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Let’s Talk About the Garage!

You want to hear something crazy? We still don’t have our kitchen door. It’s as if this door doesn’t exist at all! Since that frustrating discovery that the first back ordered door wasn’t correct (I can’t even), we’ve been waiting for the second back ordered door for 13 weeks (and counting). We’re between a rock and a hard place – do we say “never mind!” and move on, or do we keep waiting because we’ve been waiting for so long?

Scott and I call this Waiting for the Bus.

You know that feeling when you’re at the bus stop, and you pull out your phone to kill time on Instagram for a few minutes? But 30 minutes later, the bus hasn’t yet arrived? At first, you didn’t mind because you had time to spare, but now, you’re officially going to be late for work. You start to map out alternate routes in your head and you ask yourself, should I just start walking? But then you think, except what if the bus comes right when I leave? And then I’m in-between stops and I miss it? More time passes, and you actually get angry because you realize you could have walked to work faster than any stupid bus could drive you, but how were you to know that this would be the day the bus never comes? Not to mention, you’ve already put in so much time playing the Waiting game! Then you curse the city transport system and just as you turn to leave, three buses rolls up. (All totally packed, by the way.)

Right now, we’re Waiting for the Bus. Do we stay? Do we leave? While we grumble and weigh our options, we’ve – at the very least! – decided to room hop. During this absurd wait, we’ve finished the workshop, laid out plans for the One Tail house and now, we’re pushing on to the next – the garage!


If we thought our workshop was bad to start, the garage takes the cake. (Well, if you don’t consider our bedroom or bathroom. Come to think of it, let’s not start comparing at all!) The garage is where all of the heavy lifting takes place. It’s where the table saw gets the most use, and it’s where we piled (and piled!) old studs and decent scrap wood. It’s also where overflow moving boxes were stored and never unpacked, and it’s where we stashed the things we weren’t ready to part with or simply had no good place for – aquarium supplies, kitty carriers and car parts.

The fact that our house has a garage at all was a major selling point for us, but for the past almost-two-years, we haven’t been very kind to it. There was one system in place, and that’s the cabinets you see in the first photo above. Those cabinets came out of the second floor unit of our home, before we turned it into our master bedroom. We salvaged the few that weren’t terrible, and at the very least, we figured they’d make a great makeshift work area.

Over the weekend, we put a few more systems in place, starting with lumber storage! We used this tutorial as our guide, but to be honest, we sort of winged it. Using 18″ lengths of 1x4s and wedges of 2x4s (from the scrap pile itself), we pulled together a horizontal racking system for our salvageable wood pile:


For our larger scraps – think: plywood and MDF sheets – we built a 3′ tall bin using a 2×8 for the bottom, 2x12s for the sides and scrap 2x2s for the front straps. The exposed studs on our garage walls made everything super simple, allowing us to use nothing but 2.5″ wood screws for both storage racks:


While we were on a roll, we dug through EV-ER-Y-THING else in the entire garage! We opened boxes, reorganized bins and pulled every last can of bug spray and weed killer out of those cabinets. Everything was sorted into piles – keep, donate, yard sale (!) – and we were absolutely ruthless. I’d like to thank my new favorite book for that mindset, but luckily, Scott was game. (We’d say, does this spark joy? No? It’s gone!) After two days of oddly fun and satisfying work (beer helps), we found the garage floor! Call me crazy, but I’d say we could even park a car in here.


We have stupidly huge plans for this garage (the majority of our to-dos are meatier than the words themselves), and while we are feeling wildly optimistic, we’ll admit that this list is long:

Fix the leaky roof
Lumber storage
Bike Storage
Open metal shelving for bins + occasional use items
Wall treatment for cabinet wall (close up exposed studs)
Paint everything – no more bare plywood!
Reconfigure and paint cabinets
Install a countertop (that’s not a piece of flimsy wood)
Epoxy/paint the un-level/cracked garage floor
Wall of hooks/hanging storage
New side door
Paint exterior trim
Re-caulk exterior siding
New garage door!

When I would feel overwhelmed at my old desk job, my ex-boss (hi, Keith!) used to say: How do you eat a whale? One bite at a time. Let’s dig in.

