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Thread: Garage organization madness

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    Jon
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    Garage organization madness

    Like many of us, I've fallen down the internet rabbit hole of garage organization ideas. So many of these ideas seem brilliant when you see them on the internet, but are so incredibly impractical in the real world.

    This is a theme of the internet today: something looks clever and Pinterest-y, but has problems with real-world application. An organizing trick that isn't practical, a beautiful but uncomfortable piece of furniture, or a delicious-looking recipe that just tastes bad. These ideas are a mix of earnest but misplaced ingenuity, and writers desperate for more "tips and tricks".

    To be fair: some of these organization ideas are clever and applicable in some situations. But they congregate around the same familiar cast of characters:


    The Muffin Man
    The Muffin Man is your classic wacky garage storage idea guy.

    Mmmmmmm! Fresh fasteners, hot out of the oven. Bon appetit!

    Don't worry, he only uses "heavy gauge" muffin tins.


    The Muffin Man uses this custom tote for transporting muffin tin fastener containers. Is that a half-eaten muffin on the table? Plus another muffin mixed in with the fasteners, for later? If you ever see this in real life, run.



    Here's The Muffin Man's cousin, The Bag Boy. Fun fact: this is how they store fasteners on the space shuttle. I read it on the internet, so it must be true.




    The Thorough Labeler
    What is this crazy unidentified tool? Oh wait, just look at the label - it's called a "shovel". Thank you, Thorough Labeler.




    The Overhead Storage Genius
    I guess this is clever. Lattice is just thin strips of wood stapled together, maybe it would break, I don't know. But the red flag here is that this guy is bearing the smug look of the Overhead Storage Genius.



    Can you get down the one labeled "bricks" please?



    For easy retrieval, just switch these around in summer and winter.



    Per the diagram, don't ever bump this more than 2 inches.




    The Closet Cross-Storer
    The Closet Cross-Storer knows that garages are just giant closets for men. This shoe organizer should work perfectly. I'd like some black spray enamel, please. Just remove every single black paint can so I can read the labels.





    The Ultimate Workbench Dude
    Nice workbench buddy, but I bet it's not The Ultimate Workbench!!! I think this one even stores muffins. Just don't hit it too hard.





    The Spinster
    Round and round it goes. Where it stops, nobody knows. In all fairness, these sorts of things can be useful. But The Spinster doesn't realize that just because something can spin, doesn't mean it should.


    This reminds me of the classic "I want the knife" scene with Eddie Murphy in The Golden Child.






    Pegboard McGyver
    I like pegboard. I think you're supposed to just mount it on a wall.

    This has all the marks of a Peggy McGyver build. That's a slow, careful roll. Why does stuff like this always prominently feature genuine Ryobi brand tools?



    I guess this could maybe be useful, but it looks like someone was really reaching deep for garage organization ideas. Gosh, what a dandy fellow - he trimmed it out and everything. And he slightly rolled up his shirt sleeve before deploying a tool from the starboard pegboard array.




    This one reminds me of the classic '80s movie scene with the guy on the street selling counterfeit watches out of his trench coat. But instead of hanging out in the gritty downtown area of a city, this shady character lurks in the alley behind Home Depot. Hey kid, wanna buy a saw?




    The Hangman
    I'd like the paintbrush in the middle, please. Don't worry, I'll be sure to wash it when I'm done. Then I'll remove half of the brushes, and place this wet brush in the middle, put back half the brushes, and then hang it over my head to drip dry. That's how the pros do it!



    The Hangman can also be a Closet Cross-Storer. Let's see, we've got packaging tape, masking tape, and of course, macaroni and cheese tape. Quick question: Do you know The Muffin Man?



    Previously: Vintage fuel nozzles as design elements

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  3. #2
    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    All these garage organization ideas presuppose that you already have all the items you wish to organize and will never add to or subtract from the collection.

    Garage organization is, and must be, evolutionary, adjusting dynamically to the changing interests of the owner and the tools he needs to support his latest infatuation.

    Muffin pans are for making muffins and pegboard was invented by the devil to torment us. Baby food jars, once the contents have been emptied into the brat, make excellent targets. Fill them with flour for a nice visual indication of a hit.
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    Marv, I love these examples...I too am addicted with collecting tool org tips and hints, but partly because so many give me a good chuckle at their impracticality. I'm afraid you missed one of the best ones though: the tennis racket mounted under the workbench edge to use as a handy holder for screwdrivers and similar items. Imagine sending those flying across the shop on a daily basis. I think we need a thread just for clunky suggestions....

