Friday, June 6, 2014

56 Getting Real About Our Garage Project Journey

As of today, I haven't shared a home organizing project in two weeks.  TWO WEEKS!  I am pretty sure that is a record for me but I am OK with that.  I was in a bit of a project rut with no interest in doing "filler" posts to drum up projects that we don't need.  So I apologize for my lameness lately, but sometimes I need to take a few steps back in order to move forward.  I love to organize and work on projects as much as the next person, but it is not my intention to force something that doesn't need to be done, or rush something to get a post out, only to regret it later {been there, done that}.

So what have I been doing the last couple of weeks?  Now that spring is in full swing, it is time to take back our garage once and for all!

It is funny how well my husband and I balance out.  He is frugal about home purchases, yet would love to eat out more often.  I am all about eating at home, and splurging on a new light fixture.  He over thinks every last detail of every project we tackle while I say, "let's do this, it will be easy!" and have trouble waiting for paint to dry.  He thinks things through while I am much more impulsive.  He is not the neatest and I should be medicated for my love of clutter-free spaces.  He is outgoing and I am quiet.  But you know what?  It works!  Sure we clash from time to time, but I love that we are constantly challenging one another and that we have found a way to use those opposites to our advantage.

So when he initially told me last year that he wanted to wait on our upcoming kitchen renovation until a lot of our other projects were done, including a huge garage update we had in the wings, I hung my head like a sad puppy.  He wasn't about to embark on a huge {our biggest yet} project with other unfinished business, including the space where a lot of the work was about to happen.  Our garage is right off of the kitchen, and will be where a lot of the magic will take place during the renovation.  Of course, I just want to take a sledge hammer to the wall now, but I have to agree with him that one more mess will only make things worse throughout the process.  Gosh, I hate to admit when he is right!

We started working on the garage at the end of October and into November of last year.  Unfortunately, as we worked, our visions for an ideal garage space changed and evolved as well.  We not only wanted to add a lot of storage to free up the entire floor area, but also wanted to finish the ceilings and walls and update the lighting.  Oh, and paint the doors and replace the entry step and maybe even do something with the floors.

I know it is just a garage, but for us, it is much more than that.  We use the garage to build, to store the kids play things, and even to host parties. With the limited space in our upper level between the living room and kitchen, things get cramped instantly when throwing any type of shindig.  We have been known to set up rows of tables inside the garage to expand on our entertaining area, and I often times dread doing it because the garage is well, a dark and dirty garage!

There were a lot of challenges working on the garage at the end of the year.  Daylight was limited, kids were in sports, the holidays were approaching and weather in Wisconsin is not very outdoor project worthy.  In fact, after a few teeth chattering nights working in the garage in layers of long underwear, we decided that enough was enough until spring.

We did get a few things accomplished, like finishing the upper halves of the walls and ceiling, building massive overhead storage, priming most of the new storage and even installing a few sheets of wall paneling.  But when the projects stopped, so did our desire to maintain the garage at all.  I guess this is why I always put that extra effort to make my storage pretty, because when it is not, excitement for the space goes down the drain.  Our garage was a cluster of unfinished projects, saw dust, seasonal items and building materials.

I don't blog just to share a pretty after photo {although, I know we all love those}.  I blog to share the journey.  In a Pinterest driven blog world where your income depends on page views and page views come from Pinterest, unfortunately focus can be clouded and shift and the real purpose of the blog can quickly become forgotten.  So although I haven't posted a project, I have been busy creating new messes and I am sharing those today instead of a pretty reveal.  Although I share more messes with the masses than I ever thought I would, sometimes those messes are the best part of the puzzle.

If you remember our garage from last year, it looked like this:


Before we started building our storage in the garage, we were really about getting rid of most of the items that did not make sense or need to be there any longer.  We sold furniture on Craigslist and gifted some to my younger brother, we brought things to our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore, donation center and recycling center.  I don't have a photo of it cleared out, but things were looking MUCH better.  Not perfect, but the excess was gone.

But then we used the garage on and off this winter for quick building projects and the remainder of the supplies for the garage overhaul sat and collected dust.  There were no longer any storage solutions in place for any of the items being stored out there, and any existing organization was being covered by project materials and building supplies.  That meant that our kid's outdoor and sports gear was spreading throughout the entire messy space because they couldn't get around the garage to put things back.  Gardening and yard tools were lining the walls and we had half of our tools stored in our storage room in the lower level and the other half on the unused workbench in the garage. 

