You may remember from when I made my circular saw guide, that I’ve been trying to find ways to make DIY quicker, easier, and more fun. Overall, there are a lot of things that are inefficient with the way I do projects, and that makes me procrastinate about getting started, which is the opposite of a virtuous cycle.
One of the biggest issues was that I didn’t have a good work space. I kept my most-used stuff in the garage, and set-up sawhorses in the driveway when I had something big to work on. I then went into a dark and disorganized part of the basement to look for other tools that I didn’t have on hand. It was a huge waste of time, and meant that I couldn’t get a lot done in the rain or when it was cold. I really needed a better set-up, like Sage has in her basement.
Problem was, this was my basement:
I’m so ashamed. It was pretty organized for a time, but then the basement flooded and we had to move everything out and back in in a hurry. After that, since we didn’t re-organize right away, things just kept piling up.
Still, there is a lot of space down here, and I had a vision of taking over 1/3 of it for a workshop space where I could set-up the sawhorses inside, organize everything on shelves, and even put up some pegboard to have tools within easy reach.
When we finally got around to it, clearing it out was surprisingly satisfying. Brad and I started at one end, going through everything and sorting it into three categories: keep, giveaway/sell, or trash.
Once sorted and organized, it was amazing how much space we had. Doing it together was great, since I think we were able to guilt each other into getting rid of some extra stuff. It feels so good to have so much cleared out!
It left me with this gorgeous place for a workshop:
And by gorgeous, of course I mean extremely ugly. I don’t even think I can imagine a more hideous paint treatment. That was the hardest part for me: as we were cleaning it out, I kept thinking of things we could do while we were at it that would make it more pleasant/attractive.
Why not just scrub it down, paint the floor, paint the walls, put some rust-blocking stuff on the windows and paint them all nice, paint the ugly exterior of the utility sink, perhaps do something about that ceiling…?
Because then I would still be working on this project, and when I finally finished in like a year it would STILL be a basement. So I made a very strict pact with myself: utilitarian projects only.
Even so, it took the better part of a day to sort the mess that was all of my DIY stuff onto those shelves in a way that made sense.
Organizing always has to get worse before it gets better.
In case you’re curious, the categories I ended up organizing things into were:
- House Paint
- Special Paint-like stuff: Stain/Poly/Spray Paint
- Painting Tools (brushes, stirrers, dishes, etc.)
- Paint Samples
- Cleaning Supplies/Rags
- Assorted Craft/House Supplies
- Safety Gear
- Sanding Stuff
- Sticky Stuff (e.g., glue, calk, spackle)
- Power Tools, and the interrelated category of
- Tools I Use All The Time And Need Within Easy Reach
Which brings me to the biggest issue that I had before: My tools weren’t in easy reach. Even when my stuff was correctly organized, I had a lot of it stashed away in toolboxes and bags, so I was forever digging around and looking for things, and it wasn’t easy to put things away again. The solution: pegboard.
When I was originally planning out the workshop space, I was going to install the pegboard over a wooden door that the previous owner had already attached to the wall, to save myself the trouble of drilling into cement. However, when we looked at it more closely it looked like it could have been covered in lead paint, so out it went.
This actually meant that I had space for a much larger stretch of wall to work with. Hooray!
I got a basic 4×8 pegboard panel at Home Depot and had them cut it into 3rds for me at the store so I could fit it into my car. I calculated that two of the panels would then nearly cover the large space, and I’d have the remaining one to cut down for the spot under the window.
I installed them by attaching 1x2s to the wall to build a frame, and then attaching the pegboard to those boards.
Of course, that makes it sound easier than it actually was. It always does, doesn’t it?
To drill into cement, I picked up a special carbide tipped masonry bit and special concrete anchors. I picked anchors that would extend at least 1 inch past my boards, so I would know it was secure.
I also pre-drilled the boards using a regular bit, because while masonry bits are good at going through concrete, they are actually tougher to force through wood. Odd but true!
I had heard that folks had success drilling into concrete with a regular drill, so I was optimistic I could make it work. I could not. I don’t know if I was using the wrong technique or if the issue is just that my drill is the dinkiest one there is. Still, after a good minute of drilling, this was the result:
If you don’t see the hole, it’s not a problem with your eyes.
As I was mentally going through the list of people I could bother on a Sunday to lend me a hammer drill, I did a quick search for how much they cost. I had seen expensive ones online so I wasn’t optimistic. However, one of the first results was one on sale for $25!
I don’t need much incentive to buy a new tool. After a bit of research, I decided to go with this one by Skil (affiliate link – read our policies) which was priced at about $45 at the time I bought it.
It was well reviewed and seemed great for home use. It also has a regular drill setting, so I’m also glad to have a corded backup to my battery-powered regular drill. I’ve had to pause too many projects to re-charge, and I’ve been meaning to buy a back-up battery to keep charged. Putting that money toward this instead means that now I’ll have a corded drill to fall back on, and a whole hammer-drill function to add on.
You can definitely tell it is more powerful than the other drill. I wouldn’t call it easy to put up the boards, but it was certainly doable, especially with Brad there to switch off drilling and holding in place.
We attached the pegboards with small wood screws and washers.
Working with Brad on a project can be a trade-off. On the plus side, the project goes a lot faster because he is quite handy and strong (which is important when drilling into cement, for example). However, photography takes longer since I end up with quite a few like this:
Even though this was wholly a utilitarian project, it did look a whole lot better once we got all the panels up!
And even better once all the tools were up on their hooks!
There’s definitely room to arrange it more efficiently and get more tools up there, which is exactly the point. I wanted to design this space to be able to hold more stuff than I have, so I’m not creating more mess every time I get something new.
It feels so good to have the space set-up! While this may not be a “pretty” after photo – it feels pretty to me!
I have a large work area on the sawhorses, and I ran electricity and a new light over there to make it easy to see and plug in tools.
You can see in this photo that I also built myself a solution organize my scrap wood. It was a super easy project that took only about an hour, and I’ll share more about it in an upcoming post!
Already, having this space has made it so much easier for me to do quick projects, and makes them so much more fun.