New Garage

I spent a good two years designing and building my house.  The only thing I thought of but couldn’t manage to put in was a secret passage.  I wanted kitchen cabinetry that goes all the way to the ceiling so I didn’t have to deal with dusting those few inches everyone seems to have.  I wanted hard flooring on the main level so I didn’t have to deal with mud on the carpet.  I wanted overhead lights in the living room so I don’t have to fumble around looking for a lamp.  I wanted ceiling fans in every room.  I wanted an entryway so I didn’t have to walk directly into the living room when I come home from work.  I wanted different climate-control zones so I’m not paying for heat in an empty room.  I even thought of stupid things like a tiny sink in the downstairs bathroom (it will only be used for post-pooping hand-washing), a light-up doorbell button, and sound-deadening channels between the upstairs and main floor.  If you point at any item in the house – any wall, handle, appliance, light, window, floor, or fixture – I have a story about the design.

I did not, however, have anything to say about the garage.  I never thought about it.  It was a car-hole.

IMG_1695

I added insulation because the kids’ bedrooms are above. It also helps to muffle the sobs.

Much like cable (or a one-night stand or an opinion on merkins), I’ve never had a garage in my adult life.  So once we were moved in for a while, and once I started to go into the garage for various tasks (finishing closets, hiding things from The Wife, etc.), I started to get ideas about what should go where.

Here it is now:

I covered the walls in something as cheap as drywall without the hassle of mudding, nail pops, and hernias: plywood.  I wanted to be able to hang anything anywhere, but I didn’t want 4’x8′ sheets of wood all over the place.  So I spent a few hours cutting the sheets into five-inch-ish chunks and staining them with random colors.  Once that was done, I could put everything exactly where it should go.

I also had a few ideas about how to save space:

IMG_1824I hung the the recycling bins on the wall with a variation of a wood cleat.

They used to sit on top of the trash can, which means we had to move the bins every time we wanted to throw something away.  Having two kids- Lemon and The Professor – with a My Little Pony addiction and an enabling wife means that we throw away a LOT of packaging.  I felt guilty about using up that much plastic (you know, with the human population probably dying from it), so I bought another bin, which meant that after the first one was full, I had to sit that one beside the trash can and put the empty one on top of the trash can and then when that one got full… So I stacked them on the wall.

IMG_1823Right beside the entry door, I added a bunch of coat hooks and baskets for gloves and hats and such.  I forgot how much snow gets caked into coats and snowpants (and hair and underwear and ear canals) when kids are sledding.  This means that when they hang up everything in the entryway, water gets everywhere.

Also, did you know that little girls have at least five choices for every item of clothing?  This will save a little bit of space in the area where everyone hangs up their coats.

Also notice the cantilever down at the bottom.  It’s a good place to store hoses and sidewalk salt.

IMG_1819Bikes take up a LOT of room.  Since I live in a place now where the roads are paved, The Wife and I will often go for bike rides and leave the kids to knife-fight for our love.  But where do you keep something three-foot tall, five-foot wide and frequently used (there’s a joke somewhere in  here about a short, fat prostitute)?  Answer: in the sky.

I don’t have rafters in my garage, since there is house up there, and the ceiling is almost ten feet up, so just hanging the bikes by a hook isn’t the best option.  Instead, I have a pulley system.

IMG_1820Right below those pulleys, you might notice matching yard equipment.  I have a chainsaw, leaf blower, weed whacker, and lawn mower – all battery-powered, all with the same battery.  I’ve said a million times that we’re living in this weird in-between era where technology is magical but nothing is perfected.  I think we’re finally getting to a point in batteries where it’s worth it.  Each of these things lasts about an hour with continuous use.  If I need it for longer, I can just go and change the battery.  I don’t need separate gas cans for unleaded gas and 40:1 mixture and 50:1 mixture and regular oil and bar oil, extra spark plugs, cleaners, cases, or winterizers.  I put the battery in, push the “on” button and do what I do (now that I say it out loud, I sound like this guy).

IMG_1822I used to have about 35 different containers for various nuts, bolts, screws, nails, anchors, etc. The roofers left a 30 lb box of roofing nails.  The deck guys left a 5 lb box of deck screws.  I had packages from extra screws that came with the garden shed I built with my dad in 2005.  I could keep all these things and keep them in coffee cans and baby formula containers (by the way, why are two of the most abundant things on the planet shipped in indestructible packages while windows are just shrink-wrapped?) or I could get rid of what I won’t use and keep a little of everything.  So I bought this little organizer, filled it with a few nuts, bolts, screws, nails, anchors, etc., and donated the rest to Habitat for Humanity.  Because I’m a humanitarian.  I also have a tiny bluetooth speaker instead of an old radio that everyone seems to put in their garage.

IMG_1821Everyone also seems to put old road signs, license plates, and semi-racist and -sexist decorations in their garage.  In lieu of that (and because that’s how I’ve decorated my house), I’ve decided to take the blueprints for the house, frame them, and hang them in the garage.

Don’t worry, I took the frames from an old X-Files move poster.

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