Storage in the Garage

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Sheila H wrote
on Jul 29, 2008 6:06 AM

Since I have lost my spare room to keep all of my beading goodies, I have thought about moving everything out to my garage. It is a one car but no car goes in there. Between the lawn mower, washer/dryer, boxes from our move 7 years ago ( I know that is another whole posting ), tools etc, there is not room for the car. 

Along one wall is shelving that is typical of a garage. A lower shelf with a an upper shelf that is almost chest high. My thought was that I could do some cleaning and rearranging and get myself a nice area. There is one vent out there for heat/air but by no means is it as warm/cool as the house. The washer/dryer is out there but they are vented to the outside. 

My concern is that something could get damaged by the temperature and humidity changes. I did not know if it would be more headache than it was worth. I would hate to do all that work and then have everything tarnish quick or something. 

I could store somethings in the house if needed. I probably would the finished pieces. 

I can envision such a nice work area out there. I could leave things that are in progress where the cat and dog could not get to them ( not to mention the humans that move things ). 

What are your thoughts? I do stringing so I use mostly gemstone or crystal beads, some metal things, wire, string, etc. 

Before I do all that work, I wanted some advice. 

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Billy Z wrote
on Jul 29, 2008 8:46 AM

 The temperature changes don't mean anywhere near as much as humidity changes. With humidity changes, you get condensation and no piece of work should have to go through that. However, there is a relatively easy and cheap way to work around that. You can get these plastic tubs with lids in just about any size, shape, and color that you can imagine. Put anything that is not going to be used in a day or three in these tubs along with a couple of those silica moisture absorbing packs(auto section of Wal Mart, called capet and trunk drier or something like that) and  your problem is virtually eliminated. Anything that is going to be stored for a long time should be in airtight containers with the same silica packs in them. If you see any condensation onthe sides of any of the containers, you need more silica in there. The few of them that I have are clear and you can see the little water droplets building up on the inside of them with no silica when the humidity rises.

 As for working out there, you can get a little window AC unit  to help the central out on the cooling. A 5K BTU widow AC is roughly $100 and are pretty energy efficient. I have 3 of them cooling my house and my power bill is less than half of what it was last year with just the central unit alone. My central died, so I spent $300 on the AC's instead of $1200 or more on a new central.

 You can also get a small space heater to put right near your feet to help out the furnace in the winter. I have a gas burner that connects directly to a 20lb propane bottle and it heats up my 14'x14' workshop in about 30 minutes, then I can turn it down until it is barely on to keep it that way. I have been using one tank for 2 seasons and going into the 3rd now, but it is just about empty. We have very mild winters as a rule here in SC, so your gas usage will vary by climate. One of these is about $50 or so, plus the cost of a gas bottle.

 Just some thoughts for what they are worth. Maybe there is a speck of usable material in there. *laughz*

 Billy ;o)

 I yam wut I yam and dats all wut I yam. ~Popeye~

Dragonfly Jewelry Designs - ArtFire Artisan Studio


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Sheila H wrote
on Jul 29, 2008 11:01 AM

Beggers can't be choosy...right? I will take any and all advice I can get. I have some other totes out there and nothing seems to really get any condensation on them and nothing has mildewed etc. I know that sometimes if I am running the dryer ALOT in one day, the windows will but that is it. 

At least I know more of what to watch for. I did not want to stick everything out there and then ruin it all and have to replace it all. 

If you think of anything else let me know please!?!

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SariY wrote
on Jul 30, 2008 5:14 AM

 I  am a florist and have worked for years in my garage.. I loved it in the summer, the door was open and people on the street would come by and chit chat, I loved having the open air and did not feel couped up.

But I wonder how it would feel in the winter.. Although I leave near Toronto , ontario, so we have bad winters.... I would feel like I was working  not in a happy place..Can you make it a happy place.????..

I am moving , and wondering where I am going to set up my beading work area, There are benefits to be secluded from the rest of the house, but, I also, don't want to feel like I have been banished to the dark ....

As long, as you feel this is a good place for you to feel creative...

