Wish you could have a garage workshop PLUS park inside your garage too? You can! Here’s 10 steps on how I did BOTH in a tight, single car garage space!
Parking in a Garage Workshop Series
1 – The Plan and the Clean Up (you are here)
Locate stencils to make garage signs with HERE (Route 66 is no longer avail)
About the original garage workshop
As you may already know, my rather unique, all-repurposed garage workshop is located in my single car garage. And it’s worked well for many years!
The garage is attached to the house, and includes insulation, outlets, concrete floor for easy dirt cleanup, 8 foot ceiling, baseboard heater, with plenty of fluorescent lights.
Ventilation for a dust-free environment and natural light is achieved by opening up both the main garage door and the back door.
Visit all the unique workshop organizing touches HERE
The workshop is bright and cheerful, painted with bright white walls, but what made it extra special was all the repurposed touches such as reclaimed wood shelves, funky wall treatments and plenty of antique accessories for hooks to hang things.
Everything in it was found for free!
What the workshop lacked
But the workshop lacked square foot floor space for working on larger pieces of furniture or builds. I mean, who wouldn’t want as large of a work area as possible?
So for years, I worked as-is, in somewhat tight, cramped quarters, bringing larger pieces outside to work on or sand. But at least it was a full-blown workshop where everything was set up and ready to go any day of the year!
Everything worked out great! Except when winter hit.
Why I wanted to park indoors
All winter long, I agonized over my truck parked outside. While vehicles are obviously made to park outdoors, with our prolonged winter this round, more ice and snow and freezing meant more work involved to get my truck driveable during cold weather.
Luckily, my smart brother has shared many of his winter parking tips you can read HERE. They have been life savers!
But I haven’t parked inside a garage for over 20 years. And I yearned to better protect my truck from the weather elements!
However, that goal morphed from push to shove once I landed another truck!
Why yes, you are seeing double! Sort of.
The newer truck is the same truck as my old one but in better condition. You can read the whole truck story HERE
Among other things, the clear coat was melting off the old Dodge Dakota truck, and while it’s likely a factory issue, sitting outdoors certainly hasn’t helped.
So once the newer truck came home, I wanted to park it inside the garage workshop SO bad. But with not an extra inch to spare spacewise, I talked myself out of it. I just didn’t see it happening.
That’s when I started to price out potentially building a workshop in my backyard. But after hearing how much a new workshop would cost, I didn’t want to take out savings or a loan at this stage of the game. I’m planning for travel and retirement!
And that’s when my eyes turned towards my overstuffed single car garage workshop one more time. With MUCH hesitation.
With 15+ years of stuff buried in that workshop, for me to be able to park in there would be nothing short of a miracle!
But after sketching out a plan and rethinking things through, I did actually come up with an idea that I think could allow me to not only have a workshop fully ready to work in, I could also park in there too!
Sounds far fetched, doesn’t it? But I’m here to tell you, my plan has worked! And now I’m going to share every detail on how I made it happen, so you can do the same for yourself!
Wanna get more space out of your own garage of ANY size? Here’s how:
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10 steps towards a single car garage workshop you can park in!
The above photo is how my mess of an overstuffed garage workshop looked when I started in winter.
So first up was time to draw up a plan to start, to ensure my ideas would even fit!
Garage workshop plans
While the above drawing is not to scale, the plan is pretty accurate.
My single car garage measures 12.5 feet wide by 24.5 feet long.
After chatting with my smart brother, he suggested to get the bulk of the workshop to one side of the garage, so I have the ability to back into the garage and open the driver’s door.
After measuring, he was right! 1 worktable that housed my Bosch miter saw and all the building materials could still sit out all the time, which was a must.
The main goal was to have the ability to simply move my truck out of the garage, and get right to work without setting anything else up aside from an additional folding table (if needed) when the need hit.
Here’s my fancy blueprint on where the miter saw on a worktable would eventually sit!
Can you too vision how gorgeous this will ultimately be? LOL
So let’s do a major clean up first. Ya think?!
10 ways to gain more garage workshop space
1. Get rid of good stuff for free!
This wood storage bin was indeed handy for long pieces of lumber, but it was sticking out too far if I wanted to park inside, so it was the first thing that HAD to go.
This bin, along with anything else that I felt was in the way, was placed on my front porch, then posted on Facebook for my neighbours to take for free. Lots was picked up that very evening!
Tip: Want quick pickups? Offer good stuff for free! Or if you don’t mind storing and waiting, you could sell some things as well.
2. Search for new storage space
Being a woodworking shop, I have lots of reclaimed wood to store. (THIS is my fav rack!) But with losing so much space, I needed to find a new place for it.
As luck would have it, last summer I reorganized my garden shed that stores firewood. A middle isle had been created, which became a new wood storage area for plenty of reclaimed wood that I didn’t have room for in the garage. So out a bunch went! Perfect.
3. Reuse what you have in new ways
For years, I had the miter saw sitting on a long workshop table to the right, and another worktable in the center of the garage workshop. It’s been nice having all that table space ready to go, however space has always been tight for larger projects that needed to sit on the floor.
Regardless, if I wanted to park inside, BOTH tables would have to go! Yikes.
And then I came up with a better plan. After measuring, it was determined the smaller table would now house the miter saw, and the larger table could be collapsed along the wall, ready to use when needed. I didn’t have to get rid of either work table after all!
4. Throw out what you don’t need.
One worktable had a massive shelf built under it to store a ton of reclaimed wood. It’s been handy, and when I knew it had to go, this one hurt. But after realizing it fit in the garden shed, what a relief!
