Organizing a Work Bench

September 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog, How To Organize

Peg Board can be a big help in Organizing a Work bench

Dave built his own work bench for his Man Cave in the basement. He wanted to make sure he got just what he wanted.  It is sturdy and he wanted a peg board so he could hang his tools.

Man cave work benchOf course you can’t see it in this picture but he put a shelf below for storage and there is a small shelf that you can see right over the light.

But don’t you just love peg board?  I have it on the work bench we have in the garage. That was my work bench when Dave and I first got married. It was very organized at my other house…. but there was no man there at the time. So I could have all my tools right where I wanted them.

Dave has a system…even in the garage… but Kids happen – and tools go missing.

The good thing about his “man cave work bench” is that the kids are not allowed in this area at all.  Dave has reloading equipment, the guns lockers are there and he has tools. So it is a “No kid zone” and the kids know it.  So he doesn’t have the problem with his tools missing from this area…which he really likes.

But finding a place for each of your tools can be essential for being able to get  a job completed on time.

Isn’t this important for other areas of your life as well?

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The Man Cave

September 7, 2010 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog, Family & Friends

I Think Every Man Should Have “His” own Space

My husband Dave has an area in the basement that we have recently carved out for him.  I can call it his “Man Cave”, but he really considers his “Man Cave” to be his farm which is 45 minutes away.

But here are our house, we don’t have a lot of space. We have a 2,000 sq ft home with 7 people living in it.  We made a bedroom in the basement for one of our teenagers. (That’s another post to do) We also have a tv room with the game stations in the basement for the kids and all our storage.

But Dave wanted to have a reloading bench somewhere (to reload ammunition for shooting).  Ammunition prices have gone through the roof and this is something he has done before and enjoys.  Call it is “craft time”.

So we needed to make a space for him, we also moved his gun lockers from his farm to our home for safe keeping. Yes, we are VERY conscience of the kids and guns. They are locked up at all times and all the kids have taken the hunter safety course, so they do respect the guns and know the rules. Oh yeah…that is another whole post I could do….I was not raised around guns at all and my friends thought it was hysterical to see me handling guns after Dave and I started dating 6 years ago.

Daves man caveNow…this is a mess right now.  Dave had it pretty organized and we were at garage sales yesterday. He spotted the light colored desk (which is in pieces right now, but it is a corner desk) and got it for $20. He thought he could use it for either an office desk downstairs or a work space.  He has moved it down, but hasn’t set it up yet.

There are 3 shelves that you can’t see in this picture to the right that have storage bins full of kids clothes (next sizes /different seasons) that have to be moved.  I went down and offered my suggestions as to where I thought he could move the shelves to. I will also give him my thoughts as to how I could see his desk and workspace work most effectively.  But….. this will be his space… and it will be his project. I will have to grit my teeth and “Just step away from the Man Cave”.

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Playroom Organizing – Part 4

More Storage Solutions

I am going to take you on an Ikea shopping trip with me.  These are all pictures I took when I went the year before last.  I love this store, but I am not getting any kind of affiliate, commission or any other compensation by telling you about them or posting this.  I just love some of the solutions they have for toy storage.

Keep in mind that there are many other alternatives for where to purchase like items. Target has great cubbies, and is where I get mine.  So look around, this is just meant to give you some ideas.

If you read me at all you know I LOVE cubbies.  There are many different styles and inserts you can get for cubbies.  Many stores have them, although not a lot of others have the full wall units like these.
Like OMG isn’t this the cutest?  These are slide out bins.  I do wish the colored ones were clear though.  But I still love it. You can mix and match and make your own set up with this system.

Here is another option with the same kind of units.

To have an art desk or homework desk would be awesome in a playroom. (Keep in mind that doing homework in a playroom is not a real good idea unless your child can really focus).

Here is another desk idea for a playroom. These also would be great in a child’s room if you had space for them.

This is a cubby unit that hangs on the wall. Then you can have storage space underneath it.  You could also use this above a desk or higher on the wall to keep the games away from the little ones.

These hanging net cubbies are cute for those little stuffed animals or trinkets.

Here are some other little cute storage ideas for the walls.  Of course these are fabric and you couldn’t hand anything too heavy in them, but wouldn’t they decorate a wall cute?

Here is something for the little bit older group.  A locker.  They could use it for game storage, DVD or CD storage like pictured. But they could also put books, have fun decorating it inside and out and use all those cool locker gadgets you see at the stores (but a lot of schools don’t allow).

