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First of all: I know that “let’s do this” is the slogan for big Orange (and therefore frequently seen across DIY blogland), but I often find myself wanting to just say it about a project I’m really excited about, even when it’s not the least bit sponsored. And the fact that I both majored in marketing and tend to hold a white-knuckle grip onto my favorite phrases kind of makes me chuckle every time I think about how HD has cleverly appropriated it for themselves. But it’s nothing that a taxidermied goat and colorful language can’t cure, right?

lets do this shit

Now that I’ve filled my rambling rant quota for the day, let’s do this move onto the whole point of this post: for this FIRST TIME in the history of working on this house, my one-car garage is now a much more organized space and on its way to becoming a bona fide workspace for all of my DIY projects.

Before I show you this genuinely horrifying “before” pic, let me warn you: I have a one-car garage. A 9-feet-11-inches-wide garage. And I’ve been DIYing home reno projects for over 5 years. I’m sure that’s the setup to some kind of algebraic word problem, but basically, it adds up to lots and lots of shit piling up in a very small space. Oh, and the train is leaving my house at 50 miles per hour.

I wish I’d started turning this space into a workshop a long time ago, but I just never seemed to find the motivation. But after working on my laundry room shelves and back yard garden beds, I kept getting frustrated that I didn’t have a flat, organized space for doing all of my cutting and assembly without bumping into a pile of lumber (or a box of crap, or a paint can, etc.).

I’d finally had enough, and in a desperate text to my mom, asked for her help. As a  quality control expert, she really knows how to organize a work space — of which I was immediately reminded by her response:


Anyway, Mom surprisingly agreed to help (I mean, if you knew this was waiting for you, would you?) and even brought donuts (my mom is better than your mom). After running through a pot of coffee and talking up a game plan, we started making piles:

  • Goodwill for household items I don’t want anymore (which we loaded directly into Mom’s car)
  • Habitat Restore for used building materials I don’t need anymore (which we loaded directly into my car)
  • A separate pile for intact/still packaged building materials that I no longer need but can return to the home improvement store (for spending on things I really do need)
  • Trash

I also distributed other items back into the house where they belonged, hung up lots of previously missing tools, moved lumber into more organized groupings, and organized several new things I haven’t yet shared. By about 2pm, Mom was on her way home and I had the beginnings of a functional workshop — and more importantly, a plan of what needed to go where:

Hello, garage floor! Haven’t seen you in a long, long time!

At first, my intention was to stop here (I was exhausted, of course) and continue organizing another day. Some things, like the primary bath’s vanity and toilet, couldn’t really be dealt with just yet, so I can’t really call this space done by any means. But once I rested for a bit, I kept wanting to get back in the garage and tackle a little more. I set my sights on the back corner near the hot water heater:

One hour (and a busted toe) later, I had shelves I could reach, a space for storing my bike, and lots of old paint to get rid of.

garage organization

Speaking of old paint: you can throw away latex paints once they’re completely dry (unlike oil paints, they aren’t considered hazardous waste). Since most of the cans I wanted to get rid of had just a little bit left in each can, the easiest way was to simply take the lids off for a couple of days. You can buy paint hardener as well, which will solidify a gallon of paint in just a couple of hours, but I’m perfectly happy to use the free version (just waiting it out). There are a few other options, so I’ll include those in a different post at some point.

There is still a little more that I’ll need to work on before everything is really finished, including five new workshop projects that I’m going to share soon!

  • a pegboard wall (done!)
  • lumber rack (done!)
  • gardening tool organization
  • lumber cart
  • drill charging station

But all in all, a huge amount was accomplished in a very short period of time. I’ve already sketched out the makings of my lumber cart as well, so this space should be changing quite a bit this summer. But how about you? Did you get anything organized over the weekend?

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  1. I love this post and I feel your pain! We are adding a bathroom and laundry room to our basement (where we also have a 1 car garage), so this is what our garage also has looked like for the past several months. Even though we did the 5S before we started the reno and donated or threw away a ton of stuff, we still seem to have a ton especially with the vanity, toilet, new doors and windows, building materials laying around. I am pinning this for inspiration for the day our reno is done and we can organize our garage again :-)

  2. Sarah, a literal standing ovation for this! I am SO impressed! You and your mom really kicked it. :) Now I see those dried out paint cans as organization containers. :) So sorry about your toe.

  3. That is SO impressive! And your mom’s text cracked me up. Now THAT is an organized lady! Love the new lumber shelves you installed!