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Workshop Organization

We’re official Handyman Bloggers for Lowe’s Creative Ideas so it’s our job to do things that YOU can do in your house if you’re handy. This month I decided to tackle part of my basement.

I just moved into a new house. This means that my workshop is in a complete state of disarray. Not because I like it like that. It’s because when moving I just dumped everything along the wall in the basement. In a few simple steps—and for a few hundred bucks—I got my workshop into ship shape.

WAIT! Before you get all judge-y, these photos were taken in the basement, rendering them grainy and ugly. I don’t have a huge lighting setup, bear with me.

Step 1: Commence operation move-all-the-junk-out-of-the-way-in-order-to-move-it-all-back-where-it-was-later-on.

That’s right. The first step of organizing anything is to get it all out of the way and out into the open so you know what you’re dealing with. And here’s the clean wall and corner.



Step 2: Come up with a plan.

Notice the sketch pads on the floor in the above photo? I drew up an entire schematic with measurements for a set of shelving I was going to build. Notice the coffee on the floor? I did this stuff at night while everyone slept.

The shelves would run from the joists down the the floor with 2×4 framing and 7/16″ OSB shelves. It would run 10′ on the right back wall and 8′ up the left wall (because there was a window I didn’t want to cover).

Step 3: Go get your supplies.

Needs no explanation. Well, one tip. If you drew up a good enough plan with measurements you can have the guys at Lowe’s make your OSB sheet cuts (for like 25 cents a cut) and then your shelves will be ready to go and you don’t have to drag home 4×8 sheets of OSB on top of your car.

Step 4: Alter the plan.

I was IN my neighborhood Lowe’s with my list of lumber and other supplies I needed and filling up my giant dolly cart thing with lumber when I started thinking, “I wonder how big the prefab shelving units are?”. I mean, come on, of course I can build the shelves myself, but then they’re permanent. I can’t really change my mind on placement, or size, or anything.

Screen Shot 2013-07-23 at 10.18.16 PMI went to the shelving area to satisfy my curiosity and came across this baby. The edsal 72-in H x 48-in W x 24-in D 5-Tier Steel Freestanding Shelving Unit (Lowe’s Item Number 101933). There were plenty of choices but these were the dimensions I wanted and the price I wanted.

Hmmm. Four of these and the dimensions of the units next to each other would be about the same dimension as the plans I drew up. A little more expensive than the materials to make my own, but my build time would probably be reduced—no sawing, no nailing, no measuring, no thinking—and time is money, so there’s that.

Next thing you know I’m MuscleRack-ing four of these units down to my basement. You should be warned that they are very heavy. Also, I’m very strong.

Muscle Rack Heavy Duty Steel Shelves


Step 5: Build the shelves.

This is the part of the post where I built the shelves so quickly that I forgot to take photos. Plus they basically click together so there’s not much to show. Pretend I put an uncooked pie in the top part of the oven and removed the cooked pie from the bottom part of the oven, except no pie (sorry), but lots of shelving units.

BLAM. Shelves done.



A couple of tips for the build step.

  1. Use a rubber mallet to tap the pieces together. It’ll save your hands.
  2. MAYBE wear gloves. Some pieces could be accused of being sharp.
  3. Build the units as close to where you want them as possible because they make a hellacious SCREEEEEEECH when you drag them across a concrete floor. I learned that the hard way. Maybe you should just assemble them during the daytime, instead of in the middle of the night.
  4. Measure out the shelf heights how you want them on the first unit you build, then just build the other ones close to it and eyeball them. That is if you want the shelves to be identical heights. The options are endless, depending on what you are looking to store.

Step 6: Start organizing.

I’m not going to pretend to be an organizational guru. I’m just handy and wanted all my stuff off the floor so I put it on the shelves in what seemed to make sense to me. In the middle there is my workbench I previously built and moved to this new house.



Sigh, things are getting organized, and the basement and workshop are taking shape, and my brain is at ease.

Total cost for this project: $336.87

Time to assemble: 1 – 1.5 hours

You can get organized too, and you can find everything you need at Lowe’s.

Fall Badge Rectangle

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“In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from Lowe’s for my time and participation in the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Influencer Network. Although we have a material connection to Lowe’s, any publicly stated opinions of Lowe’s and their products remain our own.”


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