Is your cherished new car sitting in the driveway because there is not an inch of extra space on your garage floor for the car? Is the artificial Christmas tree in the giant box taking up a prime corner in your garage, even though you only need to bring it out once a year? Are the garden cart, the kid’s tricycles, and your array of shovels and rakes always jockeying for a spot nearest the garage door so that you must check and double check to see if they have cleared the electric eye of the automatic door opener? Join the club!
A second or third bay addition to the garage may not be the answer, let alone in the budget. What is an active household with lots of interests to do with all of their “toys of the trade“? Here are a few ideas to free up some garage space and explore turning some outdoor square footage into practical storage.
Short on Outdoor Storage Space?
If you have a few feet of space on the side of your house between you and your neighbors, you can utilize it better than you might think. There are metal sheds designed to take up little space, such as a 4-foot-by-7-foot or 4-by-10 “Yardsaver” made by Arrow that can provide ample storage in all kinds of weather and various climates. There is enough headroom to stand up on one side and it is easy to move lawn equipment in and out through the wide door. If you can muster up the patience to assemble it yourself and install the many panels and hundreds of screws, you will realize that “time is money” in what you saved by taking on a DIY project.Picture by arrowsheds.com
Cute as a Button Playhouse or Storage Shed
Okay, so maybe you can’t handle a detailed piece by piece assembly of an outdoor shed, or maybe you just don’t want to, but for a few dollars more you can splurge for the not-so-technical DIY project that can be fully functioning in an afternoon. It is made of steel-reinforced plastic and even has two sets of double entry doors to make for easy retrieval of a wheelbarrow or the Christmas tree. Added benefits, unlike many sheds, are its windows and skylights (not an add-on, but included in this model!). It could also be purchased for use as a backyard playhouse for the kids, a staging area for food and drink during a family reunion, or maybe even a quiet respite for mom or dad to escape with a lawn chair when the activities inside the main house are temporarily insane. It is also just so darn cute … you can’t really call it a “shed.”Picture by buylifetime.com
Hidden Outdoor Storage Under the Eaves
If you are lacking organized hanging space for your yard tools and small ladders, try building a simple, narrow depth, but extra-wide wooden “closet” with big doors under the eaves on one side of your house. By installing it under the eaves, it has some added protection from the weather, and, if you don’t plan on taking it with you when you move, you already have the side wall of the house to act as the back wall of your lean-to style shed. If you paint it to blend in with the rest of the house, it may even look like it was there from the day you moved in!Picture by Thomas J. Story via sunset.com
DIY Cement Board Shed
“Hardipanel” siding (a fiber-cement board product) is a great idea for helping to construct a stand-alone backyard shed, especially in a damp climate. The product will not rot, crack or warp for many years. This 10-by-12 shed was designed to house tools, but it could be used for much more because of its durable exterior and house-like appearance. If this type of look and wearability appeal to you for your outdoor storage, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions to comply with the warranty of the siding.Picture by Alex Hayden via sunset.com
Easier Shed Than Done
Well, everyone can dream, so why not dream big? Wish for a way to put down the garden tools, grab a cold one and sit by the pool. Let the gardeners and maintenance crew do the worrying about where to store their own mowers, blowers and weed eaters. Instead, use your outdoor shed storage area for a great pool house complete with some outdoor shade and a refrigerator to keep the cold ones coming!Picture by mnkyimages.com
If a pool house (or even a pool) is wishful thinking, and you need a dose of reality, look for ways to pare down the things that are taking over your garage space. Get clever with the space that you have, or choose an outdoor storage shed that suits your needs and fits within your budget. Other options? Move to a condo and put your minimal selection of garden tools in a deck storage box.
Either way, the new car gets a covered parking spot!
Laura Leist, CPO
Organizing with Laura