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We Tackled Our Non-Functional Garage and These Are Our Ideas To Maximize It


Hi guys, Brian here. I’m writing this post because we found out yesterday that Emily is allergic to pollen. Like, suuuuper allergic. Like, looking at her you’d think she’d watched “The Notebook” and the opening sequence from “Up” back to back. Her poor little lash-less eyes are so red and watery that she can barely see. Also she’s been so congested at night that she can’t sleep. So last night she took something to knock herself out, and she’s still out as I write this, which is 7:39 am on Friday. That’s crazy for Emily, she’s usually up at 5:30 writing posts for the blog. So now I’m up early writing for the blog. I’ll keep you posted on when she wakes up… Hopefully, she goes for a while, she needs it.

Let’s start with a video so you can get the full scale and get Emily right before the pollen fully attacked (just wait for the ad to play).

OK. I’m back. The garage. This has a special significance for me because there’s something innate in men to have a squared away garage. I think it’s because the garage is the one room in the house (or out of the house I guess) where function matters more than form. It’s kind of the only place where I can win some design battles. In a garage, you’re not trying to figure out which pouf would offset the muted tones of a chaise lounge, you’re trying to figure out how many rakes can we fit on that wall. And that’s my kind of design.

The problem is, I’m lacking motivation to do things right now, which I think is a symptom of the whole quarantine thing. After home-schooling the kids in the morning, I find myself acting like an old British man, mumbling incoherently and stumbling around the house in a daze until cocktail hour.

But Emily, pre-allergies, is ever-motivated and kept threatened to do the garage herself until I acquiesced. So off to the garage we went!

Our garage here at the Mountain House is pretty small and has not been organized in about a year. Plus it was the storage site for the reader event we threw and photoshoots we did last year, so there’s a lot that needs to be sorted and donated or driven back to LA.

Here’s Emily showing off the space before her face got attacked by pollen.

As you can see, we never spent a lot of time thinking about the organization of this space. Emily and I are both kind of “I’ll just put this here and deal with it later” people, which isn’t a good combination when it comes to garages. We’ve got a shelving unit up, but it’s not being used very well. And we’ve got lots of random stuff near the shelves, but we just didn’t make it to the final step of putting them on the shelves, which is hilarious. Plus we have a bunch of stuff we need to find new homes for (not in our home) like the rugs, and some chairs, and some lampshades. We have a LOT of random lampshades. Anyone else have that problem?

BTW, it’s 8:01 am, and still no Emily. It’s getting to that point where I might go check to see if she’s still breathing.

So after Emily got the old British drunk to focus on the garage, we figured out some specific things that we needed: storage for our tools and yard stuff, space for our bikes, an area that we can rotate for seasonal things like beach stuff in summer and sled stuff in winter, a redesign of the shelving, and of course space enough to park my 6 seat “Ferrari” golf cart, which I will still defend as one of the best craigslist finds any human has ever made.

I mean the best, right?? Ok moving along…

It should be noted that there originally wasn’t access to the garage from inside the house so we put in that little stairway (it has to be that big for code, but we could certainly reduce its footprint). We love the access and we use it all the time but it does mean that we will never be able to put an actual car in here. But honestly, it’s so small that we don’t know if we would have been able to fit our big cars anyway. So yes, we need to be able to put the Ferrari in there, but that’s about it.

Here are more pics of the whole original mess:

We have a lot of Christmas stuff in those bins, which takes up a lot of space. We need to find a new spot for it though because it’s silly that something we only use for two months is dictating so much space for the whole year.

First Round of Organization

After everything was removed and cleaned it was much easier to see what might be possible in there. We gave some stuff to some neighbors up here, we drove some stuff back to LA, we relocated some stuff, and we learned that we had a lot of broken things that had to go in the trash.

Emily just came out of the bedroom, it’s 8:11 am. I don’t think she’s slept in that late since college. She says she’s feeling better today.

So here are some decisions we still need to make:

We need shelving, but could certainly make it nicer than that. And while we love that staircase do we want to make it nicer than that? Paint the janky railing? Like I said, we could have made it just three steps down without the railing but not legally, so we put in this big guy. We aren’t terribly motivated to demo it out and likely will just work with it for now.

The big black fridge came out of the kitchen during the remodel, and we were using it for secondary food storage, until someone accidentally unplugged it before we left for a few months. When we came back and made the mistake of cracking the door open, we were slapped with the most gag-inducing putrid smell and discovered a moldy sludge that had covered all the surfaces. We closed it back up and there it sits like the arc of the covenant, waiting to melt someone else’s face off. We tried disinfecting it, but it may be a lost cause. We need to make a call on this one. Like how much do we REALLY need a garage fridge??