So for the last two weeks, every spare second of my time was out in that garage sorting.  And that sorting gave me five new organizing projects.  FIVE!  Do you know how gosh darn excited I am about that?  So here they are.


The Garage


This is our garage completely cleaned out.  Haha, I know, I am quite the comedian.  But it is true!  Still a whopping mess, but so much better than a week ago if you can believe it.  Here you can snag a sneak peek at the upper storage we built as well as everything ripped out from the walls so they can be finished.  This space totally gives me hives, but one day very soon it will be magical!


Outdoor Toys


We are cooped up for months during the long and harsh winters, so when the sun starts shining brighter and the trees start greening up, you can bet we spending as much time outdoors as possible.  With the garage currently acting as a workshop, I decided that it was no longer safe for the boys to be running in and out of there with their buddies, grabbing all of their play equipment.  So for now, I have sorted it all down and placed it on the front porch.  Yep that is how it looks today.  Pretty welcoming right?  This is extremely temporary until the garage is done, but I still need to find a way to clean up the visual first impression of our home while also keeping it functional for the boys until the garage is ready to store it again.


Our Garden Shed


I completely forgot we had a shed because it sits tucked back on the side of our home and I haven't been in it in years.  It was previously storing some old paint cans that were drying out, as well as items from our lower level remodel and some old yard tools.  The only time it was used was to mow the lawn, but because it is away from the house and concealed, it is typically just an afterthought. 


After cleaning it out last week during my big garage cleanup, only yard maintenance items and gardening supplies remain.  Nothing is at all organized {yet}, but I am excited to hang some cabinets from our garage and install some wall storage to really make this a functioning garden shed that is no longer forgettable.


Our Main Bathroom/Hallway


A few weeks ago, our main bathroom vanity took a turn for the worst.  Drawers may have been pulled out to be used as a stool and may have busted beyond repair.  Given the fact that the vanity has seen better days in its twelve years of life and many chipped coats of paint, we pulled it out.  While cleaning out the garage, we spotted the toilet we purchased for this bathroom back when we purchased one for our guest room remodel last year.  We also realized that we had enough flooring leftover from both the lower level and the other bathroom update, that we could update the flooring in our main bathroom as well {score}!  Although I would love to gut the entire thing and tile it beautifully, that will have to wait until after the kitchen.  So we purchased a new vanity which is one I could see ourselves reusing should we ever completely redo the bathroom down the road, but we still have the entire bathroom contents and project supplies hanging out in our hallway. Sigh.



Storage Room Continued


We never truly finished our storage room last year, the final item that needed to be addressed was the tools which were also lost in the garage.  So now they all sit in our family room downstairs and Bryan has been sorting them in his spare seconds.  It will be great to finally have a tool station organized and and ready to go.  We spend so much time searching for tools and hardware, it is ridiculous.  This is one of those projects we should have done when we started diving into DIY years ago.

Although all of these messes may make me a little frazzled, they also excite me because I am weird like that.  So although it feels like I just ran around the Internet in my undies {a.k.a. totally embarrassed myself}, that is where we are in our garage and home journey.  We have started, we have sorted and now we get to organize.  And finish walls... and install new lights... and paint doors.

I may not post something new everyday, but that is because I never want to tire of doing what I love. 

Happy weekend everyone and....


56 comments:

  1. This is why I love your blog! You keep it real and that's why we all feel such a connection to you! Thanks for all the inspiration always!

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  2. Thank You for keeping it real!

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  3. That's why I love reading your blog, Jen, because you are a real person living the real life and having courage to share it with others! Good luck with all coming projects, I'm sure "after" picks will be great as usual.
    Love the starburst mirror on your porch! Instantly got an idea for mine!

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  4. Yes, I, too, began organizing our garage last week. I understand the urge. And I appreciate the fact that you don't mind showing the in-between stages. After all, it's the only way to go from chaos to organized bliss. My husband is not one to throw anything away, but he was actually happy that I went to town organizing the garage, which still had an unopened box from when we moved in a year and a half ago. Can't wait to see your finished bathroom!

