Hi guys, Brian here

I’m writing this post because we found out yesterday that Emily is allergic to pollen. Like, suuuuper allergic. Like, looking at her you’d think she’d watched “The Notebook” and the opening sequence from “Up” back to back. Her poor little lash-less eyes are so red and watery that she can barely see. Also she’s been so congested at night that she can’t sleep. So last night she took something to knock herself out, and she’s still out as I write this, which is 7:39 am on Friday. That’s crazy for Emily, she’s usually up at 5:30 writing posts for the blog. So now I’m up early writing for the blog. I’ll keep you posted on when she wakes up… Hopefully, she goes for a while, she needs it.

Let’s start with a video so you can get the full scale and get Emily right before the pollen fully attacked (just wait for the ad to play).

OK. I’m back. The garage. This has a special significance for me because there’s something innate in men to have a squared away garage. I think it’s because the garage is the one room in the house (or out of the house I guess) where function matters more than form. It’s kind of the only place where I can win some design battles. In a garage, you’re not trying to figure out which pouf would offset the muted tones of a chaise lounge, you’re trying to figure out how many rakes can we fit on that wall. And that’s my kind of design.

The problem is, I’m lacking motivation to do things right now, which I think is a symptom of the whole quarantine thing. After home-schooling the kids in the morning, I find myself acting like an old British man, mumbling incoherently and stumbling around the house in a daze until cocktail hour.

But Emily, pre-allergies, is ever-motivated and kept threatened to do the garage herself until I acquiesced. So off to the garage we went!

Our garage here at the Mountain House is pretty small and has not been organized in about a year. Plus it was the storage site for the reader event we threw and photoshoots we did last year, so there’s a lot that needs to be sorted and donated or driven back to LA.

Here’s Emily showing off the space before her face got attacked by pollen.

As you can see, we never spent a lot of time thinking about the organization of this space. Emily and I are both kind of “I’ll just put this here and deal with it later” people, which isn’t a good combination when it comes to garages. We’ve got a shelving unit up, but it’s not being used very well. And we’ve got lots of random stuff near the shelves, but we just didn’t make it to the final step of putting them on the shelves, which is hilarious. Plus we have a bunch of stuff we need to find new homes for (not in our home) like the rugs, and some chairs, and some lampshades. We have a LOT of random lampshades. Anyone else have that problem?

BTW, it’s 8:01 am, and still no Emily. It’s getting to that point where I might go check to see if she’s still breathing.

So after Emily got the old British drunk to focus on the garage, we figured out some specific things that we needed: storage for our tools and yard stuff, space for our bikes, an area that we can rotate for seasonal things like beach stuff in summer and sled stuff in winter, a redesign of the shelving, and of course space enough to park my 6 seat “Ferrari” golf cart, which I will still defend as one of the best craigslist finds any human has ever made.

I mean the best, right?? Ok moving along…

It should be noted that there originally wasn’t access to the garage from inside the house so we put in that little stairway (it has to be that big for code, but we could certainly reduce its footprint). We love the access and we use it all the time but it does mean that we will never be able to put an actual car in here. But honestly, it’s so small that we don’t know if we would have been able to fit our big cars anyway. So yes, we need to be able to put the Ferrari in there, but that’s about it.

Here are more pics of the whole original mess:

We have a lot of Christmas stuff in those bins, which takes up a lot of space. We need to find a new spot for it though because it’s silly that something we only use for two months is dictating so much space for the whole year.
First Round of Organization
After everything was removed and cleaned it was much easier to see what might be possible in there. We gave some stuff to some neighbors up here, we drove some stuff back to LA, we relocated some stuff, and we learned that we had a lot of broken things that had to go in the trash.

Emily just came out of the bedroom, it’s 8:11 am. I don’t think she’s slept in that late since college. She says she’s feeling better today.

So here are some decisions we still need to make:

We need shelving, but could certainly make it nicer than that. And while we love that staircase do we want to make it nicer than that? Paint the janky railing? Like I said, we could have made it just three steps down without the railing but not legally, so we put in this big guy. We aren’t terribly motivated to demo it out and likely will just work with it for now.

The big black fridge came out of the kitchen during the remodel, and we were using it for secondary food storage, until someone accidentally unplugged it before we left for a few months. When we came back and made the mistake of cracking the door open, we were slapped with the most gag-inducing putrid smell and discovered a moldy sludge that had covered all the surfaces. We closed it back up and there it sits like the arc of the covenant, waiting to melt someone else’s face off. We tried disinfecting it, but it may be a lost cause. We need to make a call on this one. Like how much do we REALLY need a garage fridge??

Emily doesn’t think we need a garage fridge, because apparently she’s ok with pulling out 12 pounds of food to access the thing she wants in the back of our kitchen fridge. She says we’re doing fine without it now, but I’m less optimistic. Maybe things will change in a bit, but right now we are doing huge grocery shops to lessen the frequency of shopping, which means that every time we open the fridge it’s like that cliché scene in every comedy movie where the guy opens the closet full of stuff and everything falls on top of him, capped by a late bowling ball to the head. That’s our fridge, but it’s a jar of bread and butter pickles that rolls out last.

