For almost ten years, our 16 X 10 feet Spacemaker shed housed the junk that I cleared out of our basement when I converted the space into a yoga room, an office and a studio. Although I referred to the outbuilding as the garden shed, it became, over time, a storage room for all of those “rainy day” items. Now, more than one thousand rainy days later, I decided to empty the shed. When I opened the doors, I couldn’t step inside without pulling things out of the way. I didn’t take a picture, but even if I had, I still wouldn’t post it here. The place was a shambles, an overwhelming sight and sharing it would cause such embarrassment.
Allowing the space to evolve in that way was a personal trait that I hadn’t noticed before. How could I be such a clutter-bug? Nevertheless, with a 12ft. tall sailboat on a 30ft. trailer parked in the yard, and a gutsy, determined attitude, I took a deep breath…and begged my wife for her help. We went through the stuff and voted on whether to ditch it or gift it. Most of it was useless and went to the city dump. Hoarding the items, a decision we made a long time ago, no longer made any sense. Workshop or not, going through the shed was cathartic. I wished we had done so earlier.
Back in 2014, we renovated a 1967 Yellowstone Camper. I mentioned the project because the garden shed at that time was the bane of my every day. Inundated shelves, cranky old tools and a tangle of overloaded extension cords intensified frustration and often led to a tantrum. One day, my questionable behavior came up in conversation. My wife pointed out that if I repeated the hurling of objects and expletives, the Yellowstone camper would become my new home. “You’ll be out on your ear,” she said. With that freshened perspective, converting the shed into a well-organized workshop garnered every ounce of my enthusiasm.
Before long, I drilled out the studs, pulled all the cables and installed my outlet devices. I used 20 amp, #12 gauge Metal Clad Cable (12/2 MC) which provided one 20 amp circuit for the workshop. Mechanics, welders and carpenters’ wood-shops demand much higher amperage, but for my solitary work as a sailboat enthusiast, a 20-amp circuit is adequate. 12/2 MC is easy to work with, and impervious to inquisitive squirrels. The materials for the 20-amp circuit, including a dozen receptacles and a fluorescent light fixture, cost less than $100.
As a licensed electrician, I always make sure that my work follows the N.E.C. standards for both indoor and outdoor installations. Please check with a licensed professional before carrying out electrical work. While installing the equipment yourself will save money, it should not cost you your life.
After completing so many projects; the yoga room, home office, jeweler’s bench, recording studio, artist’s retreat, model mountain railroad, raised-bed veggie garden, chicken coop, decks, fences, and a camper renovation, I discovered that walking around on a grimy surface distracted my untapped genius. In my brilliant mind, stepping in filth diminished me. Okay, I’m joking. At least, it grated my nerves.
For the workshop, I needed a project-resistant floor covering that cleaned up easily, and yet wouldn’t devour my budget. Fortunately, I found some “peel and stick” floor tile, or “luxury vinyl plank” in a clearance sale at our local hardware store. At 98 cents per square foot, it converted the grubby, chipped plywood shed floor into an attractive and durable work-space. Even with the purchase of the plywood underlay, which comes already primed for the vinyl tiles’ adhesive, the new workshop floor cost less than $250, including the screws for the underlay.
One helpful tip: If you decide on a similar product as the one I selected on price, here is something to bear in mind. The vinyl plank system relies on an almost invisible “tongue and groove” structure and only fits together if laid in one direction. An arrow printed on the adhesive shield directs the correct installation. In my case, however, seeing the new tiles transforming the grotty old floor excited me. Occasionally, I rushed the job, and installed a piece the wrong way. A few hours later, without the support of an adjacent member, the improperly laid tile became partially unstuck and consequently needed replacing.
Finally, getting rid of old stuff isn’t easy. Who knows why we hold on to past acquisitions that no longer enhance our lives. Objects, habits, memories, and emotions color each precious moment. I hated the shed. Its contents reinforced my fear of scarcity and yet owning each valueless object increased my idea of self-worth. I believed I couldn’t live without them. Now, the Catalina 25′ dominates my yard, her potential invigorates my life just as her renovation transformed our old garden shed. Already, I wish I had a name for my boat. Perhaps you have a good idea. I look forward to reading your comments, and I thank you for reading my blog.
Next time, I’ll open the doors to my workshop and introduce my $50 workbench. You’ll be amazed what you can do with fifty bucks! I hope you enjoy the gallery I posted displaying an overview of the Catalina 25’s current condition. Find it here on my website or click on the link, “Catalina 25 Pics.”
Until next time, have a great week!