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    1. Isn't amazing the things you can find in a garage clean up? Garages are the easiest place to stash and dash! :)

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    2. We just finished a huge 'reno'..laundry & storage plus a bathroom (shower), we had bought tiles from our son since they decided to sell their house instead of renovating...it didn't really need renos in the 1st place!!
      Aside from the plumber and a fondation expert to repair small fissures, my hubbie did ALL the work, with our son helping when he could (lives out of town) . All to say I understand 'stuff' spread all over the place. It took 7 months for these renos...only have a few things to polish up. Mike will be doing the linen closet design andwill put Iit up my himself..just couldn'd find what we wanted. I'm new to this social media thing, not sure if I can send you pix?? The bathroom is aqua in color and the tiles are beige italian travestine with a very delicate pattern made with glass aqua tiles and pebbles. The ceramic floor tiles are also beige in a different style. He also made up the cojnter part of the vanity. The laundry room has bla k & white patter vinyl flooring called 'french marble' from Tarquet flooring and I have anold fashion white porcelaine sink with drain board. The suurounding cunter top, also made up by hubbie is of black ceramkc tiles. The cupboards are white...just a beautiful contrast. We 'e lived in this 1956 house for 44 years and we are still doing renos....I think this is the last major one..we' both turn 70 next year!
      We don't have a garage, just a carport that Mike turns into a florida room every summer. He enclosed it with screening and a door at both ends. The whole things 'folds' up for the winter months.it is absolutely fantastic fromend of May to end of October...absolurely not mosquitoes (also have pix of fhis outdoor room). Keep on renovating...I just love to read you. Renee from Montreal, Canada

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  5. Jen, I love that you "just ran around the internet in your undies" (rofl). We also need to refocus our energy on our garage and shed. We started these projects last fall but this harsh winter stopped us in our tracks! For now I am 100% about getting the gardens done before they are so weedy they can't be reclaimed, but I look forward to your garage posts to get inspiration for storing all of the wood! tools, and toys

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  6. Love it! thanks for sharing miss jen! i loved your blog long before i even knew what pinterest was! :-) and i still love what you do........as i always say....stick to your roots and go with your gut.
    can't wait to see all your loveliness when these projects are done.
    :-) have a joyful day!

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  7. Thank you for keeping it real! Love it to read a blog like this... Honest and funny

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  8. Hi Jen! I know I am not going to say one single thing that has been said over and over here. But I was just pulled to write something and say THANK YOU for the complete picture and your process. I love to look at your blog when I'm starting a project (big or small) - just seems like a little bit of encouragement to get going. This post was so timely - I am working on our unfinished basement and garage as we speak. Seeing real life pics makes me realize I am not alone in this! I have 2 boys with 2 tons of stuff - sometimes I get frustrated when I see lovely pinterest pics with perfection closets with one baseball bat leaned up against a corner and one helmet each in a perfect cubby. "Pretty" is wonderful, inspiring, and a bit of escapism, but I really appreciate your real life workable (and pretty!) solutions. Thanks again so much!! :)

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    1. I have to agree. As much as I love {like really love} the pretty pictures, when you see them it is easy to forget that someone went through an entire process to get there. A lot of work goes on behind the scenes, and it is that work that needs to be shared as well. Sometimes I feel like I struggle to keep up with other projects and blogs, and the last thing I want my readers to feel is the same. Time to celebrate the in-between more often! :)

      xoxo!

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  9. Absolutely love this post for being so real. Always inspired by your work and I'm sure readers of this post completely understand where you're coming from. Your house is so fantastic and your energy and enthusiasm infectious - thank you for sharing your process with us. Much love.

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  10. Love your colour palette .I don't know where your ideas come from but they work ! Can't wait to do my own projects in a quest for harmony .Thanks x

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  11. I've been feeling incredibly overwhelmed with things only half done and little energy to complete anything. This is just what I needed today. We're only human afterall. Thank you.

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    1. Yes, so easy to lose steam in the middle of a project, but one day at a time, one project at a time. :) xoxo!

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  12. You both know better than most how messy DIY can be! I admire you both for being willing to take on project after project. Here in sunny SoCalif we have no weather worries, but sorting and organizing sure doesn't always appeal when gazing at big messes! Good luck on accomplishing your dream garage workspace. I'm sure you'll get there :)

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  13. Amen to what has already been mentioned. I love that you keep things real, and don't create projects just to get a post up. How many times do we need to see the same room, sofa table vignette, etc. recreated? Sometimes I just feel it is wasteful, and unnecessary. Spaces that were once organized can become messy again, they need to be repurposed due to change in use/life circumstances. I love that...use what you have, recreate with things from other spaces. I love that you do that!! Yes, sometimes it means bringing in a few new things. But, not every week for the sake of a blog post. Kudos again Jen for keeping things in perspective.