Just a thought for you


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on Aug 3, 2008 12:33 AM

Hi Shiela,

I remember when I was growing up in IL, where my Grandparents also lived, for several years my Grandma had her workshop in the garage because the basement wasn't finished.  The long story is on my profile, but short story, Grandma made Christmas ornaments year round and always had 2 or 3 going at any given time.  Grandpa put together a wonderful station for her that eventually made it into her finished workshop in the basement.  He used what I think was drywall material and baby food jars with their lids.  He first put hooks on the back of the drywall, then on the front he nailed on the baby food lids so that the jars could easily then be screwed onto any open lid.  Then he hung these boards up onto the work area wall.  Grandma didn't usually do any of her work in the garage, she had 2 or 3 TV trays on which she would put her supplies and then bring into the house, wherever she decided she wanted to work.  Once her workshop was completed in the basement, all the crafts from around the house went into that area (all the crocheting and tatting, the sewing machines and material, embroidery work, everything-lucky Grandma!), and we all went with her to do our own little projects while she beaded her ornaments.  She still had those TV trays for nights with Lawrence Welk, The Wonderful World of Disney and Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom and Grandpa and me, and they continued to work well for everyone.

I guess my hint is next time you're out and about at garage sales or flea markets, invest in a couple of the old-fashioned TV trays, then stop by and pick up some silicone packets and some non-tarnish strips as mentioned in the other posts.  Set up your workshop for Spring and Fall use and use a portable solution for the harsh Summer and Winter.

Happy beading!!

on Aug 3, 2008 12:59 AM

Man, what a trip down memory lane!  You must be my age, because I remember watching all those shows with my grandparents, and Grandma always had some kind of craft project going. My mom used to joke that Grandma could watch TV, knit an afghan, drink coffee, feed a baby, smoke a cigarette and hold a conversation all at the same time.  Grandpa used to have a workshop out in his garage, and he made several dollhouses worth of furniture for all his granddaughters when we got to that age. 

Who says a garage is for parking cars anyway?  We couldn't fit one in ours at the moment if we tried (the motorcylce fits, thoughWink).  If I could work in the garage, maybe I could actually use a torch, soldering iron, kiln, etc.  Probably not now, but maybe someday...



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Sheila H wrote
on Aug 3, 2008 3:31 AM

 My thought was to do like Sunrise's grandma. Where I could work in the garage if I needed the peace and quiet but that I could bring a tray of supplies into the house. Thanks for the TV tray idea. I had not thought of those exactly but they would be great!

I mentioned this to my hubby and he thought it was a great idea. He is into black powder pistols which has a ton of supplies as well. He was thinking we could each have a spot and clear out some room in our bedroom where it is all piled.

I have heard about the baby food jars. That is a great idea for storing the beads! weekend my hubby is off work so maybe we can get busy on this project!

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on Aug 3, 2008 4:37 PM

 Sheila, I think you and your hubby would love the garage organization, not to mention all the extra room you'll find in the house when you've gotten everything done.  Grandma and Grandpa had a 2-car garage but only 1 car since Grandma didn't drive.  So they had plenty of room for 2 separate work areas - Grandpa was quite the handyman so he had plenty of pegboard for all his tools and utensils.  He also put up several wall shelves to hold bulk supplies for both of them (like Grandma's foam ornaments in different shapes and sizes and for all the silk-covered balls too, Grandma's collection of balls has always been a running family joke too).  I remember that there was room for all the work area stuff, the lawnmower and yard supplies, the car and even a huge artificial Christmas tree that served as Grandma's display.  I loved that garage and have a lot of special memories about it -- is that strange or what??  Anyhoo, what part of IN are you in?  I was born and raised right outside Peoria, IL so I understand some of your seasonal concerns.  I wish I lived closer, I love projects like this!

