Tackling the garage this holiday weekend.

claire_de_lunaAugust 31, 2007

Oh my. There is stuff out there that's been there since we remodeled our kitchen in 2004. We took a break, then remodeled the bathroom, and refinished the floors. Since then, the refrigerator in the garage has died, and we've pulled stuff out of the house to set aside for a yard sale that hasn't happened yet. This is the year to reclaim my real estate. First the garage cleaning/organizing, THEN comes the basement! Right now, I need the garage to become a staging area for our sale. (It looks like my car will have to live outside for a few weeks.) There will be a lot of purging going on!

We're looking at the Gladiator wall system for getting stuff off the floor. Has anyone used this? I'm planning on putting our cars in the driveway with space in front so it doesn't look like we're having a yard sale while we sort. There are some built-in cupboards already, but I don't know yet what kind of system to incorporate until I know what I'm going to store in there. I don't think the space has ever been utilized to full advantage. Realistically, we can only get one car in the garage, as we have a older home with a smaller, two car garage and need space for lawn equipment, snowblower, etc. I actually bought my last car with downsizing in mind, so it would be easier to get the car in the garage!

I'm thinking of leaving a wide aisle along the wall with the storage system so we can access it all (tracks with hooks for hanging everything), and parking the mowers near the door. I would also like to incorporate a workbench, which is something DH has never had, although he's had plenty of occasion to use one. I have a potting table in the garage as well, which is front of the car when I park it. (The bags of soil help cushion the bumper.)

What a thing to use a three day weekend for...I'll be glad when it's done. After I get all that STUFF out of my life, I'm taking a vacation! Please think good thoughts for me, since I need all the help I can get! Do you have any tips or words or wisdom for me?

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Ha, Claire. I am still driving a 97 Toyota I selected because it was one of ony *three* vehicles with a wheelbase short enough to fit into my former teeny garage. I must say life is better with a bigger garage these last 8 years.

Just be ruthless. Keep asking yourself if the cost of replacing an item (assuming you ever did really need it and couldn't borrow or rent it) is really worth the cost of storing it. And that cost is not only the price per cubic centimeter of that garage's space but the intangible cost of clutter: the dismay and disgust over the mess, the frustration of not being able to find anything, etc. BE RUTHLESS!

On a former thread I advocated for these cheapo 'handle holder' strips that can elevate a surprising range of 'stuff' from rakes to ladders to jumper cables. Trick is to mount them pretty high, so the mass of the item is well above your head and doesn't impede passsage. Unlike spring clips you have to be able to reach, these are mounted about 8 feet off the floor. They work great and are very inexpensive. Just hook stuff up there to hang.

Mix that up with some closed storage under a workbench/potting bench - backed by pegboard of course for hanging tools etc AND a pegboard mounted box with tiny drawers for screws/nails/tiny items, a clothes hanging pole run (incredibly useful), one taller closed unit for oversized items, and you are good to go. Don't forget to leave a bit of clear wall space to stack storage bins, store the grill, etc.

Go for it!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 12:32PM
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Ah...Celticmoon, that picture is worth 1000 words. Yes, Be RUTHLESS is my mantra for this weekend. Unfortunately, I can already see that my stock of useful tools is much larger than what you own! Yes, we do need most of them, and use them as well. I wouldn't be without my Mantis tiller or leafblower, weed wacker or snowblower for the Big, big driveway...

I'm not looking forward to this, but will be glad when it's over. In the meantime, while I waited on the service guy to fix my freezer (don't ask), I took my hard copied recipes and started putting them into hanging file folders. These are all things I want to "Try", and plan to pick one a week. I guess when I get tired of being on my feet (or they start to swell!), I can always work on that.

Why IS it I always seem to labor on labor day weekend?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 4:24PM
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Surely, my dear, you did not assume that those are all the tools?? That is one of many such strips. Weedwacker and leaf blower also hang. Not the wheelbarrow though. Or the snowblower. Or the turkey fryer. Or the Harley...

Hence the need to save blank wall space. See?

Good luck to you. And do do the before, during and after picture thing here. It helps!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 5:00PM
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Oh! Well, then I feel better now. Yes, of course, Pictures! Great idea, Thanks. Maybe I'll make lunch for tomorrow tonight.

Is it nuts to think about putting the ceiling fan we took out of the bedroom in the garage?

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 5:38PM
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If the garage is a work space (potting bench, work bench, car business) why the heck not install the fan??