    I have noticed that one common feature of all the suggestions is that there is always one tool in the shop that that is left "unorganized" because it's too long, too heavy, doesn't have the right size hanging hole, or in some other way is disqualified from fitting neatly into the suggested organization scheme. Personally, I think I'm going to work towards a workshop outfitted completely with Craftsman-type rolling tool cabinets with all drawers. The bench and walls will be paved with magnets and Velcro and all tools will have RFID built in. Thanks again for bringing this up! ;-)

  5. #4

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    Workshop layout and storage areas is like politics. Everyone has different ideas, which in most cases are based on their own situation. If space is limited any piece of unoccupied air volume is a sign of ineffiiciency. Your ability to remember what is where is a function of your age and the "busies" in your life which cloud your thinking.
    If you have room for pictures and posters you don't have enough tools.
    Living 20 miles from the nearest hardware store requires a special approach to life....... what do you keep in stock to avoid wrecking a saturday to travel to the store to buy the only size screw or nail that will work.
    If your kids end up taller than you expect them to complain about hitting their heads on hanging stuff any time they visit the shop.
    The old kitchen cabinets are lousy shop storage places. Nothing fits in them worth a damn. You can mount small cabinets on the outsides of the cabinet doors; an act of real desparation.
    Modern consumer product packaging offers numerous solutions for storage of shop hardware and supplies. If you live in earthquake country or are getting on in years and your body is a little unsteady don't use glass storage jars. Left over paint is great for hiding the advertizing on containers, both plastic and cardboard.
    If you are past midlife start marking contents on every storage container. I (age 78 and retired) carry a sharpie pen in my pocket all the time. It goes on my nightstand every night and it's the first thing into my pocket in the morning.
    I've learned over the years to not combine storage spaces and work benches (often along shop walls). The workbenches accumulate with stuff that inevitably chases the first available flat space and storage tends to get blocked and hard to get into. If you must have a protruding shelf along a wall that is a natural storage area keep it narrower than 24 inches. Make an empty table or two your primary workspaces away from the walls and if you must use them for tool storage keep it below the working top of the bench. In a tight shop a sheet of plywood on top of a table saw makes a fair work area and will eventually convince you that the big table saw that sits there unused is a candidate for disposal.
    A roll around work table with locking casters may be a good choice for a shop with large machine tools or automotive work. Mount a small vise on it that is removable. A heavy shop vise needs a substantial anchored mounting point. This can be a challenge in a small shop.
    I like the idea of putting all threaded fasteners of the same nominal size or each type of specialized hardware in its own large plastic divider box and store them on individual shelves where they can be easily removed. These boxes are usually 10-12 inches by 13-16 and a whole bunch of shelves can fill a suprisingly small amount of wall space. Just remember that 20-30 of these boxes full of metal stacked 2-3 feet high will be pretty heavy. This is storage about as effiicient as you can get. (hit the sales at Harbor Freight) Shelves about 12" deep (let the box stick out a bit, easier to grab) with a 8-10" shelf in front to put the box down on and a 20"-24" deep cabinet underneath for long items storage.
    Stock up to 24" long or long storage boxes can sit at the lower levels. A suitable 24" box with a stack of horizontal 24" long PVC pipes will store a large variety of stock.
    For this area a little time spent building 24" long storage boxes either out of wood or multiple layers of corrugated cardboard glued together (my preference) with added shelves for shallower boxes will give a lot of flexibility. Don't make them too big it they will be hard to move if filled.
    For stock longer than 24 inches you either do vertical storage, a stock rack along a wall or a stock rack hanging from a the ceiling. Remember that vertical storage needs lots of above clearance. You might take a 5 gallon paint can and fill it with 18" sections of plastic pipe for various stock lengths like from 18" to 5-6 feet long so figure 90 inches minimum "ceiling" above or a bit less as long as you don't pack it too tight. The downside of this setup is that short lengths will disappear in the tubes. That's why a nearby 24" horizontal rack is a good idea as well as a drawer for shorts.
    Plastic tubs on shelves are easy; but the draft angles, rounded corners and stiffening flanges at the tops waste a lot of space. Besides most of them come in ugly colors and after a few years tend to become brittle. The up side is the lids keep critters out. Personally I prefer custom built boxes. Even the painted cardboard ones I build last longer in my dry climate than the cheap Chinese plastic moldings full of regrinds you buy at Big Box Inc.
    Ed Weldon Los Gatos, CA
    Last edited by Ed Weldon; 08-07-2017 at 12:12 AM.

