Sunday, March 16, 2008

Storage Solutions

We humans have a lot of stuff. Too much stuff, to be exactly vague. Currently, I've been troubled by how my children's bikes (at least two a piece), motorized PowerWheels vehicles, scooters, and other methods of Tyke Transportation have overtaken my garage.

Now, I realize that a garage is uniquely designed, if not invented for such an overtaking; however, MY garage was recently (5 years in the making) converted (in my mind) as a full time workshop, and by workshop, I mean WOODWORKING workshop, not BICYCLE REPAIR SHOP (AND STORAGE.) With my wonderfully thoughtful table saw Christmas gift two years ago, I took the opportunity to remodel the entire garage, building custom cabinets to house my woodworking tools and magazines, and to hide a bunch of other junk. I even spent over $600 rewiring the place to accommodate several workstations with several 220 outlets. Yep, the only thing that has been holding me back from making all the beautiful furniture that I have floating around in my head is the price tag . . . and all those darn bikes.

Don't get me wrong, it is very satisfying merely to go into the garage, plug in the 240 volt table saw and listen the the powerful hum of the blade, but in order to push a full 4 by 8 sheet of plywood through that blade, first requires what feels like setting up for an elaborate yard sell. It takes almost 5 full minutes, but what feels like ages, to remove all the "extra, non-woodworking" material from my garage just to get my space required to safely work. When I'm inspired, I want to open garage bay, hit the music, then get after it. I don't want to play "musical bikes," especially when I know I run the risk of getting interrupted by passersby strolling up my driveway expecting a garage sale. If I didn't think my kids (and wife) would mind, I'd probably sell everything on the driveway for one low price to the first "early bird."

Which brings me to my current predicament: Cost- and time-efficient storage solutions. Being the beginning of spring break, and being a former homebuilder, I wanted to spend my week off building a simple "bike barn." But after picking a suitable site, I began adding space and extras to the originally simple plan. Since I was going to be building something, I might as well build it to last and to serve several purposes. Bottom line: I took the idea of a simple 6 foot by 8 foot bike storage shed, and let it germinate into an elaborate two-story 20 foot by 20 foot gambrel shed with a 6-foot wrap-around porch. By quintupling my original budget, I did nothing more than financially prohibit myself from accomplishing my goal: staking claim on my garage shop.

The project grew to one that would exceed the week of spring break, and to one that one prevent us from taking our kids (and ourselves) to Disney World this summer. Giant bike barn or Mickey? What I wanted or what my wife and kids (and I) all wanted. I began doing what any self-respecting person capable of construction abhors: looking at low-cost, pre-fab alternatives.

As of right now, I'm set on traveling to CostCo to purchase a 8 foot by 10 foot prefab plastic (gulp) storage shed to set up on an smaller, different, more convenient pad (see picture above.) It's hard to go wrong with Sam's Club. With this, I'll pay a bit more, lose a bit of self-respect, but I'll be able to have it up and leveled in one day, which means the bikes, Power-Wheels, scooters, and more bikes will be out of my garage, errrr SHOP, in time for me to enjoy almost an entire week designing things I cannot afford, and building things I have no room for.

At least I can listen to the soothing hum of my table saw without "BMX Barbie" looking on.

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