting easier and quicker each year.  The product information actually says that it can last 3-5 years on vertical surfaces.  I am a little nervous to let it go that long, but I might think about trying to see if I can transition to at least every other year – we will see.  In the meantime, check out that shine.

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We also decided to get the trim cleaned up this fall – it was looking a little beat up.  It was pretty basic – Tad set the nails that had popped out (or maybe were never set correctly to begin with?), filled the divots with some wood filler, sanded lightly, caulked as needed, and painted.

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The bat cave looks as good as new!

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