Emily doesn’t think we need a garage fridge, because apparently she’s ok with pulling out 12 pounds of food to access the thing she wants in the back of our kitchen fridge. She says we’re doing fine without it now, but I’m less optimistic. Maybe things will change in a bit, but right now we are doing huge grocery shops to lessen the frequency of shopping, which means that every time we open the fridge it’s like that cliché scene in every comedy movie where the guy opens the closet full of stuff and everything falls on top of him, capped by a late bowling ball to the head. That’s our fridge, but it’s a jar of bread and butter pickles that rolls out last.

I also think a garage fridge is a perfect pace for beverages, which take up a bunch of room. And our kids aren’t old enough yet to try to steal adult beverages out of the garage fridge, so we’re good right? I mean, once they turn 13, I’ll put a lock on it, like my friend Alan’s dad should have. But for now, we’re good. What do you guys think? Fridge or no fridge?

I got a big-brimmed hat at the hardware store and I’m now super into yard work. I bagged 17 contractor bags of oak leaves last week and still have more to do, so I obviously need some space for my tools.

We have this little nook that is a covered space for storage if need be (and another entrance into the garage), we may put the bikes in here if we can figure out how to get them in there and still have space to get into the garage from the side yard. It took hours for us to clean and it wasn’t pretty. It was full of so much extra tile, leaves, random paint cans, our friend’s kayaks we just inherited, and empty gross Pepsi bottles left over from the construction crew (from two years ago). We feel very accomplished that it looks like this now:

We actually found some unused space up in the attic that we stuffed all the Christmas and winter stuff in, which was super helpful. The attic entrance is across from the kids’ play area, and the other storage space we have is behind a hidden door that goes to the guts of the house.

What’s Now?

We still have to figure out things like the shelving and the fridge. We also are going to find a way to hang the bikes because they take up an abnormal amount of space. Also, the ceilings are nice and high, so we’re trying to figure out if there’s a way to hang some stuff up there for storage.

The Solutions

We need some tool storage but I don’t know if we really need anything fancy. It seems like at least considering something like this (below) would be nice and may make me feel more manly. Like whenever I have to replace a battery in a kid’s toy I can make a big deal out of folding out my workbench and feel like a handy guy.

image source

I’m also worried that I would leave all my tools on the table instead of hanging them up in their right place. I think I may need a big box to throw them in. I know, I’m lazy, but it’s folly to think that I’m going to change.

This person’s garage is dreamy.

design and photo by simply organized

I feel like this is good inspo for storage. The only problem for us is that the space between the wall and that big staircase is pretty narrow so I don’t think we could hang bikes and pull the golf cart in…. a sentence I never imagined that I would ever write. Sorry, I know these are all champagne “problems” but hey, we’re writing what we’re actually going through up here.

But I really like how there’s two rows of storage happening, the shelf for bins and underneath for hanging things that get used often. These are some good broom and rake storage options that could work:

1. LETMY Broom Holder Wall Mounted | 2. Corner Double Tool Rack | 3. Koova Wall Mount Garden and Garage Tool Organizer | 4. Deluxe Tool Tower | 5. Goowin Broom Holder | 6. Stalwart Rolling Garden

We thought about getting a small outdoor shed to house things like rakes and such, but I think it makes more sense to keep everything contained to the garage. Plus it’s been impossible to find a shed that has gotten Emily’s approval.

image source

We got into mountain biking up here, and Charlie is finally up and running on a peddle bike, so we definitely will be using them a lot. Right now, I think mine is laying in a pile of leaves on one side of the house while Emily’s and Charlie’s are sprawled out around a tree on the other side. That can’t keep happening, our neighbors must think that we’ve been raptured mid-bike-ride. So we will try one of these. Have you guys used any that you recommend?

1. TORACK Bike Rack Garage | 2. 6-Bike Storage Rack 2.0 | 3. Elfa Utility Vertical Bike Hook | 4. Copenhagen Wall Mount Bike Rack | 5. Delta Cycle Leonardo Da Vinci Single Bike Storage| 6. Bike Wall Mount

And while we’ve found a way to clear out most of our bins, I’m sure we’ll accumulate more, so we’ll need a good vertical storage system. I’d love to say I could build one, but I’d also love to say that I can do a standing jump over a car or that I can run faster than a gazelle. I’m just not that handy y’all.

design and photo by simply organized | design and photo by modern builds

Here are some solutions we are considering…

1. Platinum Elfa Utility Basement Storage | 2. Bror | 3. Matias the Heavy Duty Storage System Ceiling Mounted Rack | 4. Shelf Steel Freestanding Storage Cabinet | 5. Chrome-Finished Tower Shelving | 6. LEXIMOUNTS WR24B Storage Rack

Lord knows we go through a lot of storage here in Emily Hendersonland, and we’ve used lots of types of bins. Here are my tips – they can’t be hard plastic because they break, they have to have a good seal, preferably not the clip handle because those break, they should have good grips for when you move them a hundred times, and they should be stackable.

