Thursday, October 2, 2014

Repurposing Space

This week was different. My Dad decided he wanted his garage cleaned out. Dad is 94 and he was worrying about what would happen with all his 'stuff', a lifetime of collecting, duplicating, adding to his carpentry avocation.

We are talking thousand of nails, screws, small metal things in containers. Then we are talking about multiple duplicates of screwdrivers, chisels, bits, hammers, and so much more. Boxes and shelves filled with small pieces of wood ends. The entire garage is lined both sides with 8 inch deep floor to ceiling shelves (and over the work beach is a door cupboard built to hold hundreds of small carpenter tools - which it did over time).

This is the fourth (at least) clean out of Dad's carpenter tools. My brothers have over time been given things (big electric and battery operated things, carpenter stuff) over the years. What was left was small. Lots and lots of small.

Except Dad's work bench. Its a Lee Valley and he has had it in the single garage attached to his condo/suite for about 30 years. It has been a wonderful work bench which he used well and frequently, with great pleasure, as he built, repaired and created.

This is where repurposing space comes in.

I have an 8 ft 10" x 12 main floor office (bedroom repurposed into an office). It was FULL all my stuff - paper and overflow things, paint that I use for my projects, years of paperwork, collectibles, books, etc. plus my computer stuff on my desk. Note that I did not tidy anything before I took the pictures today (what, you never guessed !!).

Cleaned out the closet and moved DH tools and stuff into that space. Plan was to have all the tools/supplies related to repair and fixing located here. (this occurred before the request from Dad to clean his garage). Original plan was so much simpler. That was the entire plan, repurpose the closet.

Then Dad's request came and this blew our small plan into a GIANT job. First to get moved out was DH's big roll top desk. It is now in the living room. Next was my sewing fixings in a tall plastic bins on wheels unit. Ouch. Then about 10 bags of stuff that I have to sort and deal with plus about 25 frames/pictures I was saving for repair or repurposing. Haven't done any of this work yet. Its all piled in the bedroom. Paint moved into the hall small closet where 2 shelves of power tools had been stored. Shelving unit that housed the paint and stacks of paper and stuff is sitting in the living room waiting for its new placement.


First workshop with a white carpet on the floor. Might have bothered me but when I was vacuuming a 6 inch area of wool carpet just pulled right off the backing.

Moving the workbench took two days. One work session was used to box up the stuff on top and remove the drawers and contents behind from the cabinet doors.

Next was convincing my DS to drive over with me and load the unit into his truck. DH put the bench on the trolley and got it to the front steps and together we lifted, slid, pushed and settled it against the long wall (in the small office room). I notice that a long scratch is now decorating the hallway floor.

So far computer is staying on its own desk in the repurposed space. Today the new rule in the house is: no sanding or sawing in this room. My Dad built the desk for me when I was about 13 and it has moved everywhere with me. It was my desk in high school and university and then my sewing table until about 1985  when it became a computer desk so it has had many varied purposes.

The shabby green dresser will be holding workshop stuff too after I clean out the bottom drawer (paint/wax/brushes in top 2 drawers).This wonderfully aged dresser was had worn and chipped paint and distressing long before it became mine. Not easy to get a good color match in the evening.

DH added some more shelves this afternoon to a previously used somewhere else in the house shelf and we started to sort and fill. You can see that it is a bit of a 'tight squeeze'.

Room view of office with changes to date.

A lot more sorting will be going on, as will cleaning, reviving the finish on the workbench and serious decluttering.

Thanks for visiting.

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  1. It is tough to downsize parents belongings even if they are willing. It took years to accumulate and is hard to make sure everything goes to its proper home - nice rescue on the furniture pieces. Kind of tough to live with until everything is sorted out though :)

  2. What a huge project! I'm assuming your dad was a carpenter by trade. You have a good heart. My parents are gone and I was surprised that it didn't take long to deal with their things, they were very organized and my mom hated clutter (unlike me!). I sometimes worry about all my accumulated stuff and I'm not even that old and have no plans to go anywhere soon. But I'd be embarrassed if my kids saw some of the weird things I collect and save!!

    Hang in there and keep up the good work, Joy!

    Jane xx

  3. Whew! That makes me tired just thinking about all of that! How nice it will be when you get it all finished. Don't overdo!


  4. Joy, When I read this I felt sad...bless your father's heart. My husband is 62 and I think the same things when I am in our garage/workshop. He has every nook and cranny loaded. I do not know where to begin to even help clean his stuff up. I told him we need to sort and toss. my husband has worked with wood for years now. But he doesn't need more stuff he needs less. He has given his son lots of things and his son is starting to work with wood , so that's the good side. Wishing you the best. xoxo,Susie

  5. Such a job to have to downsize and move so many things but it will be so organized and easy to work in when you are done. Thank you for sharing with Share It One More Time. Cathy

  6. This is a huge undertaking, you Dad sure love wood, was he a carpenter or did he just love working with his hands. Hang in there, a little bit at a time, and it will get "better". Maybe if you get the time please share at Sunday's Best going on now

  7. Such a big task ahead, but it will be so nice once done. I can only imagine all the things your dad has created and fixed in his space...
    Thanks so much for sharing at AMAZE ME MONDAY...

  8. It is so wonderful you were able to save your dad's workbench. This will be a creative space. Love that distressed dresser and the desk your dad made. Thank you so much for sharing this on Make It Monday.

  9. What a tough job Joy. I can relate to his love for wood ... me too and love to build things. That work table is wonderful and great industrial piece. When I cleaned out my Mom's house, each child took what they had given her and we sold the rest. Of course, she did not have much, but still a hard job to see her things go.
    Take care of yourself.
    Audrey Z. @ Timeless Treasures


Thanks for visiting. I read and appreciate all your comments. Joy

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