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 10:56PM
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We have two in our garage one over the washer and dryer and one over the car area. I think it's a great idea.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 6:26AM
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Ceiling fan: If you install it, that will be a good place to store it up off the floor!! LOL. Do you NEED it there? Will it enhance your garage activities? You spend a lot of time in there? If yes, then by all means. My neighbor put one there and has open floor space to sit under it (he's single--one car, 1 motorcycle, a garden shed for the lawn tractor, etc). He sits out in his garage, door open, and reads.

Use painter's tape or chalk or baking soda to outline your spaces, starting with outlining your car while it's in there--like a dead body on the sidewalk.

Both sides of our garage have DH-built 2 x 4 and particle-board shelves 24" deep, floor to ceiling. It's worked well. Some of the bays are open, no shelves, with nails, fancy hanger systems--whatever each tool hangs best from inside the bay. Works well for garden tools since it gives 3 sides to hang from, increasing the "wall" space. Only works because the shelving is 24" deep.

BTW, I guess you remember Julia Child's home kitchen, now on display in the Smithsonian: a wall of her tools, each one outlined in paint so she put it back in the right space each time. CRITICAL to the system working. Very practical and unpretentious of her. A far cry from our usually fancy kitchens and proof that function should triumph over form more often.

Have a little fun! Can't someone go out and get you something for tomorrow's lunch?? Unless you're on a medically restricted diet, this is the time to indulge in forbidden cravings; just a little reward to keep you happy.

I'm spending the weekend organizing the new-house-building paperwork that covers every surface on 2 desks and is piled in the floor. We just sent the plan to the draftsman and the topo survey was ordered, so I figure I'd better get ready. Also, I'll be taking breaks here, I'm sure. DH brought coffee home just now--that somebody else made for me. A small luxury!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 8:16AM
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Go Claire, GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(Pinktoes,I love the chalk outline idea and will use it when again this fall we magically wedge a third car into a two car garage for winter storage. That is a game of inches.)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 9:17AM
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OK Claire. Break's over. Back to work!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 3:45PM
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Oh! That's funny, Celticmoon! You know I am taking a break; this thing is whipping me good. (How did you know?) We have about 3/4ths of it cleaned out. I'm vacuuming and scrubbing a few surfaces after that. We're hanging a textured shade we took out of the bedroom in the garage to replace some sun worn curtains that have been there for 10 years. By the way, THANKS everyone for giving me ''permission'' to hang that ceiling fan back up. I'm thinking about positioning the work bench right underneath it.

I'm going to need all three days. Just pulling the nails that are everywhere will make me feel better! (Who WERE these people that lived here before us?) I can't believe we let the garage get to this point...I am ashamed of us. But not for long, because I'm going back to work right now!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2007 at 4:12PM
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Oh Ugh. This is like remodeling, only without getting all the cracks in the plaster fixed and without fresh paint. The garage threw up on the driveway, and there is massive cleaning going on, after serious purging. The new ''systems'' have been purchased (recycling bins, fertilizer bins, wall track/hooks, pegboard hooks, temporary work bench sawhorses, shelving and shop vac) and will be in place by late morning. I hope it all goes back more easily than it came out! At least we have a plan.

I'm pooped. I can't wait for tomorrow to be done!

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 9:28PM
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Sleep well, Claire, then press on. It's gonna be great!

I have no regrets over the afternoon I spent two years ago sorting a zillion screws and nails into those little bin drawers.

Take the time. Get it right. And you will be rewarded every day for years to come.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 12:23AM
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So.......... how did you do, claire?

Did you get it done? It would take more than one 3-day weekend to get ours completely cleaned out --but we are making progress, a little at a time. And NOTHING is going in that doesn't belong there. As Talley Sue says -- do no harm!


    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 10:04AM
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Much was accomplished. I woke up this morning with swollen eyes, a heat rash on my chest that spans shoulder to shoulder, and I can hardly walk, but we are finally on our official way. Cathy asked, ''How did we do?'' I think we worked a miracle! We're going to probably need another day and a half to tweak some small spaces, and fine tune some storage issues, but the pile has diminished into storage zones.

DH has a portable workbench with a place for his tools underneath, something he has never had. Since he's using an old door on sawhorses, I think we could probably mount a sliding basket underneath and organize all his screws, nails, etc. into there. I'll be looking for a sliding basket later on this week, along with some clear storage for it. Celticmoon, do you have good ideas for me, since you've already been there, done that? (Thanks for your encouragement to take our time and do it right BTW, that really helped.) DH has some old, antique carpenters tools he wants to hang on the pegboard. We only got started on that, but he's really enjoying the idea of having a place
to look at his ''collection''.

