Part five: Sorting out the storage areas for the new garage.
The old saying that ‘Whatever space you have, it will eventually get filled’ is something I was determined to defy with my new garage. Space is essential not only for working on my vehicles, but also for photography, so I was keen to ensure that clutter was kept to a minimum and that whatever could be stored should be.
Before I started to fill my garage with tools, equipment and other essentials, I gathered together anything that didn’t need to be stored in the garage and wasn’t valuable. I already had some storage space under the decking in my rear garden, so I added some new doors and a transparent corrugated roof to the underside of the decking boards to create a dry area. This is perfect for storing containers of fluids such as oil, coolant, screenwash and car shampoo.
Inside the garage, I decided to see if I could collect all of my tools together and store as many of them as possible in one cabinet. Draper had the answer with a large 16-drawer cabinet split into three units. My old toolboxes and cabinets are dwarfed by the new Draper unit and it managed to swallow all of my tools. However, I decided to move one of the old cabinets and a top box into the inspection pit, which I’ve stocked with several useful tools for working underneath a vehicle, such as hammers, screwdrivers, pry bars and a few spanners. Plus, there’s room to store most of my rustproofing products and equipment.
The drawers of the new Draper cabinets use ball bearings in the runners and they work really well, even for the drawers that hold heavy items such as my impact driver. I didn’t plan too extensively when it came to allocating tools to specific drawers, but I tried to use one drawer for spanners, another for ratchets and extensions, and the top box for sockets. Most mechanics’ cabinets I see when visiting workshops adopt the same tactics. This often seems quite wasteful of space, but it does mean that, say, a neat row of pliers and vice grips will be easy to access, instead of having them crammed into a deep drawer.
Keeping tools stored neatly did seem almost impossible when it came to arranging my spanners, but a few crocodile teeth-shaped racks helped here.
On the bench
While the storage of the tools was being sorted out, I also re-equipped my workbench with its vice and drill, and stacked the lower shelf with a few boxes of car spares, a vacuum cleaner and consumables such as nuts and bolts, pop rivets and screws. The workbench accommodated everything, but I’m not so keen on its size any more. At 7ft, it’s quite awkward to position it inside the garage. I may be better off having two smaller benches or to use a small bench for the vice and buy a full-size pillar drill to secure to the floor. And I’ve yet to find somewhere to park my four bicycles inside the garage.
Once everything was in place, I crossed my fingers that I’d got my calculations correct and that my VW campervan would fit in the garage. It was a tense moment as I reversed the vehicle inside and attempted to close the door, but it fits easily and it will be a luxury to be able to work on it under cover.