1. Tough Storage Bin | 2. Brute Tote Storage Container | 3. Heavy Duty 54 Gal. Storage Bin

So that’s where we are with the garage so far. We’ve got a long way to go, but it’s looking much better in there, plus we’ve kept it pretty clean since the organizing day. We’ll see how long that lasts. But at least for now, the garage is no longer a place to just dump stuff and go, it’s clean and organized and we can see the potential. Or at least I can see the potential, Emily may not be able to see much until spring is over. Stupid pollen.

Fin Mark


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No, you don’t need a garage refrigerator. And raptured mid bike ride… woke my husband up by laughing at 3:00 a.m.


Good, practical post Brian! Poor Emily! Get well soon honeybun. One word: ZYRTEC. You guys sure it’s not a reaction to all the dust, mold, mildew, stuff rummaged through during the garage cleaning?? Now, Brian, we’ve lived your conundrum andwe won! It’s quite the challenge and here’s what we learned: Go for BIG, continuous storage with adjustable shelves, rather than separate smaller ones. Hang bikes up high or the still dominate the available space. Only have CLEAR storage boxes you can see through, coz really … you’re not going to label or look at labels on containers. You need to see what’s in there. Kayaks can be housed on overhead plank-type shelves. If you have a pull out table/work bench you’ll use it as needed, but won’t just put crap on it as you walk past as long as you DO fold it up when ypur masterful project is complete. If you have it in the way of where the golf cart goes, then you’ll be motivated to fold it back up when you’re done. That storage nook is gold! Put a lockable gate/door on it and use IT as your garden tool shed. The tools will be fine, just… Read more »


This comment is amazing! Screenshot it for my own personal use in the future, thanks Rusty!


Oh, so glad you found it useful. It took more time figuring it out, measuring a trillion times and drawing it up on paper.
The purchases were standard items, not expensive, just boring hardware staples.
Good luck with your project, Beth.


Bingo! You nailed it (pardon the pun?!) with the suggestion to make that storage nook into a proper shed space. A solid, locking gate would keep out the elements and give them a huge space to work with. Racks and hooks along the long wall opposite the garage door would give all the gardening tools a space to live, would be closer to the outdoors, and keep the garage cleaner, too. LOVE your idea so much. Here’s to hoping they run with it! 😀




Yes to the garage refrigerator – our old one is in our admittedly much larger 3 car detached garage and is used for storing adult beverages, water, and frozen foods that we don’t have room for in the kitchen fridge (we also have a small deep freezer – we’re in SE Texas so we have to prepare for hurricanes, insane flooding etc). The Rubbermaid Fast Track system works fairly well but what I really love for organizing garden tools is the Everbilt Heavy Duty Vinly Coated Flip-Up Tool Holder in Gray from Home Depot. We have multiples of our tools and are able to stack them all up much higher on the wall using this hook as well as hanging leaf blowers, hedge trimmers etc from it. Since they have to be mounted to a stud we have smaller hooks mounted lower to hold the other random garden tools and brooms etc we use and make the most of the space on the wall. The Husky steel shelving units from Home Depot work great and the shelves can be moved around as needed if you need to rearrange things to fit new items in the future. Peg boards sound great… Read more »


Second the Home Depot Husky shelving. That’s what we have in our basement. Wears well and easy to assemble. Looks less busy than the wire shelving.


Yes to garage fridge. We’re mid pandemic, it’s a necessity. Put a box or five of baking soda in it or charcoal. Also this is what you need for bikes.


“It’s kind of the only place where I can win some design battles.” Did my husband write this? I love the Brian guest post, Brian you’re funny and although these may be champagne problems, I got a big laugh from this post and I needed that more than I needed champagne!

Seems like you have a lot of refrigeration space in kitchen with the drawers and the refrigerator. I would get rid of the fridge and use the wall space to hang bikes. We have friends who scored a few dorm refrigerators from Craigslist and made them their garage beverage refrigerator. They take up hardly any space and work great! We have two workbenches eith drawers for tools etc in our garage that we put on wheels and honestly it was the best decision ever. The wheels lock and it means that we can pull them outside to paint or do whatever! They are two separate units so we appreciate configuring them into a long bench or an L or like saw horses. Good luck!


This seems logical but I read somewhere that dorm refrigerators use as much electricity as a traditional refrigerator.


Oh! Didn’t know that, if that’s the case, don’t do it! Thanks for the info.


Unplug it if you are going to be gone for long – be sure there’s no perishables in it first!


Omg a Ferrari golf cart.

Also, the tips in the comments are fantastic!

