Behind the Screens is a weekly 9to5Toys series that takes you through our writers’ setups, be it mobile, desktop, gaming or home theater. Next up is Michael Potuck, Editor 9to5Mac.

We’ve been showcasing the various setups of our team, and mostly focusing on desktop workstations. However, Trevor first spiced things up when he showed off his slick coffee bar. Today I’m taking you on a tour of my garage and how I’ve turned it into a clean, organized, and useful space.

It’s hard for me to remember exactly when I started enjoying organizing so much, but I think it happened back in college. Years later, I came across The Minimalists in 2013 and I really enjoyed diving into their ideas and the intentionality it brought. Particularly, the idea that minimalism isn’t about getting rid of everything, or only having a certain amount of possessions, but that minimalism can look different for everyone.

Minimalism is the thing that gets us past the things so we can make room for life’s important things, which aren’t things at all.

The idea of being more intentional with my time and possessions has spread to all areas of my life, including the garage : ) I know that it can become an easy place to collect junk or items that are in limbo, so my goal with the garage was to make it feel useful, clean, and spacious.

My wife and I decided to put our larger items on the north wall and the tools and everything else on the south wall, intentionally leaving most of the west wall empty.

I know this isn’t possible for everyone, but we really enjoy being a one car family. We’ve been doing this for about the last seven years and have found a lot of benefits. It also automatically makes our two-car garage feel huge. I love having the extra space for setting up my saws and other tools for projects and it’s fun to let friends and family park in our garage, especially in the winter.

Walls |

After a friend of mine started a business around using pallet wood to make small, reclaimed wood furniture pieces, I got the idea to use the free resource to finish our garage. About 2/3rds of it was unfinished, so I insulated it and started collecting pallets.

Pallet wall in progress

I found ripping down the pallets with a sawzall (reciprocating saw) to be the best approach. Here’s a good demonstration of the process if you’re interesting in doing any pallet wood projects.

Free pallets are easy to come by once you start looking for them. I always just make sure to check in with businesses or homeowners before taking them.

A couple good tricks are to look in alleys and behind stores and businesses. Also, let your friends and family know if you’re looking for pallets, you’ll likely have more than you know what to do with in no time!

Bicycles, stand-up paddle boards, and more |

On the north wall we went with our bikes and other other large, activity based items. This wall is next to the empty car bay so it’s easy to get things down and put back up. Here’s the finished product:

For our bike mounts, I used the CargoLoc Folding Bicycle Rack, Clug is also a really cool and simple product to store bikes efficiently.

For our stand-up paddle boards, I went with large utility hooks, and a little bit smaller ladder-style hooks to prop up our bike trailer and to hang our bike rack for our vehicle. In the middle of our bikes I used a couple of 3-inch screws to make a little mount for our bike pump.

At one point I was hanging my golf clubs up on the wall, but keeping them on the ground has proved a lot more convenient and there was a nice space for them next to the lockers. I keep a bicycle repair stand tucked away behind the bike trailer to easily maintain our own bikes.

A section of vintage lockers rounds out this area of the garage, we were fortunate to find them at a neighbor’s house who was giving them away for free!

Workbench, tools, storage, and more |

The south wall of our garage features the most storage with the majority of our tools, workbench, and other items. While there are endless ways to create storage, we went for Rubbermaid’s TwinTrack system. This allows you to easily customize what you need for your space and offers several colors too. We went for white hardware and used unfinished pine boards in a variety of sizes to make the shelves.

For the workbench, I’ve really been loving this Husky adjustable-height top workbench. I have an older version with a manual crank, it seems like they only sell the new motorized version now. In any case, you can save a good amount of cash if you opt for a home improvement store’s in-house brand.

I appreciate having an adjustable-height top as you can easily switch from sitting to a standing bench.

Above my workbench I’ve got a stainless steel pegboard to hold my most frequently used tools. Another favorite item is a magnetic parts bowl to hold screws, nails, washers, nuts and anything else when I’m working on a project.

You’ve probably noticed that I’m a big fan of Ryobi tools. I’ve been using them for almost a decade and have had a great experience all around. Even my 18V batteries from ten years ago are still kicking.

Overall, I’ve found Ryobi tools to be reasonably priced, and I like the super wide variety of tools that work with the same battery.

For storage, we’ve got IKEA’s Samla containers. I like how simple and clean they are, and they’re also affordable. Sterilite and Rubbermaid make lots of great options too.

Down below, I keep my heavier tools like the table saw and miter saw. It’s also handy that our electric mower folds up for compact storage. In the corner of the garage there’s also a shovel, broom, tool holder.

To keep the garage floor tidy, we’ve got the TruContain car mat. I really like its simple and sturdy construction. Some products out there have a hard plastic edge that clicks together, but these seem like they’re a pain to clean and end up breaking over time.

The TruContain mat has raised, rounded edges that keeps rain, snow, and mud in, but is still just part of the mat. It makes it really easy to hose off too.

Our garage door opener didn’t already have WiFi or HomeKit connectivity, so I went for the Chamberlain MyQ setup to make it a Siri-compatible smart garage door.

Liftmaster/Chamberlain are the same company and their MyQ products are interchangeable. It can be a bit tricky to figure out what all you need, but if it’s not already WiFi enabled, you’ll likely need both a MyQ conversion kit and a HomeKit bridge kit. For more on making your old garage door smart, check out this HomeKit Weekly post.

I think that about covers it! If you’ve got any questions on anything about my garage setup, feel free to share in the comments below or give a shout to @michaelpotuck on Twitter.

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