Well, hello there & happy new year! (why yes, it IS January 26th! I’ve been busy, okay?)
Where to start…the Christmas season was great. We stayed home this year instead of booking a week at a cabin for the family. It just seemed we were all a little too tight on money and everyone couldn’t get off the same time, etc, so we just had Christmas at home. Actually, we always do. We don’t get a cabin the actual week of Christmas (do you know how much they charge for that?!?!) We always book the first or second week of December and then when Christmas rolls around, we just have our usual family gatherings: Christmas Eve at Mom’s or my sister’s or one of the kids’ houses and then Christmas morning breakfast at our house.
It was crazy because it POURED the rain all day on Christmas and the temperatures were so warm we had the heat pump off and the windows open! Talk about kinda mind-boggling! It didn’t feel like Christmas at all except for having everyone over.
Hubbs had a four day weekend, so the day after Christmas, we got up fairly early and went out to our shop/garage and started cleaning. Yep. All kinda fun right there.
Hubby has this huge 30 x 60 shop with two large garage bays, one with a car lift, an “office”, a bathroom with shower, a room with a small garage door for our lawn mower and another room that was originally intended to be a “tool room”.
Now, before you go thinking we’re rich, let me stop you. Hubby bartered for most of what’s in there (that 6000 lb lift? yep, $200 and a day spent clearing garbage) so even though it’s really REALLY nice considering what we spent on it, we just “squeaked by” to get it completed and enough of the insides done to use it.
In the part of the shop where those rooms are, he was able to get a set of metal stairs so he built an upper level with the intention of closing it in for more household-type storage.
But we somehow never got around to putting up those walls. For one thing, the money just wasn’t there to buy the material, then what material had been left over from building the shop that we’d hoped to at least start on the walls with ended up getting used in some other project. So over the years (yep, YEARS) with each of the boys getting cars that needed parts and then having parts taken off of things that they’d sell… (yeah, right)…well, that upper floor got covered in all manner of stuff!
There was also all the stuff from the house that we just didn’t know what to do with…the dining set that was my grandparents that we used for awhile until my mom gave me a nicer set, the two chairs the boys had used when we were homeschooling, bookcases, books, lamps, sports equipment, weights, siding, trim and tile from projects in the house. You name it, it was out there and open to all the elements a shop can present…dust, black soot from the wood stove that heat the place, sawdust, welding “dust”…it was just filthy up there.
We had a small attic that we’ve used for storage all this time. We had to keep our Christmas stuff up there because it was the only place we had. Because of the way our ceilings are made, we had to put the entrance inside a closet in one of the spare rooms. That makes what little space is up there almost more trouble than it’s worth. So, we decided that we had to get those walls up so we could store the Christmas stuff out in the shop. It’ll be MUCH easier to load a dolly with totes and roll them down the wide steps and into the house than to wrestle them out of the attic. AND we would have enough space to move all my craft stuff out there plus all the other seasonal decor we have stuffed up there.
We decided that it’d be nice to run lights up there, of course, so we could see what was up there, but MORE lights and set up a table so that I could actually work on craft projects out there and not have to gunk up the house every time I wanted to paint something or do a project.
So, we spent a lot of time running metal conduit and electric through those, wiring the lights & getting them hung. That was after framing and covering the walls. We even added a small window so you could see out into the shop from up there. It was out of our old kitchen door!
After working almost every evening for a week, and I mean, working the whole time he was off for Christmas, then the next four-day weekend for New Year’s and then every evening after work til late, we got really, REALLY tired! Just burnt out, really.
The thing is while we had got a LOT of stuff done for the upstairs and the actual storage area, we were also cleaning and clearing and fixing things in the main shop area too. For instance, Hubby had a work bench he needed to put a new top on. He had kept a big piece of marble-like material he’d gotten from somewhere or other and so we got that down and used the table saw to cut it to the size he needed, cut another piece to make a small shelf over the bench then made another top and corner shelf out of the rest of it. Of course, he had to round all the edges and make it perfect (sheesh!) so that took a lot of time. Now he has a very nice workbench with the shelf above it and a light mounted underneath. He ran wiring for a switch and an outlet.
