garage makeoverBy Woman's Day Staff
For Raleigh, NC, handywoman Brittany Bailey, 40, getting her garage-cum-workroom into shape was top priority. "I spend as much time in there as I do in my kitchen or home office," says Brittany, who chronicles her home improvement projects-everything from birdhouse building to installing custom bookshelves-on her blog, PrettyHandyGirl.com. The space had the basics (a workbench, a pegboard wall), but it was a dreary, visually crowded spot to work in. So Brittany used what she had on hand, including scrap lumber and finds from Habitat for Humanity's ReStore building supply store, to make the garage more functional-and happy. "Now it's so bright and organized, I love working in here!" she says. Photo by Squire Fox
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Use vertical space
The pegboard was in place when the family moved in, but Brittany had just haphazardly hung up her gear. Now, the tools are arranged so that the most frequently used items are easily accessible: garden tools near the garage entrance (close to the yard), sports equipment farther in where she loads up the car trunk, and tools within arm's reach of her workbench. "It's so much easier to find something when I need it!"
Add personalized extras
Brittany used a $10 sheet of metal air conditioning duct to make a backsplash that holds inspiring images, then turned retired paintbrushes into cabinet door handles (find the tutorial on her blog). A quirky sign finishes off the space.
Create usable workstations
The original workbench wasn't ideal: The center section was a solid panel, so Brittany had to reach in awkwardly from the side to remove items. At first, she just took off the panel, but the cluttered shelves were an eyesore. As a fix, Brittany added a pair of doors with radiator screen inserts to the opening, keeping the contents easily accessible but out of sight. A rolling cart holds her power tools (drills, a power paint sprayer), so she can grab what she wants or wheel it farther into the garage for bigger projects.
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Build From Scraps
Using cheap pine and lumber left over from other projects, Brittany constructed a crate for her garden supplies and sports gear and added low shelving to hold paint. She used PVC piping-a steal at about $8 for a 10-foot length-to keep her rakes and spades upright. "Now, my tools don't fall over, and they take up a lot less room," says Brittany.
Brittany's Tips and Tricks
Include closed storage
Cabinets replaced open shelving to store odds and ends (boxes of screws, plumbing parts). Besides concealing these items, the doors prevent them from being coated in sawdust when Brittany is working with her miter saw.
Shop for deals
Before buying new organizing products, scour a secondhand shop, the returns section of a big-box store and the aisles at a hardware store. You might find something cheaper to do the trick!
Related: Discover 9 buys that are cheaper online.
Don't give up
Stumped by a first-time project? Search the web for tutorials. Brittany did just that to install the cabinets using a French cleat system. "I stepped out of my comfort zone and learned something new."
Original article appeared on WomansDay.com.
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