I think I’d hang on to the fridge until the apocalypse is over, and then consider replacing it with some more shelves or something. But obviously you have to clean it! Like, that needs to happen regardless, unless you were planning to trash a perfectly functional fridge.

For me, storing things in Marie Kondo’s categories has made all the difference in items making it to their correct homes. Especially for those things that don’t obviously go somewhere- a hammer obviously goes with the screwdrivers, but there are lots of less-obvious things and it’s great to have a system to fall back on.

Good luck! I hope y’all end up with magazine-worthy storage for us to drool over 😉 (Oh, do your kitchen organizing people do garages too?)


100% second fridge is crucial at a big place for entertaining like that (all.the.drinks.) in my opinion 🙂

Can’t wait to see what you do, we are about to tackle the same problem and garage size but swap the the Ferrari for two motorcycles!


Yes to the garage fridge if you’re living there regularly or for drinks. But maybe an apartment sized one, not that big.

Brian Henderson, I appreciate hearing your voice on here. I’m cracking up. Drunk British guy… raptured mid-bike-ride…

More of this!

Karen T.

Hi, I’m married to a competitive cyclist/professional cycling coach and our garage houses 13 bikes year round. My tip is that you need a bike stand (google 6 Bike Floor Stand – Swagman Park It 6) for easy access and streamlined storage during the biking months. The floor stand is easy for you/your kids to pull their bikes in and out of when they need them. Wall mounts aren’t sensible for little kids or even teens–their bikes will inevitably just be thrown on the ground. For the winter months, we utilize overhead pulley (some electric, some manual) mounts to store the kid’s bikes and any bikes not in the hubby’s active rotation.

Go Brian and feel better, Emily!!


I don’t think there’s the floor space for a floor or wall bike stand x4 bikes. They need overhead, high bike storage.


I agree that you need floor storage for bikes when you’re there. You want kids to be able to go out and ride their bikes whenever they want (aka when they start driving you bonkers and you send them out to play for a minute of peace and quiet.) If the bikes are hanging up high, the kids can’t ride them without your help, defeating the whole purpose. Then when snow comes and/or you head back to LA, you can hang them for long-term storage.

Also, yes to a garage refrigerator.

And for Emily, I empathize, as someone who is, as my husband likes to say, allergic to the earth. I recently added Flonase Sensimist on top of my antihistamine, an I have to say, it’s been kind of amazing. I’ve been especially impressed with how well it handles eye symptoms, since it doesn’t seem like that should be a nose spray’s forte, but I no longer want to claw my eyes out, so I’m calling it a win. Good luck, Emily!


Yes, you need a garage fridge. We had large metal covered with vinyl utility hooks from which we could hang bikes from the ceiling by one tire.


Definitely recommend a jumbo dorm size garage refrigerator!

We hang our bikes on the ceiling via hooks with a pulley system.

We also use ceiling-mounted hanging storage shelves for all holiday decor (except the tree).


For the fridge, there are two things that might help with the smells:
1. see if there’s a drip pan underneath that caught any of the sludge. You may need to access it from the back.
2. Try putting in bowls of activated charcoal – it’s a much better odor absorber than baking soda. You can get it on Amazon but also at many hardware stores and pet stores. A spray of Ozium might help as well.


Unadulterated BLEACH. CDC has quantities of bleach to water that exterminates everything … yaaaas … even Coronavirus!
Don’t believe me? Google it at CDC.


Agree with this 100%. We were out of town when super storm sandy hit, so we came home much later than planned to a fridge that had been festering for a LONG time. The charcoal worked inside the fridge, but our kitchen continued to smell. We didn’t realize there was a pan under the fridge… and while we were gone, sludge had drained into it. Critters also found this sludge to be appealing. (Beyond gross. I’m getting nauseous just thinking about it.) But it can be fixed.

Move the hanging bikes to the stair side of the garage— they will fit in that book and not encroach on the Ferrari storage… all shelves and hook on the other side….
And yes to the garage fridge. Someday we’ll be able to have guests again and then the extra fridge is clutch.


Bamboo Charcoal bags will get the stink out of that fridge. You can find them on Amazon. Stick a bunch in the fridge and bring it back to useful life.
Lampshades either need to go back to L.A. or in the attic. In the garage, you’re just asking them to get damaged.
Garage should hold tools, bikes, stuff in clear bins (and label that bin with a marker) and the coolest golf cart ever.

Megan Lec

I’d suggest a bike rack that hangs the bike by its frame and not by the tires. Puts less pressure on the bike especially for long term storage (such as over the winter season.) This has the added benefit of the bike doesn’t come out into the garage though takes some considerable wall “real estate.” The previous owners of our home had installed shelving systems where you can easily move shelves up and down and this is a dream! Highly recommend. I also second the earlier comment to use clear storage bins. I’m thinking of gifting my husband some serious garage storage solutions for his birthday later this month. With all this quarantine time at home it could make for a fun weekend where he can hide away in the garage and we get organized out of it!