I also saw these cute colorful frames there. They were only $1.99 each. What a cute way to showcase their most special artwork!  It would be another cute way to decorate the walls of the playroom and make them feel really special.

So I took you on my Ikea shopping trip.  It is to give you ideas. If you see something you like…shop around for it. There may be other places you can find it…or try ebay or amazon too.  Or you can do like me….garage sales, dollar store and Target & Walmart. Really Ikea’s prices are not bad at all….I want to take a shopping trip down to the one in Ohio again soon. The only one I went on was with my husband….and how fun is that?  LOL

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Playroom Organizing – Part 3

Toy Storage

So now that you have your toys sorted (well hopefully) you need to know where and how to put them.

My Guidelines and thoughts are Simple

I like a shelf rather than a toy box.  Toys get lost in toy boxes.  Kids don’t want to dig down to the bottom. Pieces fall down into that dark hole of toy misfitness and are never seen again.

Be sure if you use a shelf that you anchor it to the wall.  Kids like to climb on things, especially if they see something up top that they want and can’t reach.  You want to always be sure that shelf can not fall over on them.

Be sure to put the toys at age appropriate levels.  Put the toys where the young children can find them.  Put the older toys and games with small pieces up higher so the younger ones can’t choke on small things.  This toy shelf I bought years ago when my boys were young.  It had been a coat rack in a daycare.  See the smaller cubbies on the right. That was their top cubby when it was turned on its side and their coats hung in the other longer part. I probably bought this about 25 years ago (wow that makes me feel old…I still remember how excited I was to find it…and it was cheap!)

I am all for the clear baskets or like these….where you can see what is in them.  They don’t all have to match or be stylish (depending on where your playroom is). These are from the dollar store.

This one we use for the marbles. Yes…that is a big sock..filled with marbles. Don’t ask me why we keep them in a sock. I just know that my Dad put mine in a sock years ago and these are still the marbles I used to have….(yes in a newer sock)….but it works.

Think outside the box.  I had to figure out some way to hang these guitars for guitar hero.  I had this hook already and it fit perfect….solution.

Our playroom is in our unfinished basement.  We have put down a rug and have a futon, some restaurant benches that my son got from a friend, several old TV’s for the game systems.  So you can make due where you have the space.

We made a bedroom in the basement for one of our older boys (his choice). The kids used to use the “under the stairs” space for a fort. But since that was now made into his closet…we had to block the other side.  This was our solution.

Several bulletin boards did the trick. It blocked off the opening and provided a great place for the kids to display their art work.

I’ll have a list of some other toy storage solutions that you can find tomorrow!

I am all about practicality.  Make it work….think outside the box.

Linking this post to:

A Bowl Full of Lemons

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Playroom Organizing – part 2

Do the Kids Help or Not?

When it comes to sorting and organizing – Getting through the toys and being able to discard them (donate or trash) are your kids going to be a help or a hinder?

You need to decide if you want your children to help sort and organize or not. There are pros and cons to both methods. You know your children best and know what will work for them.


*Teaches them the importance of organizing at an early age

*Teaches them others are not as fortunate.

*Teaches them that cleaning up and clearing out can feel good


*Tantrums over giving things up

*Not as productive – it will take longer to have the kids help you. So if on a limited time frame it could be a problem

*Giving in and keeping more than you should because your child decides they want to keep everything

My Thoughts on the Subject

Some children will not handle giving up their toys easily. They can sway you to keeping everything and accomplishing nothing. But….they also need to LEARN that they do have to give up things and it will help them later in life. So it is a balance. My suggestion for these kids is for you to do the bulk of the sorting before they get home. They do not necessarily need to see what you are donating or getting rid of. But I would leave several things that are broken or they have out grown and then sit down with them when they get home and have them help you sort those things. Teach them that they need to share with other children who have less. Teach them they

What worked for me

For my 4 older boys (now ages 17-26) I did all the toy sorting myself (without their help).  I get a bit driven when I am in my “organizing mode” and personally I just like to go go go…so I prefer to organize by myself at home. I can honest say that there was never a time that my boys missed something or were upset when they got home.  They were always happy to see things neat and in order. I think it was that same “relief” feeling we get when we walk into a space that has once been too cluttered and now is neat and organized.  They didn’t have problems with giving up their toys and liked that most of the things were donated to other kids.