Another project he’d wanted to do for awhile is to get some way to play music out there. The old boom box he’d been using was great…when it would pick up a station. But in a metal building, radio reception is hit or miss, and stations would “wander” so it really frustrated him. Our oldest son told him how he could stream music through his phone. He had run ethernet cable out there from the house (underground!) several years ago so he could do research about stuff he was working on without coming back and forth to the house. So since I’d just upgraded my phone, we had my old one to use solely for streaming music…we just needed something to stream it to. He pulled out another of his “I can use this for something” items…an older car radio with mp3 capabilities. He got our daughter-in-law’s brother, who is a whiz with computers, to come up and help him rig it all up. Then he got into the stack of speakers he’d been amassing. He wired all of those up that sounded decent and so now he has full stereo sound in the shop with clear, crisp streaming music!
So as you can see, our “build walls and clean up a storage area” project was anything but cut and dried!
At this point, we do have a lot accomplished up there. We got the big piles of just STUFF that Hubby had saved from various and sundry building projects sorted and categorized and put into milk crates that are stacked along a wall. the bigger items we put into totes. We built a hook thingie to hold all the remaining conduit and other long, thin items up off the floor and easy to access. We threw out a bunch of junk along the way, used a lot of stuff in the building of the room and moved some out to the shop below.
Yesterday, I wiped down all the Christmas totes that had been stacked in the shop so Hubby could carry them in. While we don’t have the area where we plan to put them completely finished (we need to insulate the outer walls and cover them) we do have room to put the totes where they’ll be kept clean and out of the way. I now have them all stacked in the family room (yep, in the middle of everything) which I don’t really care for, but at least I can work toward getting Christmas put away and getting the house back to normal. Hopefully soon I can start carrying craft items out of the back room. First, though, I have to get some shelves emptied and a bit more junk out of the other part of the room.
One more sort-of bump in our road to organizing and cleaning the shop…our youngest son had an accident a couple weeks ago. Praise God, he wasn’t hurt because his Jeep flipped end over end and he could have been seriously injured or killed just as easily. But his Jeep is pretty banged up. The frame was twisted slightly, so the insurance company totaled it and our son bought it back for practically nothing and he wants to fix it.
That means it’s in our shop now. *sigh* It’s been okay. He’s been up here for the past week helping Hubby do work out there in preparation (& probably payment) for his dad’s help fixing the Jeep and a place to work on it. But tonight, they brought it home, so now they are out there messing with it.
I told them they really needed to finish the project they’d started a couple days ago which was putting wall board up in the office (which had been just studs and bare insulation til now) and tin up on the ceiling. So now all the stuff is moved out of the office into the shop and while the walls are done, the ceiling has only one run of metal on it. I’m hoping tomorrow they will get back on that.
Another dilemma there is that we want to move the chest freezer out of the office (yeah, that was the only place we could put it at the time…we got it from his parents) into the mower room, but that, of course, requires a whole ‘nother clean up and move stuff and organize project. We started that tonight, but didn’t get finished. We did get a piece cut out of the roll of carpet we’d had for years big enough to put under our bikes so we could throw the rest of it away and get it out of the floor in the shop (after it had come from upstairs) We got part of our camping supplies out of the mower room moved upstairs and most of the shelf that has to move to make room for the freezer emptied out.
SHEW!!! I’m just about to get overwhelmed with all this stuff!! What I want to do once the majority of this cleaning is done is have a sort-of open house so people from the homeschooling community can come and buy all (hopefully) the tons of books and supplies I have sitting in FOUR bookcases down in the shop covered with a tarp!! I’m still going to have to dust all that stuff, even with the tarp, they’re a mess, but they’ve been sitting there for about 3 years now!
So yeah… we have got a ton of stuff done, but we have SO much more to go! And I’m halfway trying to clear, toss, declutter and organize in the house too.
I hope I get most of this stuff done before it kills me! That way at least when people have to go through my stuff, it won’t drive them bonkers too! LOL!
More updates later.