Jen, I think I am a bit older than you.  Although there seems to be a higher connection between crafters that transcends age.  Read my next post in the newcomers forum to find out more.  Wink


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on Aug 3, 2008 4:43 PM

 I forgot to mention something about the TV trays.  My thoughts on using the old-fashioned style is because the ones Grandma used had a bit of a curved lip.  I'm still on the hunt for the older style and most of the new TV trays I've found don't have this lip.  I find that what I've had to do for myself since I don't have a dedicated work desk is use my bed table with a lip on top of my new style TV tray.  I hate it, the tray slides all around.  Anyone have suggestions on how to keep it from moving, something that wouldn't mean altering the surface of the TV tray?  Confused

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Sheila H wrote
on Aug 3, 2008 5:26 PM

 You might try some of the rubbery shelf liner stuff. It is not expensive and you can cut it to shape. When you don't want to use it, roll it up. I don't know if a normal bead mat would prevent the slipping or not. The shelf liner can be found at Wal-Mart, etc usually with the contact paper. It is not alot $3-5 depending on how big of a roll you buy.

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cyberhole wrote
on Oct 30, 2008 3:16 AM

 Spending money on good storage containers and a safe "designated" spot to store them in is of great importance.  Let me tell you my story;   I was a pro dancer and entertainer until I was in a car accident with an illegal  undocumented driver which I then became disabled.  I since found beading was what I really wanted to do with my life.  I took all the free clases I could find.  Then I bought some  stackable stroage containers that were on sale.  It took a long time for me to  scimp and scrape for the beads findings ect.    I brought my stackable container with everything I had acquired  to bead class with me. .  Then  The stackable started to  snap  apart Beads where everywere It happened 3 times I new  I had to do something because it would fall apart before I got home.  So I found a big trash bag and put it in there took it home.  When my friend came over he thought hed give me a hand an  threw away the "trash bag. and two days later when I looked for my equipment  everything was gone.   GET GOOD EQUIPMENT, STORE IT WELL, LOOK  AT IT APPRECIATE IT EVERY DAY

How  and where do I start  to aquire equiptment all over again in a timely fashion  Any ideas?

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popnicute wrote
on Oct 30, 2008 8:01 AM

wow, cyberhole, you need to ask for "replacement money" to your friend!! that sucked!

anyway, websites like and sells complete list of beading supplies & tools. you may check them if you want :)

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Sheila H wrote
on Oct 30, 2008 8:39 AM

I am so sorry to hear about that disaster! 

I watch Hobby Lobby and will only buy when they are 50% off. If you go to their website you can sign up for the e-mail. You will get the e-mail on Sunday ( which they are closed ) but you can plan for Monday! ( At least that is what I do ). Most of their items go on 50% on a rotating schedule ( usually about every 3-4 weeks ). I buy accordingly. 

Also Fire Mountain Gems has the reduce pricing after 15 items. Make a wish list. Then look for something very inexpensive that can put you over the 15 item mark. There are some small 4 mm glass faceted beads that are like $1.50 for a 16 inch strand. Even if you just get a few of those it can knock the price down of everything. Once I had 13 items for like $80, added those to strands ( one black and one white ), the $3 I spent saved me about $25 for the whole order. Definitely do a wish list as you can always edit down. 


Good Luck with it!

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on Oct 30, 2008 8:55 AM

In larger cities, Pawn Shops have the darndest things!!  On PBS, Norm Abrams (This Old House and The New Yankee Workshop) visited one and purchased some tools there.

Also, lapidary equipment retailers may have some used equipment, if you chose to use your own stones, or want to harden you wire work in a tumbler.

Stan B.

Stan B.

Lakeland, MN


Ignorance is curable; Stupidity has neither cure nor excuse.

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LaVonne@4 wrote
on Oct 30, 2008 9:25 AM

 I just started teaching a basic beading class in San Diego. One suggestion I offer my students is to use a towel for a beading surface.You could easily roll the edges to prevent any roll-aways, though I don't think you would need to. You could take this idea even farther and make a casing all around the towel, with a draw string, which would turn the towel into a bag to hold your current project when you need to do a quick pick up. I favor using white, since that makes it easier to determine the color of similar beads.

Another idea you might like is to just buy the inexpensive beading trays they sell at JoAnn's and Michael's. These are pretty cheap, and even better with the 40% off coupons they publish on Sundays and on the web. Though I bought the larger size, the smaller size is easier to take to classes and is just fine for almost any project.

Good luck and have fun, LaVonne

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