If I had a garage, I would put a second refrigerator/freezer in it. Seems obviously useful. And yes, it’s the dang drinks that are taking up all the space in my fridge!!


These pictures could be of our garage! The layout is the same, the weird staircase and the window are in the same spot. I will be taking notes and looking forward to how you guys do it. Can’t wait! I’m problem solving by proxy.


And re: garage fridge. Growing up, I thought it was the height of luxury when a family had a garage fridge. Serious goals!


Glad to see so many mentions of charcoal bags – I second those for the fridge smell problem (although first, do a super wipe down/disinfect inside of it).

For bins, we have those home depot ones with the yellow top. I love them because they come in SO many sizes (the tiny ones are adorable). We have labels on the end that can be written on, or labeled over as things change in them. One thing to note is the lids go in to the bin slightly, so you can’t pile things inside the bin to be level with the top and still have the lid fit. HOWEVER, this means they stack SO well and are SO sturdy when piled one on top of the other. You don’t have to worry about a leaning tower or a little bump sending the whole thing tipping over.

Take your time and really think about use/sorting through what you have and want to store in the garage. That will help you put in a system that really works versus just organizing what’s there. Sounds like you’re already on track!

Bring on more Brian content!!


Great article. No to the garage fridge, this is your second house, it’s just an excuse to buy and store stuff that you don’t really need. I’ll be looking forward to the solutions.


How old is that fridge? Large, older fridges can be massive electricity hogs so you might want to check it’s energy usage with one of those monitors. I’m a fan of the garage fridge, but not if it’s going to spike your energy usage. A smaller one would work great for beverages.

My husband and I have a small garage we’re trying to organize so I look forward to seeing how this shakes out.


I’m team-keep-a-fridge our there. We use for beverages and, during this pandemic, extra groceries. We keep
frozen food for teens in garage fridge/freezer so they aren’t standing and gazing for long time in our open full-size freezer. We keep a very small horizontal tool bench to reduce temptation of stacking crap on it. For tool storage some is on a pegboard and rest in one of those metal rolling tool stations with drawers… like mechanics use. Key is to label the drawers. Kids are terrible about putting bikes away. Make the storage simple. Maybe a bike rack outside during summer. I use labeled Rubbermaid Tough Tote bins. They don’t crack easily in fact, over 39 years, I can’t recall any cracking. I would recommend industrial shelving and open grid to reduce dust. A garage gets dusty.


Agree with labeling the drawers. Our tool chest drawers have labels on magnet strips so we can move them around if we get more tools in those drawers than what we’d originally had on the label.


As a Hurricane Katrina kid, I can promise you that you’ll never get that smell out of your fridge (or your brain). Best to ditch it for the sake of your sanity and sense of smell. But I do endorse other readers’ suggestions for a dorm fridge for adult bevies!


We got a dorm sized fridge for the beverage overflow and basic shelves from Costco. Our garden tool storage is a long board with nails hammered into it and a pegboard for the smaller items. Simple, basic, cost-effective and easy to change. I like having the extra fridge, but the big one you have takes up too much space.

Kallie Elder

Yes! A garage fridge is absolutely necessary. Especially as your kids get older…and you have to buy all your groceries in bulk from Costco. Even if you just put drinks in it, so nice. We can buy the big case of Whitclaw, and Budlight! Score. Plus, kids can grab drinks when they are outside playing without going inside…because drinking out of the water hose is so 20th century.

So I frigging love these pandemic posts. Seeing and hearing the realities of my life in your life and so comforting. IF Emily Henderson’s garage looks like mine and has had a rotting meat coffin fridge, then maybe I can breathe out a bit of attempted perfection.

LOL, I just nearly spit my tea reading
” EH…has had a rotting meat coffin fridge …” Thanks for that 🙂




Great article and super helpful comments!
Brian you’re hilarious. Would love a weekly Brian feature.
Also I don’t often bother watching little videos that bloggers make but I always watch yours Emily because 1) You are just such a delightful person and 2) They are put together very well – funny and entertaining!
Hope you feel better soon Emily!


I just did my parents’ garage and it’s glorious now. I recommend the hooks on a horizontal rack for bikes, but not the horizontal bar for rakes/brooms/etc. Use individual u-shaped hooks so you can stagger the heads. Like, the rake hangs a foot or so higher than the broom so they can be closer together because they overlap. Also because it’s just holding one thing, you can use an anchor instead of a stud so you can further stagger them. For that reason, get one that uses a screw through a hole and not one with the screw attached. I also found the longer brackets are very handy for hoses, extension cords, etc.


We had a similar problem with fridge. After I scrubbed it out with hot water and dish soap—with a scouring pad and toothbrush, I cleaned it with Clorox and water. Smells are gone.


