Logo 1 #topThe Poor Man's Fix-it shop.[not for the proficient craftsman] . . . .Logo 2


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    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 have.

    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.


Tool rack


    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.


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 for storage.

    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.






    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.


Storage from under thm.JPG    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.

Storage room



    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 freedom is?

    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 building.

    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 them.

Closing shot 

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 office



     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.



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