Now with my  4 step kids (ages 9 – triplets and a 16 year old) I have had them help me.  I don’t know why the difference.  But they are very good at helping and do not have problems with giving things away.  They crack me up because they tell me their mom doesn’t want to get rid of any of their things at her house and they are the ones that want to get rid of some of the clutter over there. (they are learning!)

Which way works best for you and your children?

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Organizing the Playroom – Part 1

Is Your Children’s Playroom a Disaster?

“Before picture – too many toys & books”

Many times the main problem that we have in the kids playroom is that they have too many toys!! We love our kids and want to give them everything. But sometimes everything is too much.

Have you heard the phase, “Less is More” ? This can be very true in regards to this. I am not saying to throw out all they toys. Not at all. But I am saying 90% of the time that our kids have too many toys.

Are you overwhelmed when you walk into a room of your house and there is SO much Stuff? You don’t know where to start…and it almost makes you feel like just walking right back out of that room.
So why should your kids feel any different if they walk into a playroom with SO much Stuff? They can be overwhelmed by toys. I know that it seems they should be happier with lots of toys…but it can be too much.

So what to do?
Start with at the starting point. Sorting! (You knew I was going to say that didn’t you?) You can go back and look at how to sort in my “Five Steps to Sorting” post.

Sorting in a Playroom

Step 1 –
Get those black and white trash bags. Black for trash – White for Donate

Step 2 –
Make those decisions quick. Do not sit and remember each birthday party or Christmas that each toy came from. Remembering the fun, who gave it to them. Feeling guilty if you give it up. That is “personalizing” the toy. You can take a picture of it…if it is something you want to remember.

Step 3 –
Look at each toy or book. Ask yourself these questions:
1) Does it work? (broken? – trash)
2) Do they like and and play with it? (If not – donate)
3) Have they out grown it? (donate)
4) Does it have all the pieces and parts? (If not – trash)
5) Is it broken? (Trash)
6) Is it worth taking up space in the playroom? (If not – donate)

Step 4 –
Decide if YOU are the reason they have too many toys. Are YOU the one that doesn’t want to give them up? Many times we are the problem, not the kids. We remembering picking out that toy and how excited we were to give it to them. We know how much it cost and know that it was expensive.
BUT…..if they do not use it any longer, if it is broken ….it is time to give it up.

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Spring Cleaning – The Garage

March 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog, Cleaning

Spring Cleaning – The Garage

Spring is in the air and dirt is in your garage. I think garages tend to get very messy in the winter time at least in the cold weather states because it is too darn cold to stay out there and clean them!! So what happens, things get taken out of the cars and dumped, shovels are out, rock salt out, things just left on shelves and not put away. Tools left just set by the door and not put away on the workbench. But boy does it feel good to clean out that garage in the spring.

Steps to Clean and Organize your Garage:

1) Get your black (trash) and white (donate) trash bags. Most of your cleaning supplies are probably already in the garage.

2) Pick a nice sunny day and open your garage. You will need to clear everything out. If you have just too much to handle in one day, then work on one side of your garage at a time.

3) Once you have things out, start with cleaning the floor. Sweep out the dirt and dust. If you are able, hose down the floor or use a wet broom to clean it off.

4) Sort your things. If you haven’t used it in years, then donate it. If those roller blades don’t fit, donate them. If that bike that is hanging is from the 1980’s and hasn’t been riden, donate it.

5) Now that you have decided what you are going to keep, you need a system. Peg boards work great in garages. You need to think “up”. Use your wall space, use your ceiling and or rafters. Get shelves and clear plastic bins (like in picture) and sort through your things. Be sure to label your bins!

6) Hang up those roller blades and store all those balls and bats.

7) Find a place for each thing you plan to keep. If you can’t find a place then you have to evaluate if you really need it. If that has to stay..then maybe something else needs to go. Visualize what you want in your garage your garage to look like, and you can make it happen.

You will feel much better each time you pull into your garage. You also won’t be embarrassed when your garage door is open and the neighbors can see in.