Pinktoes, and msmarion, the ceiling fan is a go, once the rest of space is tweaked. (Yay! It will be right over the workbench, hallelujah.) I love the idea of a chalk outline as much as Celticmoon does, and I'm definitely going to do it. Now that there are official aisles around everything, it all needs to go back in the exact spot. (How did your paperwork weekend work out? I started the weekend sorting all my To Try recipes into files so I could access them, which made me happy!)

Here's one picture of the Wall of Wonder. Finally, we can get to all our tools. It's a miracle!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 12:51PM
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Just as a reference point, here's a ''BEFORE'':

Here's the ''AFTER'':

The top of the workbench is cluttered, since we were still installing shelves in the closets.

I'm noticing the pictures aren't very clear. Forgive me please, I don't think I could keep the camera steady, since I'm pooped!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 1:13PM
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You win the prize for bravest soul on earth. Who else does anyone know that would publicize pictures of their garage?! Nice work. It is a satisfying kind of project, isn't it?

Wait--putting shelves in the closets? What closets--closets in the GARAGE? I must know.

You did far better on your project than I did on my paperwork one since I didn't touch it. And I'm beginning to not be able to find essential things. Got distracted by a pressing need to work on our household budget. The new house commitment means we have to live on a formal budget. My first time since just out of school with loans to repay. (I'm 59 now.) SO, did that instead, finalizing forms now to track everything. I'd rather sort papers.

Please do tell about those closets in the garage!

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 2:25PM
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Pinktoes, Either I'm the brave or just so tired I have no shame. Today, I can't decide. Anyway...about the closets. We have an older home (1948) that has the original built-in cupboards at the front of the garage. They didn't have any shelving though, and weren't utilized well. Ever. Here's an AFTER picture. The empty space is for coolers; a golf bag will sit upright on the right side (where the baseball bat is); the black crates hold automotive stuff. I love having space there, even if it's momentary. Here's a picture.

There's a very small open bench area to the left of the closets that has two small drawers and a little open space below (you can see a bin there). I'm using the little drawers for clean garden gloves (I washed all of them yesterday and a funky pair of shoes) and all the different bits of twine/wire/fasteners I seem to have a lot of. If I keep the space clear, I can set my supplies out there while I'm working at the potting bench.

I'm loving the shoe shelves. Shoes have always been a personal pet peeve and hot spot that I've tripped over constantly. Now there is no excuse for shoes on the garage floor.

Celticmoon, I'd like to hear more about your clothes line storage. I tried hanging one in the basement, but the portable line I hung up didn't last long. (It had a cheap plastic housing that broke.) I wouldn't mind a pull-out line I could hang between the two sides of the garage. That board to the right of the built-ins seems like a great place to hang one. There are doors that open on the side of that board (over the steps) which hold shallow 5 inch shelves. I'm thinking of using them to store empty canning jars or paper towels (which I always have need of, but no room for in the kitchen).

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 3:44PM
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Thanks, claire. I love your potting area and your closet. We kept having to cut square footage in the house we're going to build and what we got left for garage closets is one long one that has 2 doors. It's 10'8" long and 2'8" deep. I'm thinking we won't wall it off inside. The cupboards might actually be more useful, but the closet is cheaper. I had to finally choose between kitchen cabinets and cabinets everywhere else! Of course we have the side walls in the garage too.

You did a nice job.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 7:11PM
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Claire -- you did a wonderful job!! It looks beautiful. And what a difference!

Good luck on the final push -- that always seems to be the hardest for me.


    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 7:45AM
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great job! Wow, such terrific progress and inspiration!

OK, bcs you know I can't resist being the know-it-all, some infrastructure tips.

Workbench needs tool drawers underneath it. I'm a MAJOR fan of shallow drawers for tool storage--you can run out of wall space easily, but drawers allow you to stack stuff vertically and STILL ACCESS IT EASILY. It's not an accident that those tool-drawer units have so many "one flat tool deep" drawers, nor that dentists do, too. Something like this would let you store tools, AND set those bins up on top of it.

A way to increase wall surface--or to move it so that you can put shelves against some of the walls: install pegboard on the SIDE WALLS OF BOOKCASES, either inside, or outside, or both. In other words, each bookcase becomes a short wall sticking out from the main wall. That might let you hang the same number of items in less linear feet of garage wall space, bcs the "wall" would stick out into the room.

I love celtic's idea of mounting the hanging stuff up higher, bcs then you could set bulky things (like the lawnmower) underneath--just be sure it's not too hazardous to reach across that lawnmower, etc. to access the tool on the wall.