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    1. Thank you so much! I agree, and blogging makes it even more tempting to redo and show new things, but it is not practical and only causes unnecessary waste. I have learned that the hard way a time or two in that past many years of blogging. It is important for us bloggers to inspire with our day to day real stories and things that we would/should do whether we blog or not.

      xoxo!

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  14. I love seeing the messes as much as the reveals; thanks for sharing that! Our bath vanities are all 25 years old; 12 years doesn't seem very long for a vanity to me ~ I better get busy, hahahaa.

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    1. 12 years really is not that old, but it wasn't a good one to begin with and being in such a high traffic area with three boys, it was starting to look shameful. The broken drawers were the last straw.... And now I am head over heals for the new one so I am just going to chalk it up as a blessing in disguise. :)

      xoxo!

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  15. Jen ~ said many times already, but worth repeating - this is what makes your blog rock, you always keep it real!! I love that about you and that's what keeps me coming back. I do have a question though, with your garage full of everything are you parking outside? Just curious, since I know you deal with harsh winters like I do.

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    1. Yes - we parked outside for portions of the winter. But doing so is beyond frustrating, so we ended up getting creative with storage in the back of the garage to make room for parking inside from time to time. More motivation to get it done and done right this spring.

      xoxo!

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  16. I love the types of organising projects that spawn other unexpected projects! Anddd this post just reminded me of my forgetable garden shed *hides face*. I'm glad you don't feel the rush to do projects for the sake of posting on here. One of the things I love about your blog is that your main aim is the same as mine: simply finding ways to make our homes happier :)
    www.organisedmuslimah.com

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  17. Thanks for keeping it real, Jen! It's so encouraging to see the process that brings you to these beautiful space. I feel like we move slower than a snail's pace when it comes to home projects so it's nice to see a blogger I admire has summer of the same struggles. I'm excited to see what each space looks like when you're finished!
    Kim @ pinspiredhome.blogspot.com

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  18. Absolutely love your blog. So many bloggers post meaningless info. You keep it real and that is why I love you!!

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  19. Thank you for being so honest... why is it so hard for many of us to do?? I also need to address my shed, but it's such an overwhelming task... I wish I knew how to accept it as a journey like you do... Can't wait to see more...

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    1. I think it is just scary to show the imperfect sides because we are always taught to put our best foot forward. But it is not fair to only show the pretty when life is typically messy. :)

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  20. We are on a garage redo as well. We are also getting a shed built in our teeny backyard. I have my hubby's word (recorded even. LOL) that I am allowed to help him organize both. Usually when I offer, he has an absolute fit. We actually have a gazillion things we want to do this summer from the garage and shed, to yard work, finishing the deck we ran out of time to finish last fall. I am so excited as I even have new outdoor lights for the front of the garage and house. These have seen better days because of the sun, and I love the new ones so much more (I also love that I won't have the same lights as about a half dozen other people. We were one of the first ones in here and so many ended up with the same outdoor fixtures that came after we did).

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    1. Oooh! Have fun organizing! Hope it goes well and that you can find systems that you both agree on and love. And congrats on the new lights! It is those little things that make such a fun difference! :)

      xoxo!

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  21. Good luck with finishing up those projects so that you can get to the "good stuff" - the kitchen!! All kidding aside, excited to see the progress!

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  22. We are tackling our garage too. Not nearly to the extent that you are, but even if we get it semi organized we will be extremely happy. It is a disaster at the moment. :(

    Can't wait to see your progress.

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  23. Jen, thanks so much for posting. These are always my favorite posts!! As someone who loves DIY it makes me feel so much better when bloggers get real with us to show what the messes look like in between. It's a little discouraging living in the pintrest world with nothing but befores and afters because it's so not real!! Thanks for posting these are the best!

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    1. I agree! Even as a blogger, it can be discouraging if you are not creating the "Pinterest worthy" before and afters fast enough. But in the end, it doesn't do anyone any good to rush and not share the entire process. xoxo!