I also think a garage fridge is a perfect pace for beverages, which take up a bunch of room. And our kids aren’t old enough yet to try to steal adult beverages out of the garage fridge, so we’re good right? I mean, once they turn 13, I’ll put a lock on it, like my friend Alan’s dad should have. But for now, we’re good. What do you guys think? Fridge or no fridge?

I got a big-brimmed hat at the hardware store and I’m now super into yard work. I bagged 17 contractor bags of oak leaves last week and still have more to do, so I obviously need some space for my tools.

We have this little nook that is a covered space for storage if need be (and another entrance into the garage), we may put the bikes in here if we can figure out how to get them in there and still have space to get into the garage from the side yard. It took hours for us to clean and it wasn’t pretty. It was full of so much extra tile, leaves, random paint cans, our friend’s kayaks we just inherited, and empty gross Pepsi bottles left over from the construction crew (from two years ago). We feel very accomplished that it looks like this now:

We actually found some unused space up in the attic that we stuffed all the Christmas and winter stuff in, which was super helpful. The attic entrance is across from the kids’ play area, and the other storage space we have is behind a hidden door that goes to the guts of the house.
What’s Now?
We still have to figure out things like the shelving and the fridge. We also are going to find a way to hang the bikes because they take up an abnormal amount of space. Also, the ceilings are nice and high, so we’re trying to figure out if there’s a way to hang some stuff up there for storage.
The Solutions
We need some tool storage but I don’t know if we really need anything fancy. It seems like at least considering something like this (below) would be nice and may make me feel more manly. Like whenever I have to replace a battery in a kid’s toy I can make a big deal out of folding out my workbench and feel like a handy guy.
image source
I’m also worried that I would leave all my tools on the table instead of hanging them up in their right place. I think I may need a big box to throw them in. I know, I’m lazy, but it’s folly to think that I’m going to change.

This person’s garage is dreamy.
design and photo by simply organized
I feel like this is good inspo for storage. The only problem for us is that the space between the wall and that big staircase is pretty narrow so I don’t think we could hang bikes and pull the golf cart in…. a sentence I never imagined that I would ever write. Sorry, I know these are all champagne “problems” but hey, we’re writing what we’re actually going through up here.

But I really like how there’s two rows of storage happening, the shelf for bins and underneath for hanging things that get used often. These are some good broom and rake storage options that could work:

1. LETMY Broom Holder Wall Mounted | 2. Corner Double Tool Rack | 3. Koova Wall Mount Garden and Garage Tool Organizer | 4. Deluxe Tool Tower | 5. Goowin Broom Holder | 6. Stalwart Rolling Garden

We thought about getting a small outdoor shed to house things like rakes and such, but I think it makes more sense to keep everything contained to the garage. Plus it’s been impossible to find a shed that has gotten Emily’s approval.
image source
We got into mountain biking up here, and Charlie is finally up and running on a peddle bike, so we definitely will be using them a lot. Right now, I think mine is laying in a pile of leaves on one side of the house while Emily’s and Charlie’s are sprawled out around a tree on the other side. That can’t keep happening, our neighbors must think that we’ve been raptured mid-bike-ride. So we will try one of these. Have you guys used any that you recommend?

1. TORACK Bike Rack Garage | 2. 6-Bike Storage Rack 2.0 | 3. Elfa Utility Vertical Bike Hook | 4. Copenhagen Wall Mount Bike Rack | 5. Delta Cycle Leonardo Da Vinci Single Bike Storage| 6. Bike Wall Mount

And while we’ve found a way to clear out most of our bins, I’m sure we’ll accumulate more, so we’ll need a good vertical storage system. I’d love to say I could build one, but I’d also love to say that I can do a standing jump over a car or that I can run faster than a gazelle. I’m just not that handy y’all.
design and photo by simply organized | design and photo by modern builds
Here are some solutions we are considering…

1. Platinum Elfa Utility Basement Storage | 2. Bror | 3. Matias the Heavy Duty Storage System Ceiling Mounted Rack | 4. Shelf Steel Freestanding Storage Cabinet | 5. Chrome-Finished Tower Shelving | 6. LEXIMOUNTS WR24B Storage Rack

Lord knows we go through a lot of storage here in Emily Hendersonland, and we’ve used lots of types of bins. Here are my tips – they can’t be hard plastic because they break, they have to have a good seal, preferably not the clip handle because those break, they should have good grips for when you move them a hundred times, and they should be stackable.

1. Tough Storage Bin | 2. Brute Tote Storage Container | 3. Heavy Duty 54 Gal. Storage Bin

So that’s where we are with the garage so far. We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s looking much better in there, plus we’ve kept it pretty clean since the organizing day. We’ll see how long that lasts. But at least for now, the garage is no longer a place to just dump stuff and go, it’s clean and organized and we can see the potential. Or at least I can see the potential, Emily may not be able to see much until spring is over. Stupid pollen.

The post We Tackled Our Non-Functional Garage and These Are Our Ideas To Maximize It appeared first on Emily Henderson.
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