I like the idea of drawers for lots of non-tool stuff--duct tape, rope, extension cords, etc. Like your gardening gloves idea. Even those shoebox-size Sterilite drawerswould be nice--instant compartments/dividers for sorting, plus dust and grime protection. And of course I prefer drawers because you can take the middle one in the stack out easily, unlike the plastic shoeboxes w/ lids.

I'm not so sure you need to install other storage solutions--those cabinets you have are pretty good now.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 9:53AM
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Thanks for your kind, encouraging words everyone.

I agree with you Talley Sue on most of your points, although I don't have much room left! I have been talking myself blue in the face about needing drawer storage under the work bench to DH, who doesn't like the mechanic's drawers. He's perfectly fine with his tools being in separate little boxes, even if it drives me nuts. (I may just get something I call roll under the bench in the future anyway, if I can make room.) I suspect it's because for years he needed his tools to be portable since he would take them on the job. I agree with you about drawer storage, simply because it would make it easier for ME to access the tools! The best I can do at this point is to mount wire baskets (that slide) under the length of the door. The rest of the space under the door/bench is taken up with a big tool chest on wheels that doubles as an extra work surface (think L shaped work space), and things like the shop vac and air compressor. When he was installing shelving, he had his tool boxes open (back to back in a square) so he could see everything at once. Even if it isn't what I would do, it seems to be working for him.

The bins at the potting table are full of heavy fertilizer, so I needed the head room for opening the lids and getting into the containers. I keep things low on the wall at the potting bench since I'm short and wanted to be able to reach everything there. There's a big drawer the length of the potting table under the top, so that's really convenient. Since I don't really need any more shallow drawer space in that particular place, it allowed me to purge more items, so that's working for me!

We kept the Wall of Wonder shallow, without putting any heavy equipment on the floor, just so I could reach it all. There are things like my little red wagon (which I use for gardening) that are hung low, so all I have to do is grab the handle and let it roll off the wall.

By parking all the big equipment in the middle of the space, we can maintain a path all the way around and keep a wide aisle around the workbench.

I do need a little help to figure out a way to hang/store some chest waders (for working in the pond). I wonder if I could hang them by the shoulder straps on a hangar near the ceiling. We have a small cultivator on a long pole that might work for getting the hangar down. If you have any better suggestions for me Talley Sue, I'd appreciate it!

Celticmoon made me Google...now I want a clothesline in the garage. I'd love to be able to hang bedspreads to dry. Why is it I can't find a single (narrow) retractable clothesline in metal housing? I need at least 25 feet of line. With the exception of the fertilizer bins and crates, I'm done buying plastic shelves or drawers, because it just doesn't last at my house.

If any of you have any other ideas or tips, please feel free to help me tweak my space!

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 11:11AM
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Well, you just hoist those waders, and anything else up to the ceiling. Here's the ceiling laundry rods I found when I was obsessing over how to fit a clothes drying rack into my then-too-small laundry room. It's from joyfulspincycle.com who also has the butterfly rack I'm going to order.

Looks like they'll shorten the bars to your measurement. Anyway, this isn't literally what you need, but the idea is. Anyone with more spatial smarts than me could probably read the installation guide and figure out how to rig a hoist.

The ceiling--where no man has gone!

I also did a google search for "ceiling mount clothesline" and there's stuff out there. First page came up with one mounted off the sides of your garage door's overhead tracks.

Here is a link that might be useful: hoist it all up to the ceiling

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 1:12PM
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I suspect it's because for years he needed his tools to be portable since he would take them on the job.

I wonder if you could give yourself some time to find something that would give you BOTH those things--drawers, and portability.

I *know* I've seen tool boxes w/ drawers as part of their makeup. Your DH could get a couple of them, maybe?

Craftsman makes one in plastic

Stax-on makes this one for $70.

Although these mostly all have lids that need to be opened, so you couldn't set stuff on top of them.

Some of the smaller tool chests have handles on the sides, I think--so he could port them. (though some of them have top lids that lift, too--a pain under the table, frankly)

You could also consider a mixed solution for him--some w/ drawers, and some of his bins.

But if it's working for him, it's probably best not to disrupt it now.