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Labeling your Holiday Storage Bins

My Snowmen Display
I worked with a client the other day who gave me some insight. She has MS and has trouble getting around. She also has oodles of Christmas decorations. I looked around at all her beautiful displays and asked if she had decorated herself (because I had a hard time picturing this much of a creativity side of her husband…no offense. LOL) She said, “No…I just direct.” I thought how frustrating that must be. To have the desire to do so many things in life and have a disability or disease that doesn’t let your body do what your mind wants to.
Then she shared with me something I have seen before, but never thought to be used in this way. She took a picture of her decorations up and displayed the way she likes them (last year or the year before I think) and posted that picture on the bin with those supplies in it. Brilliant!
Each person helping her just brings that bin up and knows exactly where and how to put the decorations.
So simple but most of us would never have thought to do so.
This is a fantastic idea for any of us to use. In the spirit of Christmas or other holiday, if you know someone who has troubles getting around themselves, help them do it this year! Take a picture close up and one a little further back (to see exactly the location) of their decorations. Help them to load just that set up or two in a bin and post the picture on the outside.
Love it! Thanks Becky!

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Garage Organizing

May 11, 2009 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog

This is the “Before” picture of a clients garage. I have shown these pictures before, but it was months ago and since I was doing some posts on garages, I wanted to show it again.
This client was not going to be staying in this house long, so putting things into the wall or up on the ceiling was not an option. It was a 4 car garage, so that was a wonderful luxury for me. (Wouldn’t that be nice to have?…I sure think so)
I used shelves that the client already had and did purchase many clear plastic bins. It makes it easy to see most of what is inside the bin. All the bins are also labeled. The shelves basically have themes to them. There is one for “car supplies”, “tools”, “garden supplies”, “cleaning”, etc….
He had multiple “welcome mats” so we put them to use. There were some oil stains that he tried to have a company get out, but there were still marks. So we used the mats to try and make it look better.
Here is the “after” picture.

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Garage organizing – Hang it Up!

Hooks can be used in so many different ways in your garage. They are a very low cost way of getting things up on the wall. Of course those whole wall systems are wonderful, but many of us can’t afford them. If you use your wall studs, then you can hang any kind of hook you would like without the big wall system behind it. Like in this picture a board was nailed across the studs to increase the surface area that is usable to hang from. Using your wall space is the best way of utilizing as much of your usable space. There are many different kinds of hooks and some have very specific purposes, but you can be creative.
The hook on the left picture above is being used for storing rakes, shovels, garden tools.
In the right hand picture it is a view looking down on the hook. This is the same hook but it is being used for hanging card table chairs and a tv tray.

This is another kind of hook. This is designed for hanging ladders from, but it is being used for lawn chairs. (you can think outside the box) It can also be used for bigger lawn equipment with the wide handles, like a spreader.

The bike hooks are great for winter bike storage, or a bike that isn’t being used very much. You can also use these hooks for hanging other garden equipment, as long as it is back out of the way so people don’t get hit by it when they walk by.

Peg boards are wonderful. Again they are another lower cost solution to using wall space efficiently. As most of you know there are all kinds of hooks to use in the peg board. Here are two ideas that may be a little different.
This hover board(I think that is what it is called) was a bit of a puzzle and I wasn’t sure what to do with it, but this solution works great.
The pogo sticks and scooters can hang from these hooks on the board. Works great to get them out of the way.

One last idea for you. All those brooms, mops etc…and be hung without hooks or peg board if needed. Just throw a nail in the wall and hang them up, if peg board isn’t an option, or you can’t do it right now. Put them in a place that is accessible to your kitchen (or where ever you use them). You do need to have a hole at the top of the handle, or drill a hole if the handle allows.
Happy Hanging!!

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Garage organizing – Roller Blades

I am going to be taking different parts of the garage and showcasing them to help show the detailed ways that you can organize.

Roller blades – they are great for exercise, great for kids….but they can be a nightmare for your garage. How many of you have walked out to your garage and found a mess like this? Trying to step over the roller blades and trying not to break your neck (and you couldn’t even take the credit for being ON the roller blades for that broken neck)

This is one solution to roller blades. This is my favorite solution to use. These work great and run about $20 each. They get everything up off the floor. There is a place for the helmets, elbow and knee pads and even hockey sticks.
But you may not have the money right now to spend on these.

You can use a shelf that you aren’t using somewhere else in your home. You can also find shelves very inexpensively at garage sales or resale shops.
You can’t really see it in the picture but on the white wire shelf next to this one there is a blue plastic bin that is holding all the knee and elbow pads.
This method just takes a little more time and effort for the kids to put their roller blades back on the shelf. So it may take a little more maintenance.

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Organizing A Garage

May 3, 2009 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog, How To Organize

Organizing a Garage After a Long Winter

“BEFORE” pics of a garage.

