Our DIY “Shed” Solution
Have you ever looked in your garage and wanted to cry? Or maybe just throw away all your possessions? Our summertime garage featured 1 car, 7 bikes, a bike trailer, a wagon, a stroller, a cozy coup, a giant snowblower, multiple air compressors, a shop vac, a lawn mower, and tons of tools for working in the yard and on cars, the house, and said bikes. It was a clown car of a garage, and very hard to get to what you needed without risking injury.
We sold, gave away, or trashed a few things we didn’t need anymore. But that still left way too much stuff.
“Maybe we need a shed,” Neil said.
I was unable to restrain myself from pointing out that I made this exact statement last fall, to no avail.
Naturally, we didn’t rush out to Lowe’s and buy one that weekend. Neil searched Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace for used ones, and also priced out different retail options. He found a great deal on one at the local Amazon-returns auction web site, but after picking it up, realized it was missing the door. (Usually that type of thing is listed in the description. Luckily he was able to return it.)
In PTBP fashion, we brainstormed alternatives. I suggested a lean-to. Lean-to? What the heck?! We live in the suburbs, not Little House in the Prairie! But then Neil had a serious brain wave and came up with the perfect solution: creating a storage space in the area under our sun room/deck, which sits off the upper level of the house.
He was already storing things like tomato cages and the chicken tractor under there. So he cleared out anything that was trash. Next he created a door by cutting into the lattice that enclosed it, and reinforcing it with some 2x4s. Then he moved things like the lawnmower and spare wood out there. Soon much more will migrate there so we can park both cars in the garage for winter.
The breathing room in the garage is incredible. It still boasts a lot of bikes, tools, and toys, but now there’s space to access the stuff we need without it getting caught on bike spokes and air compressor cords. While we were at it, we organized the toys and sports equipment into containers on their shelf. Now when I look in the garage, I actually want to use its contents rather than throw them away, or just cry! It’s also so much easier for the kids to get to the stuff they want.
The “shed” isn’t waterproof, which works fine for the things we’re storing in it. And you have to duck a little, but if we keep things organized properly that shouldn’t be an issue either. It isn’t the fanciest or most suburban solution but it’s a lot better than a “lean-to” lol!
We saved a minimum of $1500 compared with buying a shed, and it was a lot easier than installing one. And it’s right next to the garage which will be good for the spring months when the back of the yard (where people tend to put sheds) is super wet.
Maybe you don’t have a clown car garage. Good for you. But I bet you have something you’re thinking about spending money on around the house. Be patient, shop around, and brainstorm. If you decide it’s worth paying full price, you’ll know you came to the choice thoughtfully. If not, you might save yourself some money and even some effort.
Have you ever brainstormed a thrifty solution to a problem? Do tell!
I am so glad you wrote this! I always love hearing how people go through different parts of the home ownership process! Looking at what we have/want/need is so important.
It definitely requires some creativity at times!
We did something similar to protect and hide our garbage can area. Squirrels, raccoons, and opossums used to get in, so we built it off the side of the house and included a roof. It’s big enough to house the old electronics and other things we’re waiting to bring to the special recycling events, along with the regular garbage cans.
That’s great you could do that without taking up garage space. And that you have the added bonus of storing things you won’t be able to dispose of for a while.
Great idea, sometimes a really small upgrade can make a huge difference.