Friday, February 24, 2017

Reclaiming Our Neglected Tool Shed

February's plan was to fix things around the house that were broken, replace things that needed it, and clean out the tool shed. Picking the shortest month in the year shows poor planning on my part. You know how I love before and after pictures, so here you go. It was pretty bad. This was the worst corner, but of course, I'm using it for the most dramatic effect.

It's not that there wasn't any organization, it's just that it had been about 40 years since anyone took everything out and started over. Taking everything out. That's important. Here are some other views:

Clearly, we had organized bits and pieces from time to time but this time I was on a mission for a complete overhaul and I was ruthless. Okay, and a little scared.

Here's the view that I saw anytime I opened the door to grab a can of paint or a hammer. I rarely actually went inside. I'd managed to keep most of the things I used a lot in the house or just inside this door.

I know some of you have areas of your house or outbuildings that make you feel this way. The morning I began this project I had the overwhelming urge to cry. But over the years I've learned that no matter how bad it looks you just have to start. I slowly began removing things from the shelves. I gained momentum as I went, which is why it's important just to begin.

Someone gave my husband that sign years ago with his name on it.  It's been there since my last attempt at organizing this space well over a decade ago. This was originally my father-in-law's tool shed and he spent a lot of time here. He also spent a lot of time at the hardware store and never came home empty handed, which is why you see so many things in the packages they came in. Over twenty years ago.

I'm not showing you the picture of the dead rat I found. You're welcome.  I was seriously determined to get this done once and for all. The fact that I continued after the dead rat trauma should be plenty of proof.

In addition to the dead rat, I found 10 vintage toolboxes we've inherited from several male relatives.

 Luckily, I had the back porch to use as a staging area, especially since it rained the night I took everything out. See that Phillips box? It's an unopened MP3 player. I literally have no idea.

There were piles of things everywhere. I hate piles of things.

I had a couple of pieces of unused shelving stored in the honey shed that I used to extend the workbench all the way to the wall.

Hung up the shop vac and added a shelving unit from the sporting good side of this building. My husband and I cleaned it out a couple of years ago and these shelves were empty.

I started hanging things up on the pegboard and working out a system for the things we use the most.

Summer is coming. Gonna need these extension cords to be handy.

Not too bad. Something is bugging me though...

This was a vast improvement. Look how happy all the screwdrivers look lined up!

These hammers and mallets are definitely much happier all sorted out.

In the emptying out process, I had discovered a dolly that was still in the box and I took a break to put it together when I got close to the end. My father-in-law had bought this and never put it together. The box was hidden behind other stuff.

 Do you know how many times I could have used this in the past twenty years?

But I got super excited when I saw that I could change the position of the handle and use it for a cart. It is the perfect size for moving bee hives!

Doesn't the tool shed look great? But still, for 4 days I kept thinking it wasn't quite right. It was just too dark. I decided to take everything down and paint. It was a lot of trouble, but as you can see from the photos it was totally worth it.

The paint brightened up the space which only has one window.

Still so many things purchased by my father in law, still in the packages.

For something like a tool shed, I love vintage pieces like these old gas cans.

This project that I had scheduled 3 days to complete ended up taking more like 6. But think of the time I'll save when I need something and the money not purchasing something we already have on hand.

For every item that made it back into the tool shed (we had to know what it was and how to use it) there was at least one that is headed to the recycling center, trash pile, or thrift store donation. I'd say it's a safe bet to say I reduced the contents by half.

Don't be afraid to tackle your big, dark, scary attic, basement, or shed. Schedule some uninterrupted time, wear a mask, and get started. This was completely overwhelming at the beginning, but just keep pushing forward.

Don't be deterred by dead rodents or spiders.

Who knows what treasure you'll find?


  1. Just pure brilliance from you here. I have never expected something less than this from you and you have not disappointed me at all. I suppose you will keep the quality work going on.


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