Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Shop to ToolShed

Clearing the old (previously called "existing") house has lots of sub-topics. I think, for this blog, moving tools and parts from a 2-car garage into an 96 square foot shed might be most on-point of what's left for a targeted post. So, I cover that today. 

our humble beginning
We start with a sub-sized 2-car garage. I say "sub-sized" because a full-sized car could not reasonably park in either spot if you were also using that bay for any storage at all. The former owner had a BMW SUV parked in one bay, where we parked Oliver (1978 MGB). Otherwise that side of the garage was completely empty, including the back wall. The other bay was filled with shelving. The other bay was also where the laundry area, the furnace and the hot water heater were located. We set it up in a more standard way, with shelves along the side-walls, leveraged the laundry space in the same way and added some storage along the back wall nearest the door to the inside. So, basically, wall-to-wall shelving where some major appliance wasn't already located.

Facing the garage from the driveway, the bay on the right was filled with Oliver and shelving. The shelves he was parked up against were used to store recreational equipment (skiis, camping gear, eg) and household spares (light bulbs, batteries, paper products, eg). Oliver barely fit and access to the shelving was accomplished by shimmying sideways along Oliver's passenger side. His rear bumper was less than an inch from the garage door and there was, maybe, a meter and a half (5 feet) from his front bumper to the garage back wall, and the entrance to the house. We had a small storage cabinet there which jutted out, maybe 8 inches from the wall to further constrain passage, but a person carrying a laundry basket could easily pass through without touching anything. An MGB is not exactly a huge car, measuring in at just over 4 meters (13 feet) so a more typical car could prevent door access. A VW bus, for example, is almost 4.5 meters (15 feet), which may have been too long to park there. When you add a spare tire to the nose, like Hapy (1972 VW camperbus) has, you lose another half a foot, so Hapy stayed outside. Anyway, the non-car-ish contents of the shelving next to Oliver are eventually routing to the NewOldHouse garage, once that garage is cleared of the new-to-us kitchen cabinets earmarked for the kitchen rebuild. So, we got creative for temporary storage, putting that stuff into the NewOldHouse attic.

a "before" image
In the other garage bay, I had all of my car/bus/truck parts and my tools. These things were relatively well organized until the furnace was replaced last Summer. Okay, maybe that's being a little generous... it was semi-organized chaos, but I knew where everything was. The furnace installers needed access behind a shelving unit full of parts so they just moved things around, putting things in a heap until they could do what they wanted. This left a huge mess in the middle of the walkway from the rear of the garage to the driveway. On top of that mess, a handyman we hired plopped another mess of scrap wood and drywall. So, before I could move anything, I had to clean up and reorganize a little bit. Remaining Agile, I dealt with just enough for tools and parts to be moved, leaving a larger organizational effort to happen at the ToolShed.

Ah, the ToolShed. In my last post about the ToolShed, I had just dropped all of Zed's interior onto the floor (see "before" image on the right). Those items needed to be sorted and, as much as possible, stored on the mezzanine before anything new arrived. Well, as I was preparing for this, we had a freak snowstorm drop 4+ inches of snow. The snow and rain and melting took out my last remaining canopies, leaving considerable wreckage, and blocking both the doors to the shed and the egress from the driveway to the shed. So, the daisy-chain of mess grew by one more.

Zed parts up, one shelf in
On a Saturday morning, I disassembled the canopies and moved as much of Zed's interior up onto the mezzanine as I could fit. I also took apart the table that I had set inside the doorway for a temporary work table. The table went into the demo-in-process kitchen and the stuff that had sat upon it got piled on the side. Now, I could consider a shelving solution.

The side walls of the shed are just shy of 12 feet long and less than 7 feet high before the ceiling pitch starts. The mezzanine juts out 4 feet from the rear wall. With the mezzanine location, it does not make sense to put shelving all the way to the rear wall. Besides, the standard shelving system is 4 feet wide, and the interior of the shed is just shy of 12 feet so you can't fit 3 shelves side-by-side anyway. So, my plan became setting 2 shelves along the wall width-wide and a third shelving unit turned sideways nearest the rear wall. After measuring it out, I was left with over 3 feet of space behind the turned shelf. Into that space, I set the old Westfalia closet, and used it to protect Zed's window glass between the closet and the rear wall. Ultimately, I will probably share that closet with someone else who will put it to use, but for now, it is helping protect Zed's glass. If you're local, and you will use it, please message me.

