Tips For An Ergomomic Garage Make Over
You've probably noticed that the big box stores have a slew of organizing products available right after the Christmas displays are taken down. I give credit to the merchandisers for playing to our desires to start the new year clean and organized. While the rest of my house is well organized, my garage was all of a sudden out of control, though it had taken years to get this way. It took just one Christmas gift to bring it to the forefront of my attention.

Rick bought me a new belt/ disc combo sander. Is that cool, or what!  It's so great and I've wanted it for a long time. But I had no place to put it- I mean, no place. The scroll saw I got last year floated between being stored in the wheel barrow or on top of the table saw so any time I needed either tool, it had to be moved. My tile cutting saw has been on the floor for 3 years and the table saw had to be lifted over it in order to be used.
OMG- I am a tool hoarder!
Our garage must serve many purposes- as a cache for gardening supplies including a wheel barrow, large bags of soil and amendments, rakes, shovels, trelises, tomato cages, weed wacker, buckets- all that just for the garden! In addition, a snow blower, 2 large garbage cans, more than twenty real estate signs and banners, 2 long wall shelves of power and oversized hand tools AND the laundry, complete with washer, dryer and slop sink all have to fit in. That's the basics of our single-car garage and now I wanted to add to it to create a more functional craft space!

Fortunately, our garage is fitted with 14 linear feet of floor-to-ceiling enclosed shelving. It's an ideal place to store paints, boxes of nails and screws, garden supplies, craft parts, etc- most of which fit into dozens of plastic shoe boxes and totes for easy access, organized by like-items-kept-together. (Do you like how I wall papered the door to the house to resemble a book case?!)


But larger items posed a problem for storage when not in use and ease of access when needed. As luck would have it, and just in the knick of time, Gail at MyRepurposedLife created an "Organize Your Work Room" challenge (for info or to join the challenge CLICK HERE) and I accepted. It started me thinking about how the workspace could serve me better and what modifications were needed to make things easier and more accessible. Since I had a problem with my back last year, the old way of doing things- with brute strength- doesn't work anymore and I needed to make everything ergonomic as possible. This involved wheels.

Since I don't have a dust collection system ( but if you'd like to learn how to corral saw dust, CLICK HERE), the table saw and the chopper are moved outside to be used so they need to be portable and close to the overhead garage door. The table saw was too heavy for me to lift over the tile saw and move it without Rick's help which often became a problem. We extended the legs with  pieces of 2x2" wood from my stash, held in place with with long screws through holes already in the metal frame (and some duct tape, just to be sure!). I added wheels to the 2 legs which carried the weight of the motor of the saw. The back legs are longer to include the height of the wheels so the saw is level when used for cutting. It operates like a wheel barrow now and I can maneuver it in and out whenever I need it all by my self.
While cleaning up, I came across a plywood tabletop I cut many years ago and used it to make a dolly for the nail gun compressor. Now I can move it around the whole garage very easily. I also put the chop saw (miter saw) on a table we had and added wheels to that so I can get it out of the garage and onto the driveway with very little effort! There's a little lip from the apron to the driveway so it stays in place when I'm using it.


Counter space was also a problem. I work on several projects at a time and between wood working, painting and sign making, there's a lot going on! The only work surface I had was an old kitchen table which wasn't large enough for big or multi-faceted projects- and the height was back breaking. I really needed more counter space at a height where I wouldn't be bending over. I designed 2 storage cabinets with 36' counter top height which is awesome.

The scroll saw and the sander now have a place. 


Two 2' wide custom cabinets, back to back gives me 4' x 5' of counter top for my projects.

My original work surface is now comfortable enough (and clean ) to sit at while painting.

So from one hot mess where nothing was easy or comfortable

to a functional and ergonomic space in just 3 days.


All those wheels (!) and lumber for the 2 cabinets with countertops was just $72.00 so the project was budget friendly, too!

Of course, it's so clean now, I hate to get it messed up, but that will only last a few days. I have many projects planned for the new year and I'm excited to get started!
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 Gail says-  I love what you've done with your space. Adding wheels is a must! I work in the driveway as well.
I understand what you mean about not messing it up.. I feel the same about the basement. But I've already worked on a few projects there.
The difference is, I can just walk away at the end of the day. With the garage shop, I have to move everything back into the garage at the end of the day. :)
Thanks for joining in the clean up your act challenge!


     Sandy says-  Thanks Gail. Your challenge was just what I needed to get my act together! I have been working  everyday on something or other and cleaning up every Sunday (including sharpening    my  pencils!).  It's so wonderful to have a designated space to work!


Donna says-   Your garage looks great. As soon as my husband finishes the hot rod and we can move it out of the garage, I plan to organize that space next. Visiting from the Clean Up Your Act Challenge.   


Sandy says- Thanks, Donna. I was lucky- I claimed the garage space first!