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    Some more ideas from my little workshop (3 x 2 meters).
    Picture of 21 drawer cabinet was taken just before I left home to join the vessel.
    Sensitive stuff is locked, as I am not the only one who use this workshop.
    Cheers
    LMMasterMariner
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Garage organization madness-20151110_000949.jpg   Garage organization madness-20151113_154001.jpg   Garage organization madness-20160624_212046.jpg   Garage organization madness-20170504_113725.jpg   Garage organization madness-20170504_113711.jpg  

    Garage organization madness-20170504_162155.jpg   Garage organization madness-20170720_114927.jpg  
    Last edited by LMMasterMariner; 08-07-2017 at 11:44 PM.

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    Jon
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    Quote Originally Posted by mklotz View Post
    All these garage organization ideas presuppose that you already have all the items you wish to organize and will never add to or subtract from the collection.
    Interesting. I rather thoroughly analyzed the above organization ideas, but completely missed this. You're right; the fully-filled storage/organization idea is the darling of the internet, but is ultimately very stifling to future development. This ties in with over-obsessive knolling, and another psychologically unhealthy organizational behavior called punding.

    4x8 sheet storage is another Pinterest disaster, filled with enormous whirling dervish monstrosities. The best solution I've found so far is to make a very basic built-in corner cubby. Two existing sides of a garage corner act as a short and long side of the cubby. Simple cheap 2x4 framing, and possibly a 4x8 sheet (doesn't need to be 8' tall) is used for the third side, and the fourth side is left open for access.

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    Another oft-overlooked feature is accessibility. Keeping bolts in little, carefully labeled but opaque pill boxes that must be inspected at length to find the type needed is acceptable if one only needs bolts infrequently. OTOH, keeping screwdrivers in neat little fur-lined cutouts in an ankle-height drawer smacks of insanity.

    Protection is another concern. Machinists don't hang their micrometers on pegboard hooks over the workbench for very good reasons. Rust, even in the semi-desert Los Angeles area, is a constant threat as is air one can taste. Earthquakes here and floods in places where hurricanes lurk are other elements one must plan for with larger tools.

    I've long contended that a soupįon of OCD is essential to safe and productive work in a home shop. Shops with tiny paths through acres of clutter to reach workbenches piled high with tools and parts from the last half dozen jobs are completely unacceptable for me. The amount of time lost in such an environment, not to mention the risk of injury, is just too high.

    No you don't have to be a Mr. Monk and arrange your screwdrivers by size with equal sizes arranged alphabetically by handle color but leaving them on the table or floor next to whatever they last touched isn't acceptable either.
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    Marv - Not for screwdrivers but color coding for hex wrenches sure beats having to grab a caliper to find the right size.
    I made a little project of figuring out the right size shrink tubing for a minimum number of hex size ranges. It has to fit cold and shrink tight hot. Then determine the number of basic set types (Metric or US, plain hex, ball end, spline drive (rare), good material vs cheap import, and whatever other distinctions are important.
    The idea is that you put little pieces on the wrench up by the turn in a sequence like the color coding of resistors. I used a top band of red only for the metric ones. Red is the color code for anything metric in my shop.
    Then I went on eBay and after a couple of false starts, that left me with a lifetime supply of shrink tube, hunted down the exact sizes and colors of shrink tubing for my system. Chinese sources are cheap and ship relatively fast.
    By the way, this approach can be also used on other tools with small diameter features. Like color code dark blue for the simple tools which must always live in the kitchen where my wife knows to look. BTW, buy her the best quality tools you can afford. Same as when your kids are old enough to take care of their own tools. Ed Weldon

    "equal sizes arranged alphabetically by handle color"

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    mklotz mklotz's Avatar
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    While I have used the resistor color code trick with some rifling files I have, I have far too many Allen wrenches to consider doing what you suggest. Why heat-shrink? Go to the local model supply shop and get those tiny bottles of paint in resistor colors, ten disposable brushes, sit down with a mountain of Allen wrenches and stripe away.

    I have the wrenches arrayed by size in a block of wood. The Mark I eyeball will usually get me within a wrench or two of the correct size.

    You may find it useful to make a copy of my chart...

    Hex wrench size chart

    for your shop.
    ---
    Regards, Marv


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    Jon
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    I'm still watching to see if a DIY version of tip-out bins will appear on the net; they're too pricey for me, especially with the amount I'd like. There is still a challenge to be overcome with 3D printing clear plastic. I mean these guys:





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