NO garage fridge — I thought your kitchen had an extra wine/beverage fridge or something? or was that the Portland house?

And did Emily not have allergies in LA? Are there not enough plants in LA to get allergies from???


1) You need a fridge in garage so you can access drinks and food without trudging your grungy self through the house in search of nourishment… plus extra storage for parties, caterer can just pull in the van and unload.
2) That Ferrari golf cart…I covet.
3) I have MORE lampshades, its an affliction.
4) Thank you for not being perfect.


Yes to the extra fridge. My in-laws offered theirs when they remodeled and I said no because we were in the middle of our own basement remodel (and I’ve been dealing with my husband’s collecting proclivity and lack of storage). I look back and wished that I had taken it. Their neighbor Sandy was lucky enough to receive it. We have an out-building (husband’s pal calls it the dead guy shack only because he is jealous he doesn’t have an out-building) and we put a lot of time and energy into organizing it and adding shelving. The most important thing we learned was not to allow anything to sit on the floor. That “rule” has kept the place in great order. We are struggling to figure out the best solution for our bikes. I will keep checking to see what you devise.
Love the Ferrari. There will always be purchases that I question my husband’s sanity and taste but it’s called a partnership after all. By the way, we have 2 Deadpool heads that are clever knife blocks compliments of my husband’s decor contribution – anyone want one 😂😂😬


Great Post Brian,
Realistic…with us unmotivated at the moment, funny, and inspiring what a little thought and a few days worth of effort can do. thanks!
PS good on you taking the reins, to let Emily rest up.


I suggest you get a side mounted ( jack shafted ) garage door opener vs. old ceiling style. I think it would work with your style of door. This opens your ceiling for storage racks- perfect for rarely used storage like Christmas decorations. Mount overhead utility gladiator racks like the Matais or build a storage loft with pull down ladder because it looks like you have a pitched roof. A hip level deep freezer and/or refrigerator allows for storage built above them. Also, you access a freezer from the top and not the front, so you do not need as much room in front of it as you would an extra refrigerator. And, would they be better located between the garage door and steps? It would allow you to store house items that you could reach from the top of the stairs. What is it like to maneuver around the garage when the “Ferrari” is parked in the garage with a new storage layout. If no outlet in that location, would it be hard to add. Or, do you need to pull out the “Ferrari” every time you need to access something in that location. Container Store’s Garage Elfa system… Read more »


Yes, a garage frig is necessary for a vaca home – maybe ditch the stinky one and get a smaller one. Your house will stay soooo much cleaner if people are trained to grab a drink from the garage frig. A second frig also comes in handy when you’re prepping a lot of food for company. Our second frig is in the basement and we use it all the time – this for a family of two! What a fun project for you – I mean it!


In terms of a folding workbench solution, have you thought about maybe hacking the Ikea IVAR Storage Unit with a Foldable Table to your liking? And then you could even add in Ikea SKADIS pegboards or non-Ikea pegboards? And then when you need some extra sturdiness, you could keep some mini folding workbenches put away on the IVAR shelving? (Maybe like this Black+Decker one?

PS Not sponsored, I swear! I just like online shopping and thinking of compact solutions! 🙂


Brian, I am cracking up over here!! Thank you for the hilarious content! (I may have begged Emily for a similar post about 3 or 4 years ago relative to mounds and mounds of gear to store and living in the mountains with no chic solutions.) Very much looking forward to the outcome. The pandemic brought on a complete overhaul of our garage too! With 12 bikes to store ourselves, we keep waffling between vertical and overhead storage, but then there are 6 pairs of skis and 6 snowboard and the boot…and baseball, soccer, basketball, golf, and climbing gear. (Thank goodness my daughter’s ample dance gear fits in her room!) Thoughts: no garage fridge. Do your family a favor and don’t mix food storage with gear and miscellaneous storage! If the power goes out for any extended period of time…which it will because *the mountains*, you will have a similar situation on your hands. That said, at some point you may have an unhappy rodent situation on your hands as a result, and nobody wants to spend time at their getaway cleaning up after pesky critters. 😬 Good luck to Em. It sounds like she may be allergic to pine… Read more »


You’re a funny guy.🤣

My family has a bay house and a downstairs fridge is essential. We go several times per year and usually have at least 6 people with us. When everyone brings food and drink for three meals per day, appetizers, etc. for 2-3 days, a single fridge can’t handle it.


Now, this is a post that caught my attention!!! We have a lake house with a double garage and it has totally been eaten up by… stuff. Like massive tubes for pulling behind the boat. Cross country skis. Snow Shoes. Garden supplies. I have been telling (nagging) my husband for years that we need to get a grip on all the stuff so that we can actually park a car in there. And yes, we do have a second fridge in there, and NO WAY would I get rid of it. We have lots of company and so it stores all the extra food. Plus beverages. It is essential!!!!!


