Getting Real About Our Garage Project Journey

As of today, I haven't shared a home organizing project in two weeks.  TWO WEEKS!  I am pretty sure that is a record for me but I am OK with that.  I was in a bit of a project rut with no interest in doing "filler" posts to drum up projects that we don't need.  So I apologize for my lameness lately, but sometimes I need to take a few steps back in order to move forward.  I love to organize and work on projects as much as the next person, but it is not my intention to force something that doesn't need to be done, or rush something to get a post out, only to regret it later {been there, done that}.

So what have I been doing the last couple of weeks?  Now that spring is in full swing, it is time to take back our garage once and for all!

It is funny how well my husband and I balance out.  He is frugal about home purchases, yet would love to eat out more often.  I am all about eating at home, and splurging on a new light fixture.  He over thinks every last detail of every project we tackle while I say, "let's do this, it will be easy!" and have trouble waiting for paint to dry.  He thinks things through while I am much more impulsive.  He is not the neatest and I should be medicated for my love of clutter-free spaces.  He is outgoing and I am quiet.  But you know what?  It works!  Sure we clash from time to time, but I love that we are constantly challenging one another and that we have found a way to use those opposites to our advantage.

So when he initially told me last year that he wanted to wait on our upcoming kitchen renovation until a lot of our other projects were done, including a huge garage update we had in the wings, I hung my head like a sad puppy.  He wasn't about to embark on a huge {our biggest yet} project with other unfinished business, including the space where a lot of the work was about to happen.  Our garage is right off of the kitchen, and will be where a lot of the magic will take place during the renovation.  Of course, I just want to take a sledge hammer to the wall now, but I have to agree with him that one more mess will only make things worse throughout the process.  Gosh, I hate to admit when he is right!

We started working on the garage at the end of October and into November of last year.  Unfortunately, as we worked, our visions for an ideal garage space changed and evolved as well.  We not only wanted to add a lot of storage to free up the entire floor area, but also wanted to finish the ceilings and walls and update the lighting.  Oh, and paint the doors and replace the entry step and maybe even do something with the floors.

I know it is just a garage, but for us, it is much more than that.  We use the garage to build, to store the kids play things, and even to host parties. With the limited space in our upper level between the living room and kitchen, things get cramped instantly when throwing any type of shindig.  We have been known to set up rows of tables inside the garage to expand on our entertaining area, and I often times dread doing it because the garage is well, a dark and dirty garage!

There were a lot of challenges working on the garage at the end of the year.  Daylight was limited, kids were in sports, the holidays were approaching and weather in Wisconsin is not very outdoor project worthy.  In fact, after a few teeth chattering nights working in the garage in layers of long underwear, we decided that enough was enough until spring.

We did get a few things accomplished, like finishing the upper halves of the walls and ceiling, building massive overhead storage, priming most of the new storage and even installing a few sheets of wall paneling.  But when the projects stopped, so did our desire to maintain the garage at all.  I guess this is why I always put that extra effort to make my storage pretty, because when it is not, excitement for the space goes down the drain.  Our garage was a cluster of unfinished projects, saw dust, seasonal items and building materials.

I don't blog just to share a pretty after photo {although, I know we all love those}.  I blog to share the journey.  In a Pinterest driven blog world where your income depends on page views and page views come from Pinterest, unfortunately focus can be clouded and shift and the real purpose of the blog can quickly become forgotten.  So although I haven't posted a project, I have been busy creating new messes and I am sharing those today instead of a pretty reveal.  Although I share more messes with the masses than I ever thought I would, sometimes those messes are the best part of the puzzle.

If you remember our garage from last year, it looked like this:

Before we started building our storage in the garage, we were really about getting rid of most of the items that did not make sense or need to be there any longer.  We sold furniture on Craigslist and gifted some to my younger brother, we brought things to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, donation center and recycling center.  I don't have a photo of it cleared out, but things were looking MUCH better.  Not perfect, but the excess was gone.

But then we used the garage on and off this winter for quick building projects and the remainder of the supplies for the garage overhaul sat and collected dust.  There were no longer any storage solutions in place for any of the items being stored out there, and any existing organization was being covered by project materials and building supplies.  That meant that our kid's outdoor and sports gear was spreading throughout the entire messy space because they couldn't get around the garage to put things back.  Gardening and yard tools were lining the walls and we had half of our tools stored in our storage room in the lower level and the other half on the unused workbench in the garage. 

So for the last two weeks, every spare second of my time was out in that garage sorting.  And that sorting gave me five new organizing projects.  FIVE!  Do you know how gosh darn excited I am about that?  So here they are.

The Garage

This is our garage completely cleaned out.  Haha, I know, I am quite the comedian.  But it is true!  Still a whopping mess, but so much better than a week ago if you can believe it.  Here you can snag a sneak peek at the upper storage we built as well as everything ripped out from the walls so they can be finished.  This space totally gives me hives, but one day very soon it will be magical!

Outdoor Toys

We are cooped up for months during the long and harsh winters, so when the sun starts shining brighter and the trees start greening up, you can bet we spending as much time outdoors as possible.  With the garage currently acting as a workshop, I decided that it was no longer safe for the boys to be running in and out of there with their buddies, grabbing all of their play equipment.  So for now, I have sorted it all down and placed it on the front porch.  Yep that is how it looks today.  Pretty welcoming right?  This is extremely temporary until the garage is done, but I still need to find a way to clean up the visual first impression of our home while also keeping it functional for the boys until the garage is ready to store it again.

Our Garden Shed

I completely forgot we had a shed because it sits tucked back on the side of our home and I haven't been in it in years.  It was previously storing some old paint cans that were drying out, as well as items from our lower level remodel and some old yard tools.  The only time it was used was to mow the lawn, but because it is away from the house and concealed, it is typically just an afterthought. 

After cleaning it out last week during my big garage cleanup, only yard maintenance items and gardening supplies remain.  Nothing is at all organized {yet}, but I am excited to hang some cabinets from our garage and install some wall storage to really make this a functioning garden shed that is no longer forgettable.

Our Main Bathroom/Hallway

A few weeks ago, our main bathroom vanity took a turn for the worst.  Drawers may have been pulled out to be used as a stool and may have busted beyond repair.  Given the fact that the vanity has seen better days in its twelve years of life and many chipped coats of paint, we pulled it out.  While cleaning out the garage, we spotted the toilet we purchased for this bathroom back when we purchased one for our guest room remodel last year.  We also realized that we had enough flooring leftover from both the lower level and the other bathroom update, that we could update the flooring in our main bathroom as well {score}!  Although I would love to gut the entire thing and tile it beautifully, that will have to wait until after the kitchen.  So we purchased a new vanity which is one I could see ourselves reusing should we ever completely redo the bathroom down the road, but we still have the entire bathroom contents and project supplies hanging out in our hallway. Sigh.

Storage Room Continued

We never truly finished our storage room last year, the final item that needed to be addressed was the tools which were also lost in the garage.  So now they all sit in our family room downstairs and Bryan has been sorting them in his spare seconds.  It will be great to finally have a tool station organized and and ready to go.  We spend so much time searching for tools and hardware, it is ridiculous.  This is one of those projects we should have done when we started diving into DIY years ago.

Although all of these messes may make me a little frazzled, they also excite me because I am weird like that.  So although it feels like I just ran around the Internet in my undies {a.k.a. totally embarrassed myself}, that is where we are in our garage and home journey.  We have started, we have sorted and now we get to organize.  And finish walls... and install new lights... and paint doors.

I may not post something new everyday, but that is because I never want to tire of doing what I love. 

Happy weekend everyone and....

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