But not all would fit. So it was mandatory I go through every board to determine if I’d actually use it or not.
This is a good practice to do at least once a year, because I found a lot of garbage wood I’d likely never use. So out it went, into the back of the truck, bound for the dump! Other clean, untreated wood boards were cut down for fireplace kindling.
While shuffling your stuff helps condense space, getting rid of stuff really truly is the key to gaining more space with less clutter.
Tip: Something that really helps me clean are large reusable yard bags. I like to fill them, throw them in the back of the truck then dump and return them home to reuse again. They are very strong, large and easy to store.
With the work table now free, it was time to move the miter saw on it.
And then move the miter saw table into place!
The plan was working! This is more floor space than I’ve had in 15+ years! I quickly realized, while I may be out a work table, the space it ultimately would give made up for the loss, big time.
So let’s work on the workshop table on the right next.
4. Consider collapsible tables for when needed only
This wooden collapsible work table is no slouch. It’s huge, measuring a whopping 11 feet long! And that workspace is hard to let go of. But I had a grand plan on keeping it after all!
Since the table was fully collapsible, it could sit closed along the right side of the wall so I have the opportunity to use it just when needed!
5. Set small, obtainable goals on cleaning areas
There was 12 years of clutter to remove underneath that table, filled with wood and very heavy tile flooring. It was a BIG task. And way to much to do in a short time span.
So to get the job done without injury or overdoing it, I broke up all the clean up in small increments, or rather, smaller obtainable goals.
For example, all the tile was moved during one session. And the wood in another.
Remember… this whole garage workshop process took me a month! So patience was key. Whenever I had some time to spare, I’d plug in an hour or two on clean up alone, set a small goal and accomplished at least that one area. And if I could do more, it was a bonus.
Tip: A heavy duty moving dolly is your best friend where heavy loads are concerned. I picked mine up at a garage sale many years ago, and while it’s a pain to store sometimes, it’s sure worth it with the amount of times I use it!
With the table now collapsed on the right side, it was time to try and park inside!
I never thought this day would come.
But before I started ripping stuff off walls, painting, and building garage shelves, I decided to do a dry-fit with parking my truck inside first, just to make sure my space planning actually worked.
6. Do a trial park to ensure the vehicle and workshop needs fit
Measuring my truck, I marked off where the back tires would need to stop when backing in, with an 8′ board positioned across the entire parking spot.
This board would stay in place, indicating where to stop before I hit anything.
And by golly friends, I did it. After 15+ long years of parking outside, I was now inside! With plenty of room to open my driver’s door! WOW!
PS: the table is screwed to the wall in case if fell over.
Now knowing everything would fit, it was time to finish up the finer details and get this workshop to really sing!
Right after I cleaned up all the clutter I threw on the miter saw in order to get the truck inside!
Bear in mind, I was working in winter, so shuffling was the key to getting this done during this time of year. Trickier, but not impossible as you’ll soon see.
7. Paint the walls for a fresh start!
So the painting began. I removed all the old decorative woodwork off the walls only to reveal a bunch of drywall holes I completely forgot about. Ah… that’s why I hung the wood there. Right.
I wasn’t about to slow this down with a bunch of drywall filling, so I made other plans. The holes could stay and I’d figure something out to cover them after painting for now. Maybe forever.
There was a cold snap due in a couple of days and my self-induced deadline was to get my truck nice and warm before that hit! There was no time to learn how to become a pro drywaller at the moment.
Wall paint: Cloverdale eggshell pure white straight out of the can
Table paint: General Paint HP 2000 semi gloss pure white straight out of the can
This wall was painted pure white eggshell along with the table also receiving a semi gloss pure white top as well. Nice! And this area even appeared to have its own workshop lighting fixtures perfectly positioned up above!
This bench will also house some custom shelves for the drills, coming soon!
8. Install full swivel casters on the work table for extra saw space
When I initially decided on the miter saw table to be in this spot, space was an issue. My original 11 foot table plus lots of extra room was a prime area to cut long planks of wood. This tighter 6 foot table space was much more limited.
But here’s the fix!
By installing full swivel casters to the table legs, the table slides forward, offering more cutting space for longer boards!
Two door pulls were installed along the front of the table, making it very easy to pull forward, offering LOTS of space to cut the longest boards. It works perfectly!
9. Plan to store very shallow things on the driver’s side of the garage
Next up, the wall space and underside of the collapsed workshop table got painted to clean things up.
The previous shallow shelving was rehung on the wall, positioned so it would clear the folded table. This would ultimately become my car care station for car wax, engine oil and such.
And above the table proved to be the perfect space to hang two aluminum ladders, all taking up very little space!
What. A. Fit!
Tip: The table was screwed to the wall with 1 screw hitting a wall stud, to ensure it didn’t tip over.
10. Protect walls from hanging apparatus with vertical boards
To hang the ladders, I decided to do a little decorative touch that would also protect the walls.
Marking off where the wall studs were, 3 molding boards were painted, then screwed into place. This allowed the hanging ladders to rub against the boards rather than mark up the wall. It worked out beautifully while giving the wall a board and batten look which you’ll soon see!
11. Create custom storage to suit…
Because of my condensed workshop space, some added customizations would be required.
I promise, things start to get a WHOLE lot prettier in the next posts… with plenty of intentional rust too! You just wait…
What do you think of the plans so far? Think my pipe dreams of parking in a single car fully functional garage workshop actually pan out?!
Parking in a Garage Workshop Series
1 – The Plan and the Clean Up (you are here)
Other workshop ideas:
See many other workshop organizing ideas HERE