This is in a garage. I know it is hard to tell. This family has a 2 car garage that has a small extra space in it. They have several children so there are multiple bikes, scooters, sporting equipment, skateboards and roller blades along with helmets and kneepads!! Not to mention the husband’s workbench, tools, massive fishing supplies and lawn mower. There are chairs, both outdoor and indoor to store. A large freezer. Oh and did I mention they have 3 cars? So there is always the need for car space. Of course only 2 cars get to reside inside.

The Mission: Organize without spending Money

The goal in this garage was to organize and sort without spending any money on more organizing items. There were already some organizational systems in place, but for the most part it was just sorting through all the stuff and getting rid of some empty boxes, broken and unused items.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to organize. You don’t have to have a whole garage system (although I have to say it would be soooo cool.)
You can do a lot with some inexpensive peg board, shelves. Plywood shelves up high. Bike hooks are great too. Try to get as much off the ground as you can in a garage.
The single bike stands are about $20 and you can find them at The Container Store and Target. They help bikes from falling over, especially if the bikes don’t have kickstands. Like I said there were several things already in place here, it was just a matter of finding them.
For the skateboards I ended up finding a plastic milk crate that ended up being empty and we put the 2 skateboards in that. It keeps them from rolling around on the garage floor or someone accidentally falling on them.
Big empty trashcans worked well for the balls and bats and sports equipment. These owners have the large trashcans that the company provides and didn’t need their old ones, so we put them to good use.

“AFTER” pictures.

Making sure all the little things are off the floor is important.
Having and open trashcan near your door is a great plus. It makes it really easy to pitch those fast food bags and empty drink cup that are in your car. Just throw them away as you are walking in the door.
Make sure if you have pet food stored in the garage that it is in a rodent proof container.

This doesn’t look perfect by any means. With the number of bikes that had to fit and having to have room for the cars, these 2 bikes had to kind of jut out into the garage.

With 3 hours, hard work, lots of dust but not spending any money…you can make a difference in a garage (or any room for that matter.)

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Roller Blades and Helmets

March 31, 2009 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog

Organize your Roller Blades and Helmets

Does your garage look anything like this?  With roller blades and helmets all over the place?   This is a before photo of our garage prior to organizing the roller blades and helmets.

With nice weather comes roller blading, roller skating and kids playing outdoors. How many of you have a mess that looks something like this in the summer? Roller blades, helmets, knee and elbow pads everywhere?

I found this cool organizer at The Container Store to keep everything in its place. There are hooks so they can easily put each roller blade up themselves. Hooks for the helmets and a little basket area for their elbow and knee pads. You can also put a hockey stick down in the side to store that if you need to. Perfect.
I shopped around at several places for this for my client. I actually found The Container Store  to have better prices on these then Target ($39.99) . I was shocked. So shop around if this is something that you are thinking of getting.

Update: (Dec 30, 2011 – I have been unable to find these products online. If someone finds them, please let me know)

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Garage Organization

August 3, 2008 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog

Garage “After” Organizing

garage after organizing I spent about 7 hours today organizing my clients four car garage. We had already sorted through his things and gotten rid of a lot of things.
I purchased many plastic bins in 5 different sizes to work with. I knew that I would be able to get 2 across on the shelves and I messaged the height (hence the reason for several sizes).
I used bins where I could to keep things together and to be able to label things. I wasn’t able to use the lids on all of the bins (example bug sprays and things that were taller). But I did make sure that I put the lids underneath the containers even if we didn’t use them on top, just so they wouldn’t get lost.
I did label the bins at the end, not as I went. There were times that I found out I had more than I thought or less than I thought and ended up changing the size of bin that I used.
I was very pleased with the result.

See the Garage “Before” Organizing

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Garage Organizing

July 29, 2008 by  
Filed under Basement or Garage, Blog

Organizing Your Garage

This is a “Before” picture of a garage that needed some organizing.


Would you like to organize this?  This is the 2nd wave of a full garage I had to work on for someone.
There has been a lot to go through and we are going through it bit by bit. This is the garage after it has been sorted from boxes and storage units but “before” it has been organized.
I will be working on it soon and can’t wait. To me this is the fun part.
Once you have sorted through what you want to keep, what you want to donate and what needs to be just thrown away…then you can decide how you are going to organize it. You will have the “volume” of the stuff and can make those decisions.
Until you know how much you have it is difficult to plan your attack on how to organize it.

Be sure to check out the Garage “After” Organizing

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