(me, I want those shallow drawers. I may put one of those 3-drawer tool kits on my Christmas list--but I want one that will slide on the shelf end-in, LOL! I don't have any shallow storage areas; all my places to put tool kits are at least 18" deep)

For the clothesline--you might just consider jury-rigging something w/ a pulley and screw eyes. As long as you can fasten it at both ends securely, then to store it, you just needs something sort of tidy--it doesn't have to be a retractable reel. And if you could find someway to make a hook of some sort support the clothesline, then you might be able to get away w/ a plastic mechanism to simply wind the unused cord into. Sort of like this one--just make the "fasten it to the wall" mechanism separate from the reel itself? Maybe cleats on each end to wrap the line around? Or get a wire cable, w/ the fasteners attached at each end to hook into screw eyes?

a steel line pulley; could you use it to help make your own?

retractable clotheslines

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 1:15PM
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pinktoes, that ceiling mounted laundry rack is a useful tool! You made me think though...I have a 7 inch cast iron pulley that isn't doing a thing for me just hanging around. I could certainly use that for the waders. Why not? (I'm just afraid if I have a bar to hang things on, I could go a little crazy keeping stuff I need to purge!)

And, Talley Sue...I LOVE the idea of a vintage model clothesline for the garage. In fact, the aluminum one you linked to might be made to work if it's only a matter of a few inches. You can bet I'll be remeasuring tonight! The reason I liked that one in particular is because we have an aluminum sign mounted on the cabinets from the lightning rod company the original owner of the house bought for the roof. (Now the trees are much higher than the roof, but of course that was then.) It is also the same vintage as my house, so I'd love to make that work if there's any way. Once again, you come through Talley Sue! ALSO, I'm on the same page about the ''portable'' tool boxes with drawers. I'll ask what he thinks about those; the only drawback I can see is with his current system, he can open everything up and see it all at once, which would be harder to do with drawers.

Thank You, Thank You!

I just got home from Lowe's with another bin, some sliding wire baskets and a few other organizing tools I needed to finish. With everyone's help, I think I may actually get there and can call it good by next weekend. I'll let you all know how the pulley idea resonates with the "wader guy", what he thinks about small chests with drawers, and if I can make a vintage clothesline work.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2007 at 4:14PM
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Great ideas on clothes lines. I must defer any credit though.

Mine is quite ordinary and outdoors (the old fashioned 5 ropes strung between garage and heavy duty cemented in pole). What is in the garage is just a regular five foot closet pole mounted in an open spot between shelving. Yes, it takes up space, but it is excellent for motorcycle clothes, snow wear, etc. Bulky stuff that would consume indoor closet space.

Claire it looks sooooooooo much better!! You gotta feel good about it. Too bad DH can't get his head around a slicker tool storage system...metal drawers would be nice....

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 11:37PM
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Thanks Celticmoon. Yes, I feel pretty good about it. We're spending one more day on it, and I hope by then we'll have a good, working system. DH has a wider door for his ''bench'' and we'll be reworking some overhead storage. We'll probably hang a fan in couple of weeks.

Also, my thanks to you for sparking the idea of a clothesline in the garage. Once we hang the ceiling fan, anything I hang should dry much more quickly. I went ahead and ordered the retractable clothesline Talley Sue linked to (Many Thanks Talley Sue!) that is 60' long, but holds a lot of weight. Although I don't need that much line, everything else was too short, and at least I can be assured it won't break on me. At this point I just want something that's going to work in the space available.

The pulley idea didn't work out, since we have run out of wall space. (Too many tools!) With the clothesline, I can hang the waders to dry, then roll them up to the boots and put them in a crate. That's one way to make it work!

I forgot to mention I found about 3 items in the garage I've been looking for (for a very long time). What a great feeling!

I'm Googling, but does anyone have a source for 3x3 or 4x4 inch square plastic containers? I'm looking for a way to utilize the space best in the wire ''drawers''. I'd like to pull them open and see everything in there. I don't need lids, but prefer open containers since it will be mounted under the door.

I'll be glad when I can quit trying to make things work and everything is functioning as it should. I'm not complaining, especially when I think of how long it's been the other way...

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 2:05PM
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well, these Rubbermaid office-supplies cubes are 6x6x6"

If you don't need something w/ tall sizes, there are Rubbermaid (and other) drawer organizers intended for office drawers or kitchen drawers
like these for deep drawers (there's a 4"-square one that's 3-1/8" high--pretty close to a cube)

these have open fronts--intended to go on a shelf

how about this? I searched on "acrylic" and "cube" and got

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 2:50PM
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Thanks Again, Talley Sue! You are the ''go to'' girl, we love. I'll be getting my materials together first and then deciding what size. I appreciate all the help I've received in getting my garage pulled together. Thank You All!

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 5:51PM
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