Hi Brian. So sorry that Emily isn’t feeling well. Yes, keep the garage fridge. So handy for extras and beverages. Good luck with getting the smell out though! The same thing happened to our freezer chest. We have disinfected with bleach 3 times, left a bowl of vinegar inside, placed bowls of baking soda in for weeks, tried regular charcoal and activated charcoal (which we’ve left in). The smell… although better, still lingers. Stinky!


Hi! Loved your post! I laughed throughout!. I am older than you guys and now have high school, college and beyond age children and I have a one car garage. So keep that in mind when you read my suggestions. My biggest suggestion is to build your garage so it is flexible and easy to change as your children grow and your needs change. So don’t spend big bucks yet until you live with your first attempt and your needs change. First, score on moving the Christmas decorations inside. After water damage, bees, hornets and mold attacked mine I learned that the hard way. ABSOLUTELY YOU NEED A SECOND refrigerator. Holidays, birthday parties, friends visiting as your children get older demand it. Plus it is a great place for frozen foods to thaw or drinks for parties. During the summer when my girls got older and played outside all day we put jugs of water and reusable water bottles for kids to use without coming inside or to grab before heading out for their sporting events. So you don’t need to buy a replacement now, but organize your garage around the possibility of getting one later. If not in the… Read more »


Hahaha 🤣
I know in the USA, Rusty tends to be a guy name, I’m 100% female!
I’m a fading redhead who got the nickname during my 20s in a city shop, while being tracked as “a good sort” by an Indigenous man.
The shop owner asked if I wanted her to call security and I declined, because, really, it was hilarious and my friend and I were totally fine.
So, yup, deadset practical while also being spontaneously whimsical and entirely creative in problem solving!
Aaaah, this made me laugh! xx


Great post! Feel better, Emily!

If you have the stomach for it, check out “How Clean Is Your House” episodes on YouTube. British show of cleaning hoarder houses. The fridges all are worse than yours…wish I could remember off the top of my head what they use to clean them.


We are about to tackle our garage. We need to do it about every 3 years because things pile up and “we” (that would be “he”) don’t follow our system after awhile. The Home Depot yellow/grey boxes are great — especially in So Cal earthquake country, because you can stack them and they don’t tip. They are very hard to open, though, which is a drawback. I painted (me, myself) our garage interior pure, blinding white a few years ago. Bad workmanship but it made a huge difference. We also installed new/brighter LED lighting. Today, we’ll be getting rid of old papers, cleaning up (my mess) gardening equip and probably donating fabulous but useless to us heavy, old garden rakes, shovels, etc. We have a garage fridge and I think it contains one can of coke. Re: lampshades — once they hit the garage, they’re toast so just donate and move on. Temp/humidity extremes, dust, dents ruin lampshades. I used to be a lamp collector. I had to break that habit and lucky Salvation Army people thought I was nuts when I dropped off 28 brass Stiffel lamps + shades in one trip. (I lied and said I was a… Read more »


Garage fridges are great but…maybe not that one 😬. Buy a new fridge?


This is probably an unpopular opinion, but almost nobody needs a second fridge unless they are a chef or cooking for a family of twelve. It is a waste of space and electricity. A chest freezer could be useful, especially if you are buying things seasonally like whole sides of beef, but most people aren’t doing that. You’ve clearly been surviving without it and if in the future you are having a large party you can always use an ice chest for drinks or just fill the sink with ice and cold water (which is what I do). Isn’t there a small drink fridge in the kitchen anyway? Regarding the use of a fridge in a crisis, I grew up with hurricanes and we never relied on the fridge for emergency storage. Just keep canned goods, peanut butter, pickled items, etc. It’s not really reasonable to expect that you’ll be eating your ideal diet, cold drinks, and tons of fresh produce during a disaster. I’ve survived for weeks at a time on primarily peanut butter and crackers and I turned out fine. I am not exactly eating like a king during this pandemic, but I’ll live. People honestly just buy… Read more »


To clarify my personal experience, we were living in a place with annual natural disasters and my family was hunting and processing entire animals and we still got by with just a regular fridge and an additional long term freezer that we kept in a storage room inside the house. Fridges and freezers also stay colder the more full they are, so if you have a second fridge that is half empty most of the time it’s even more wasteful. You can keep bags of ice in the freezer or gallon jugs of water if yours is too empty.