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  24. In between the mess, I have to say that I really like the chairs on your front porch. Can you let me know where you got them?

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    1. Thank you Julia! They are from Pottery Barn a few years ago.

      xo!

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  25. Thanks for showing that life can be messy!

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  26. Glad we're not the only ones with messy piles! ;) This made me think of a funny quote from Dog With A Blog (I have a 9-year-old who loves that show). Anyway, the mom says something like, "Cleaning out the garage will bring peace to your marriage," (spoken so that garage rhymes with marriage). Anyway... it always makes me laugh. :)

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    1. Haha! I believe it could be true! :) I know that we have gone back and forth on our visions for the space quite a few times, and it feels amazing when we finally settle and find compromises we are both excited about. xoxo!

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  27. Love this post and love you -- as usual! Our house (probably every house?) is just like this... some rooms you want to show off when they are clean, others you shut the door on and hope to one day get to. Good luck with your garage - you are the queen of organization and I have every faith in you! :D ;) <3

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  28. Just love the vanity, where did you get it?

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    1. Thank you! The vanity is from Lowes. :)

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  29. Honestly, this is one of the best posts that I have read from you in a while. It's good to see that you are indeed human too lol !!! Feel so much better about my "before" situations and inspired to get going on the "afters."

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  30. "just ran around the Internet in my undies" >> best line ever. I like it best when bloggers 'keep it real'! Thanks Jen!

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  31. I LOVE your practical storage overhauls, and am very excited to see what you come up with for your garage space (and other storage areas too)! I love to see how changing one space affects another in your house, based on your current needs.
    I've been working for YEARS on organizing my garage. I make some progress, then get stuck again. It's finally looking the best it's had since we've moved in - with defined "zones" for everything. Still have a bit of work to do to finish purging/organizing, and then trying to come up with inspiration to "make it look pretty". I'm definitely looking to your for some more inspiration here - no pressure! haha.

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  32. I'm a broken record here, but these posts are the best! I love the epic before & afters like anyone else but when blogs are just full of one after another, it starts to feel unattainable instead of inspiring. I love seeing the process and hearing how you and the hubs come to decisions, especially when you don't start off eye to eye....I think a lot of us can relate to that! So yes, yay for this post! And yay for staying true to real life and not posting just to post. I know this garage will be pure awesome when it's done!

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  33. Jen, I absolutely love those chairs on your front porch! Where did you get them? Thanks!

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  34. I'm a little late to the party here, but I really wanted to tell you that I love these kinds of posts. Your blog is my favorite because I can count on it to have real content without filler or endless sponsored posts. I'm excited to see what you have in store for all of these upcoming projects!

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  35. Thanks for getting real and sharing your "messes" with us. It makes me see that I'm not the only one with messes and unfinished projects :) It also inspires and motivates me to tackle some of the projects at our house that have been left unfinished for so long. Can't wait to see progress and you start on your projects!

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  36. This sounds entirely nutters, but your messy areas make me feel better today LOL! Only because I have about 20 projects ongoing in my house...some I'm DIYing, some the hubs is working on and some we have workmen working on. My house is a DISASTER and I'm having a graduation party on Saturday for over 75 people & everything has to be DONE OMG. So your messes and ongoing projects made me feel a wee bit better to know someone else is dealing with the stress & mess of home organization & DIY projects LOL. Little consolation for you I know, but thanks for helping me de-stress just for a few mins this morning ;)

    hugz,
    Suzanne

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  37. Great to see you too can be messy thanks for keeping it real. Where do you get your she'd?

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    1. Hi Laura,

      We purchased it a few years ago at Home Depot. We painted the exterior ourselves to save a little extra money so that is always something to consider when pricing out options. xo!

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  38. I feel like we are kind of in the same situation. Tackling one project leads to another to another. More organizing to make it happen. I know the end will be worth it but boy is it a lot of work.

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  39. I feel late to the party, but gotta say wow! After living in a mobile home (NO garage or sheds=creative inside storage) I am finally moving into my own home and the garage is a clean slate to glean all of your fab ideas and implement BEFORE it needs a redo! I'm a labeler too, so now I'm on a bucket hunt! Normally, I don't like those wire shelves, but now rethinking because they do look cleaner and yes, dust resistant. Thanks for sharing your real world Jen!

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