...TOOL RACKS & STORAGE
image to enlarge)
GARDENING TOOL RACK
It seems as if gardening tools collect faster than weeds in a vegetable
garden. What to do with those bulky tools that won't bend in order to
put them in the box of other tools. Here's an idea you probably already
have in motion, but I might have a new wrinkle to add to what you already
The walls of the sheds around the place might not be thick enough to
hold the nails you use as hooks. (If you're using real gardening hooks
to hang your tools, what are you doing in this poor man's web site?)
Take a 1x4 (or two if you have even more tools to hang) and screw them
to the wall you plan on using to store your tools. The nails should
hold then. Some tools hang best by the handle. Drill a hole large
enough to accommodate the nail near the end of the handle of the tool
you wish to hang. Make sure the hole is located in such a way that the
tool lays flat against the wall.
If you live in a wet climate as I do,
you probably don't want the rain to get all over your rusty tools. If
this is the case, hang a tarp from the eve of the shed you're housing
your tool rack on and let it drape over the tools. Mine has been
keeping the rain off for over ten years now. Of course I have to
contend with moisture in the air, but that's more of a yearly thing.
The tarp I'm using is one of those thick awnings that go on an RV as a
porch roof. It's heavy and very water proof.
If I plan on holding the tarp back for a while, as I am in these
pictures, I use long PVC pipes as pillars toward the end of the tarp.
Roof runoff. Do you want gutters but the hangers they sell for the
gutters cost more than the gutters themselves? In the picture you can
see I used shelf brackets for hangers, curling the end of them upward
to keep the gutter from slipping off.
Another way to save on gutters is to purchase (or let someone give to
you) some old 3 inch or so PVC pipe and cut them down the middle. Be
sure to wear a mask because PVC dust doesn't leave your lungs once it's
found its way there.
Incidentally, my lawn is gravel and doesn't grow very fast, so I no
longer have very many real gardening tools. But I have a lot of old
bike wheels and tubes and the like. This rack is a great place to hang
them as well.
STORAGE SPACES AND IDEAS:
How about the stuff that can sit on the ground but you don't want to
have out in the weather? Under the tool rack set a board on some bricks
and rest the stuff on it (like a low-lying shelf). The tarp will keep
them dry and dust free (relatively speaking) as well.
I have scads (is that really a word?) of tools I rarely use but I don't
want to get rid of. I also have a lot of empty plastic containers I
don't use. I put the tools in them, cover the container with big
plastic bags, stack them along side a tree against my tool shed, and
hang a tarp over the whole mess. The tarp is a cheap one and leaks like
my kitchen sink, but the plastic bags help keep out the moisture, most
of it at least.
You know those little bags of water soaker-uppers they put in shoe boxes
and the like? The ones that tell you not to let little kids or pets
eat them? They're too small to put in those containers, but you can
use baking soda for the same purpose. When the powder gets saturated,
lay it out to dry and start all over again.
Paper absorbs moisture. Take old newspaper and place in the container
(or storage box, or whatever) and replace it every once in a while.
Newspaper attracts water, but it also gets wet. Whatever you want to
make sure it stays dry, wrap in a plastic bag before putting it in the
box or the container,. The paper will attract the moisture before it gets
inside the bag. To be doubly sure, put the box in a large plastic bag
as well. I have boxes stored all over the place and they seem to do very
well, even though it's paper inside the bags I'm wanting to store away.
Out of shelf space? Use those old plastic milk cartons and stack them
on their side. They're just the right size to hold a filing box you use
What about the hundred or so paint cans and cleaners that probably
don't work, and you don't have anything to use
them on, but you don't want to get rid of? Put them in one of those
empty plastic containers, store it in the woods, and lay a tarp over
the whole mess. By the time you need them they'll probably be out of air,
useless, or too rusty to bother with. But at least it'll be doing its
magic disappearing act out of your way until you desperately need them.
If you can
get to that space under your house (or whatever you live in), that's a
great place to store all those tires you've been burying and let lay
around the yard, hoping they would grow a rubber tree plant.
And that empty space
sitting useless on top of your trailer. If your trailer has a covering
over it, it becomes a perfect place to store stuff like those guitars
you never use and old blankets you want to keep on hand. Of course your
wife will call it tacky and tell you to take it down. But instead use a
plastic arbor panel (that stuff that looks like a big tic-tac-toe board
with holes in it), cover the far side with a tarp of appropriate color,
put a hinge on the top and fasten it to the Ramada. It'll look great,
tacky but great.
MORE STORAGE IDEAS:
I'm lucky in that I have a very large Ramada built over the
old trailer I live in. The tongue of the trailer is rusted off, it has
no propane, nor heating system (it has, but I don't want to chance
blowing myself up), but it has a great Ramada. In the back of the
trailer (along the far side I should say) there's a 4 foot overhang.
Under that overhang I built shelves 4 feet deep out of old lumber and
throwaway plywood. I had some old closet hinges I wasn't using so I put
them to use on the doors of this storage shelf. Since the shelves are 4
feet deep I have enough room to store boxes two deep, and on each shelf
I allowed enough room to stack two boxes on one another. That's a very
big bunch of storage out of useless space. Besides this, the storage
area makes excellent insulation for the house, as well as sound
proofing against the monster turbo air conditioning fan my
neighbor had installed.
There are trees close by where I have this storage area, so doors tend
to hit against the trees. To compensate for this I cut the doors into
sections and used hinges afore mentioned. This creates kind of an
accordion effect, allowing me access to my stuff.
|| A view from down under.