I’m in SE Texas and I can definitely say that we use our garage fridge and freezer quite a bit especially during the summer and if we have anyone over for BBQs. Saves trips in and out of the the house for people getting beverages. We have coolers and ice packs stored in the freezers as well for hurricane prep and generators to run the garage fridge and freezer as well as the house fridge. When your electricity is out for several days to a week or more from a hurricane the last thing you want to deal with is trying to cook inside your house and the temperature outside is 90+ degrees with tons of humidity so we do a lot of grilling outdoors. Yes we could survive on peanut butter and canned goods (and have that as well) but we’re much happier being prepared to ride out insane flooding from Hurricanes like Harvey, Rita, Ike and Tropical Storm Imelda by relying first on fridges/freezers on generators and then on ice chests as a back up. It’s just a fact of life SE TX that the electricity is going to go out from a storm (whether it’s a small… Read more »


I maintain that a second fridge is a waste of space and electricity. If it’s too hard to walk inside your house to grab a beer, set up a cooler or a tub with iced drinks.

I promise you don’t need to explain to me what a hurricane is like, and I’m not sure why anyone would ever attempt to cook during one. A generator is an option if you can afford the expense and the bills, but again, it’s a luxury and not a necessity.


I feel for Emily… Pollen is evil. I love Brian Henderson posts! So relatable and fun. One huge consideration is making sure your storage bins are compatible with your shelving. There is nothing more frustrating than having 12 inches of leftover space you can’t use efficiently. Also, If you ever need to put anything away in the bin, don’t put them up high. If you’re like me, which you’ve already admitted you are, doing so will guarantee you’ll constantly have things littering the floor while they wait for you to pull out the ladder to put them in the proper storage bin. Heck, even lids can cause a problem sometimes. Also, bins that contain things you need to access frequently should be placed on a shelf with enough clearance above to get into the bin without having to take it down. I look forward to seeing the finished space!

We are in the throes of garage hell right now, but we are seeing light at the end of the tunnel. We have a few COSTCO big metal racks/shelves;bikes on that Home Depot hanger work great. Pegboard holds everything tool wise; I made two sections-one for painting/fixing house stuff and one for bigger, less-used tools. We have a small shed out back and that holds all of our garden supplies, but you could get a locking cabinet and put it at the back of that “cubby” area near the entrance and call it good. Don’t get any of those bins/floor standing tool holders unless you can anchor them to the floor. Otherwise, when you pull out some tools from one side it can tip over! Ask me how I know. The wall mounted tool holders are the best IMHO. CLEAR BINS ONLY ( b/c yes you will never label OR label will fall off etc) and an YES to an outside fridge; it’s a luxury that I am happy to have for parties, holidays, or Costco level buying of food. If you added peg board to your stairs you would have another place for things like bins/clips to hold gloves/hats/winter… Read more »


I never post comments but I am SO familiar (20+ years) with the pollen allergy/rip your eyeballs out feeling that I had to add my two cents. Opcon-A eyedrops (I don’t know how these work with contacts) and Zyrtec. My allergy doc has also recommended a nasal spray for eye relief (in addition to opcon-a) but I don’t have a rec for one. The Opcon-A is so crucial to me that I ALWAYS have in my purse/backpack, never travel with less than 2 bottles (in case I lose one) and have a ton of backups all over the house. It also helps to use all of this daily as directed (like you would antibiotics) to prevent the allergies from getting out of control. Feel better!


If you are making it through the pandemic without the garage fridge, then you certainly don’t need it. It’s just another place where food accumulates and then gets wasted. Also, to have a fridge primarily dedicated to drinks is the same as saying an entire fridge dedicated to plastic. Instead of reaching for drinks in plastic bottles, drink from glasses and avoid the waste.


Is it lonely up there on that high horse?

Roberta Davis

Fun times! How bored do you have to be to clean out the garage? Hehe. Although- I always notice there are some men in my neighborhood who must have projects to do every day- even if it’s wiping off the outside light fixture or mailbox. Most of those men are pre-computer. These guys actually wash the floors of their garages regularly. I’m the kind of person who forgets about anything that is hidden away in a container. I like to have all the things I use or need handy in the garage- hanging in sight. My old unused bike is leaning sadly against the wall next to the unused extension ladder (we now live in a town home and have no need for it, but it’s been there for 20 years now). So I have no good ideas for bike racks. I am also an “empty refrigerator person”- and shudder at the thought of opening the fridge door and things falling out. But quarantine makes it very challenging. I now have shelves of pantry items in my dining room because they won’t all fit in the pantry. Normally, you won’t be living at the mountain house, so do you really… Read more »


The lighter shades of gray (spelled grey in Aussie land). It is light enough to reflect and bounce the light around into nooks and crannies, but not white, which shows all the dirt, scrapes, etc.


Please let us know where you got those great coveralls, Emily!


Simple and easy wall mounted tool storage – 2x2s and finish nails. Screw the 2xs into studs every 12” or so (horizontally). Place finish nails for each of your tools. Lots of flexibility, and the nails are easy to remove/move if need be. I just did the same thing in my garage! Reddit post below for reference

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