For as much as I love working on my garden and landscape I dislike rooting around in a shed, shop, basement or outdoor storage area disentangling the various shovels, rakes, hoses, cords and whatever other outdoor accoutrement I may need, like pruners, loppers and even ear protection (which I wear while mowing).
To make matters worse, I dislike the floor or yard space this disorganized jumble of stuff takes up.
"And can Mark get more annoyed?" you ask.
Yes. Because the third layer of the storage trifecta is this: The last thing I used is rarely the next thing I need. So in an effort at anger management as much as a push to get stuff done - not look for stuff - creating smart, simple and inexpensive storage tricks is a minor (OK, major) life mission of mine.
This great garden storage solution is easy and fun to make, totally versatile, scalable (you can make it bigger or smaller depending on your needs) and is happy living indoors or out. It's also affordable: about 40 bucks. Here's how to make it.
Drill bits: 1 1/2 inch, 5/8 inch, 1/4 inch
Router (not necessary, but nice)
1, 2" x 6" x 8" Western Red Cedar (cedar is great indoors or out)
4, 1/2" x 10" inch galvanized carriage bolts
8, 1/2" galvanized nuts
8, 1/2" galvanized cut washers
Stain or deck sealer (if desired)
If the piece is checked or rough at the end, cut an inch or so off to reveal clean lumber.
Cut to length. This one is 48 inches. For a nice effect - this is easiest using a miter saw - clip each corner of the board off.
Decide which face of the lumber looks the nicest to you. That's the front.
If desired, run a router around the edge for a nice detail and to soften hard corners. Tip: be careful at knots. The router's bearing rolls the surface of the lumber.
Measure 6 inches in from each end and make a small mark roughly in the center of the board. I make the marks vertical. You'll see why in a minute. Next, measure in 18 inches from each end and make a similar mark.
Find the center of the board. For a 2 x 6 that is actually 5 1/2 inches wide, that'll be 2 3/4 inches from the top or bottom. Make this mark horizontally. Where it intersects with the vertical marks it'll make crosshairs.
The center of the cross-hair is where you use a 1/4 inch drill bit and drill a pilot hole through the board. Drill from front to back. Try to hold the drill bit at a right angle to the lumber so it drills straight through.
Flip the piece over. With the 1 1/2inch bit, drill a 5/8 inch deep hole in the back of the board at each pilot hole. This is called counterboring and the purpose is to give the hardware a hole to hide in. Tips: Insert the tip of the bit into the pilot hole. This centers the bit. Don't press too hard before pulling the trigger. Also, make a pencil line 5/8 inch up the bit from its cutter-edge, so you can see how far you've drilled.
Flip the piece back over to the front. With the 5/8 inch bit, drill straight through the board. Again, try to hold the bit as perpendicular to the lumber as possible.
Thread a nut onto a carriage bolt about 2 inches up the shank. Repeat for remaining bolts.
Put a washer on, then pass a bolt through the hole.
On the back, install the second washer. Then, thread a nut so that it is flush to the end of the bolt. Repeat for remaining hardware.
Snug the front hardware, then tighten. You may need to use a wrench on the front and socket on the back to secure both sides while you tighten.
Install. Make a level line on the studs or exterior wall of your shed and install using 3-inch deck screws. Pre-drilling and countersinking holes will minimize the risk of splitting the lumber if fastening near the end. You can also position the screws in the same place in all four corners for a neat look. If you choose to install this on your house, make sure to install such that your siding doesn't leak after you've installed it.
With a little effort and a bunch of fun you can get all kinds of stuff off the floor or ground. It's there when you need it and there's a place for it when you're done - which makes cleanup easier and working in the yard more fun.
Mark Clement is the host of "MyFixitUpLife."