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  • Sarah Z5.27.15 - 10:02 AM

    Oh man, even before I read that you and Scott call this “waiting for the bus” I said to myself, it’s just like waiting for the bus! I used to live in Chicago and I SO TOTALLY know that feeling. Ugh. Makes me frustrated just thinking about it! Good for you, though, for distracting yourself and being productive with the garage. Looks so much better already!ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.27.15 - 10:14 AM

      Isn’t that feeling so obnoxious?! It can totally make or break your day. Stupid bus!ReplyCancel

  • Jessica5.27.15 - 10:42 AM

    Shy suggestion: insulating and drywalling our garage was one of the best decisions we ever made. We did the ceiling as well, and mudded and taped and painted everything, too. We live in a similar climate as you, and it made such a nice difference to be able to set up saws and tools and work out there in the cold winter months without freezing to death. We could set up a heater and the insulation kept us nice and warm. Even after the work on our house was complete, we could do projects out there year round, like build furniture etc.ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.27.15 - 11:07 AM

      That’s a GREAT suggestion, and we did toss that idea around. Our only hesitation is that we’d rather spend money on big ticket items – like our broken garage door and flimsy exterior door… but, honestly, nothing is out of the question just yet.ReplyCancel

  • Liz5.27.15 - 11:04 AM

    Can’t wait to see the progress. My husband and I just started work on our garage and it’s in a very similar state. Dying to see how you paint the inside – that’s our plan too. We didn’t want to spend the time or money putting up drywall. We also live in Austin, Texas; so cold winters had no effect on our decision.ReplyCancel

  • cully5.27.15 - 11:27 AM

    looks like we’re on similar timelines as far as the garage goes. except we fixed the leaky roof first. It just took 2 9hr days with a 4hr day removing and patching over a leaking skylight. Tore it down to wood, and put on a fresh layer. now to tear out the drywalled room that the skylight was leaking into and make it our bike room.ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.27.15 - 11:39 AM

      Nice! You guys should probably just buy another house for all your bikes though. So many.ReplyCancel

  • Joy5.27.15 - 2:44 PM

    Ugh, the sunken cost of waiting for the bus. My husband and I use this phrase as well. Usually we’re happier after finding an alternate route. I love the new systems you put up in the garage, and can’t wait to see where you take the space–I just know you’re going to do something really cool and clever with the bikes and hanging storage!ReplyCancel

  • The Kentucky Gent5.27.15 - 3:10 PM

    Your’e already off to a good start! It’s amazing how cleaning up a little clutter can seriously save a space so much.

    Also – I’m a huge fan of that quote at the end. Like.. a lot. Thanks for sharing!

    Josh – The Kentucky Gent

  • Katie B RN5.27.15 - 10:22 PM

    My wonderful sister introduced me to you blog and raves about your home DIY. I am so inspired and totally plan with to do lists for each room too! On the west coast our 1968 home is young comparable to east coast homes but it does need a lot of work, I do interior and my husband does landscaping and exterior stuff. I will totally be looking back through prior posts for ideas for our home:) My next project is floating shelves in the kitchen!ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.28.15 - 8:41 AM

      Ooh, I like your division of labor! So happy you found us, and good luck on those floating shelves! You can never really have too many shelves, right?ReplyCancel

  • Heather MacFeather5.28.15 - 12:32 AM

    I have Garage envy. My workshop is a converted garage but there are no rafters for suspending things nor is the framing exposed to allow me to do cool things like your lumber storage trick.

    But the elephant saying. I’ve now heard it twice in my life and the first time was on Tuesday. How crazy is that?ReplyCancel

    • Kim5.28.15 - 8:40 AM

      Uh-oh… hopefully it’s not a sign that there’s a big elephant or whale in your future?!ReplyCancel

  • Kathy6.1.15 - 3:52 PM

    Wow! Such an improvement…you go girl (and guy). Doesn’t it feel so, so good?ReplyCancel

  • Sarah E. Velasquez6.11.15 - 12:58 PM

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time! I recently finished up two big projects and my husband is insisting I get the wood out of the yard so it doesn’t look so trashy. I was considering what to do with it, and trying to come up with a better storage idea, and now I am inspired! Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Meg6.17.16 - 8:42 AM

    How is the lumber storage holding up? We were thinking of doing something similar and installing common boards on top for shelving on the cheap. It looks like the racks hold a lot of weight. Are you happy with them?ReplyCancel

    • Kim6.17.16 - 8:47 AM

      SO well. Our piles have grown about 3 times since these photos were taken, and we only wish we would have made these brackets sooner! Unless you’re planning on storing really short pieces that wouldn’t reach from stud to stud, I don’t think common boards on top are even necessary. The brackets are screwed right into the studs, and you can’t get much sturdier than that.

      Good luck with your plans! I know you’ll love the brackets just as much as we do!ReplyCancel

      • Meg6.17.16 - 10:30 AM

        Great! I guess I know what I’m doing this weekend; your time has come garage dumping ground. Thanks for the inspiration.ReplyCancel

  • […] Brick Home had put some super impressive work into their own detached garage, including adding these simple and strong wood brackets for storing excess lumber. Their garage is what garage dreams are made of. “Great!” I […]ReplyCancel

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We’re Kim + Scott, Chicago based content creators behind the Home + Lifestyle brand Yellow Brick Home.

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