Don't forget to mark on the outside of the boxes what's in
them, and write on the front box what's in the box behind the box in
front. This saves a lot of headache and looking, I can assure you.
This is how the storage shelves looked before I covered them. As
you can see the shelves are under the eves of the Ramada, and yet
there's room for two rows of boxes placed end for end. The entire
length of the trailer is lined with shelves, the rest of a different
kind not needed for most people so I won't go into them here.
Even though I installed a rain gutter over these
shelves the rain still entered the shelves from over the doors. To
prevent this I ran a brass tube over the doors as close to the shelves
as I could get it, and hung a tarp from the rods suspended by shower
hooks. The open edge, where the two large tarps come together, I
stapled some 1x2's's to the tarp and installed an eye hook. This works
well except the boards (end of the tarps) refused to line up. To solve
this porbelm I drilled a hole in two places on the boards, above and
below the eye hooks, and glued a short wood dowel in each of the holes
on one board that it lined up with the open hole on the other board.
The wind tends to open the doors and causes them to bang
against the shelves, which allows rain to enter from the top of the
doors. To solve this problem I cut some short pieces of wood into which
I drilled a hole in the middle and inserted a small lag bolt, just long
enough to go through the wood lock, and between the doors into the
shelf support that lies just behind the seperation. By turning the
piece of wood I lock both doors on each side of it. To open the door I
merely remove the piece of wood (make sure the lag bolt is short and is
securely fastened to the piece of wood if you don't want it to turn
without being removed). I did this wherever the doors tended to bulge
from the shelf rack.
At one time I had books, tapes and videos stored in every shelf,
in boxes under, over and through the trailer and the office. I
decided to build a room for the books so I could have the rest of the
place for things I was doing, not what I thought I might do someday.
This room was filled to the brim with boxes, and I still had
boxes stored away, going to mold. Not long ago I decided to rid myself
of all my books, tapes and videos, keeping only the books I knew I
would use. You can see the result, the room I built for them is now
nearly empty, only having two or three boxes of books, and virtually no
tapes or videos, either having given them away, or throwing away maybe
thirty boxes of items that were no longer any good. Do you know what
I wanted to build this room as cheap as I could, both because I'm
cheap, and because I don't have any money. The cheapest material I
could find for siding was chip board. I bought three sheets of that,
and made the room fit the material. The salesman said the chipboard
wouldn't hold up, which is essentially true. However I have doors that are
fully exposed to the rain and weather constantly that have held up
for many years now. I'll paint them when the weather improves, which
is probably never since the doors are on the shady side of the house.
I constructed this room using traditional methods, making sure there
was clearance under the building, which is difficult because of the very
unevenness of my property. Then I gave the outside of the building lots
of paint, and made a long overhang on the front of the building to
protect the walls, the contents, and me when I want to enter the room
on rainy days.
In front and along the side of the roof I installed cheap gutters,
pieces of what I had laying around, and piped them into that tube you
see to the left of the shed, running the water far away from the
To insure the longevity of the siding and to create more sheltered
storage area, I put tarps over the roof of that shed, and the tool shed
I have (twice the size of this shed) behind. The tool shed roof leaks,
and no matter what I do it continues to leak to the point it has rotted
a hole in a corner of the wall at floor level. I dug out all the rot
so it wouldn't spread, then put moth balls at the hole to keep out the
squirrels that like to make their nest in such places.
For a door I used a hinged, hollow closet door, which I find allows me
easier access to the room, and of course didn't cost me anything.
The tarp to the right of the shed creating the shade is attached to the
roof of the Ramada. It keeps the rain from leaking into the shed, and
creates a dry pathway for me and more dry storage area against the back
of the trailer.
In back of the trailer is where I store my long lumber and PVC pipe I
use for making flutes, and flute cases. I also store bamboo in the
corner of that area. I built a ramp from the walkway that allows me
access to the roof of the trailer where I have more long stuff stored.
Earlier I jokingly talked about storing guitars over and in the front
of the trailer. No joke, I have about 15 guitars of one nature or
another stored there as well as other places such as the office. And
I'll be building more in the future. What do I do with all those
instruments you ask? I don't know yet, maybe someday I'll learn to play
This is a closing shot of the shed. Just a typical old shed.
By the way, the old traditional way of keeping mold from forming in a
building was to let a bulb (not the new energy saving ones) burn. It
really works, I know, that's the method I use in these sheds, as well
as in the van.
UNDER THE OVER STORAGE:
This is an odd picture and difficult to figure out. My office is
actually a storage shed that extends out into a valley of sorts (my
place being on a sand dune, on the top where all the property around me
is at least ten feet lower then my ground level). Only the very tip of
the office is touching the actual ground, the rest of it hangs on
almost nothing except a single leg that had no support whatsoever. But
more on that when I talk about the grounds in general.
As you can see I did a lot of reinforcing of the shed, and at the same
time I built a storage shelf that extends from one end of the building
to the other. Here is where I keep paint supplies, my extra Porta
Potti, nuts and bolts, and other such items.
The green thing is a cover I made for the storage area. It's a piece of
lattice reinforced all around, and a brown (on the other side) tarp to
keep out the weather. It's form fitted to fit the entire side of the
open area. In the back of the shed I have a sheet of plywood to serve
the purpose, and on the far side is where I hang the gardening tools,
as described earlier.