Moving Shelves and Parts
end of day 2
That afternoon, I started moving things. My process was fairly obvious, and repeated a few times: empty a shelving unit into large plastic tubs, disassemble the shelving unit, move the shelving and the tubs, assemble the shelves, and reload them with the tub contents. This cycle took a couple of hours per shelving unit and lasted the rest of that Saturday and all of the following day. 

Once the shelves and their contents were moved, I shifted to the heaps of stuff left by the HVAC folks, the handyman, and, honestly, me. I ran out of energy, daylight and give-a-crap before I got all of the remaining stuff out that day. As you can probably see in the images, it was raining (of course, it's Oregon) by the end so I left wet footprints as I went. Still, you can see I had quite a bit of available shelf-space after moving over 80% of the stuff. I returned after work the following few days to move things like the car jacks, ramps, jack-stands, random larger car parts, sound absorption materials, etc so all that remained were my rolling tool cabinets, and their contents. It was this 20% that unraveled the organize-as-we-go model I had been following. These things, unfortunately, ended up where the tool cabinets are intended to go.

Moving Tool Cabinets
The documentation for the tool cabinets say to empty the cabinet before rolling it. I don't know how much people actually follow that advice when you're moving it around your garage, but I followed it to move the larger one to NewOldHouse. I do not have a liftgate nor a very low-floor trailer. Even if I did, the mud bog in the backyard of NewOldHouse prevents driving anything back there. We already got ToyoTruck stuck when spreading bark chips, requiring a visit from AAA to pluck him out. A truck hauling a tool cabinet would definitely get stuck. So, I started by emptying the cabinets into a pair of large blue tubs, like you can see in the various pictures. These buggers got so heavy, I needed to use a wheelbarrow to move each tub from the ToyoTruck in the driveway back to the ToolShed.

Once the tools were moved, we considered the remaining space in the ToolShed and how overgrown the assortment of to-be-shelved pile had become. Boo and I considered that the organization would take away from our get-out-that-house velocity. So, we decided that the tool cabinets would temporarily live in the attached garage. We just had to move them. The red-rollie is an older Kennedy upper/lower cabinet. I moved the upper cabinet with the large blue tubs. I use the lower for holding my larger power tools, and electrical stuff. Since that cabinet is so much lighter, I did not empty it, we just pushed it. The larger black cabinet is the one I bought a couple of years ago (see $50 Tool Chest). It's a Harbor Freight / US General 44" that weighs 300 pounds when empty. I had pretty much all of my hand tools usually stored there (wrenches, sockets, body hammer/dollies, tap/die kit, etc) and I still had a couple of empty drawers.

cabinets at NewOldHouse
To get the cabinets to NewOldHouse, we hand-rolled them down the street to the end of the NewOldHouse dirt driveway. That's our friend John pushing red rollie in the picture above-right. We were blessed with 2 dry days, and did this move mid-day on the 2nd dry day. We brought some wood planks with us, strapped to the top of the 44 with a plan to lay them on the driveway for ramps to run the cabinets. We figured we would try simply running without the ramps first... and we made it without incident. I was super-concerned about moving these cabinets, so the fact that they moved so easy and fast was a great surprise.

Once the cabinets were moved, everything tool or car/truck/bus part related had been solved for. The garage still had camping gear and other not-car stuff, I'll touch on that as part of a larger "we're out" post once we're actually all the way out. Of course, the cars themselves remain. Each of them presented their own challenge to move, so I'll tell those adventures in the next post. 

Thanks so much for following along, and staying tuned during this move. I can't really describe how difficult this has been other than list out the challenges: no help from my family; little help from friends and Boo's family; my folks stuff was added increasing the overall amount of stuff we needed to resolve; my father died; we moved my mom into assisted living; both Boo and I are suffering at least one arm with tennis elbow; record-setting cold/wet winter; our only vehicle to move our things is an open 6-foot bedded pickup truck.... and, of course, the NewOldHouse hadn't a bathroom nor kitchen (still hasn't a kitchen). These are not complaints, rather, I am reminding myself that our success in light of these barriers is all the more worth celebrating. We are very close to being done, and then life will start to return to normal.

Again, thanks, as always, for following along-

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