“Will you marry me?” I said as I looked at the finished product.
“I get that a lot,” she said. She being Rachel Strisik of Rachel and Company.
“What? How? Who did this?” exclaimed Mr. Wired Momma as his eyes darted around the garage in total disbelief.
We both were like little Lucy Lou from Whoville, eyes starry with wonderment. Only the vision before us wasn’t the Grinch dressed as Santy Claus…the vision before us was:
A mere 3.5 hours BEFORE, it looked like this:
Now that I’ve given you a peek, let’s back up and start at the beginning.
Mr. Wired Momma is impossible to shop for when it comes to birthdays or holidays. Way back in September, as I was flipping through boards of admirable homes on Pinterest (#NeverAGoodIdea,IsIt?), I stumbled upon an image of a perfectly organized garage and these words stumbled from my mouth:
You Complete Me.
Refresh your memory and look up again at what my garage looked like now that I’ve shamelessly exposed myself. And for full disclosure, I fondly think of it as my Sharage. It’s bigger than a Shed but smaller than any garage I’ve ever seen. Since we moved in back in July, our Sharage became the dumping ground. We had bigger projects to tackle but as I’ve slowly crossed those off the list, the disaster of the Sharage started weighing on my shoulders.
But seriously – I knew that if we didn’t tackle the Sharage soon, suddenly five years would pass and the disaster would just continue to grow and become a beast. And there, on Pinterest, was the solution. A perfectly organized garage. I don’t keep the inside of my home in the same state as the Sharage, so why shouldn’t the sharage also be a functional and useful space? One I don’t shut my eyes as I toss the trash in and scurry quickly away? One that I only send Mr. Wired Momma into to find something because I fear a family of fat rats is nesting under the tarps strewn on the floor.
But the execution part was the hurdle. Isn’t it always? I mean – who has the time? And where do I begin? And when am I ever going to get Mr. Wired Momma to find the spare time to go to Home Depot and buy the peg boards and then hang them and then actually hang anything on them? And should I keep going? Because this was the process I went through in my head. I had to realistically think through if this project would ever reasonably be completed by us – though we are capable of doing it – before we reach retirement age? Would our children allow us to work uninterrupted for an entire weekend?
I suppose if we SENT THEM AWAY
But if we sent them away — is THAT how we would want to spend our free time?
Is it a complicated place inside my head? Or do you get me? I think you get me. Blame Pinterest for all of it.
Then I remembered the lovely Rachel Strisik, who I interviewed last January for an organization piece, who runs her own home organizing business, Rachel and Company, and I knew she was the answer to my dilemma. So off I went to email Rachel with my secret Sharage Birthday gift idea. This was back in September. She responded promptly and we scheduled a time in October for her to come see the Sharage. During that meeting, she really took her time to ask me questions on what I wanted it to look like, she took measurements, we talked through her ideas and some options, it was fun. Shortly thereafter, she emailed me a drawing of her suggestion on how to organize the Sharage along with several of my very own pins on Pinterest to look through and tell her which options I preferred. As a visual person, I really couldn’t have made much sense out of any of it without those pins.
Now, this won’t surprise you, but I love flashy and big and dramatic and mind blowingly amazing. Does it sparkle and shine? I want it. Does it come in fabulous colors? Make it mine. Can it flash lights? Does it do tricks? Can I live blog it? It must be mine. You get the idea.
BUT this was a gift for Mr. Wired Momma (was it? Or was it for moi, you should be asking yourself). So it being a gift for
myself him and him being an accountant and finance guy — he doesn’t like to SPEND money, he likes to SAVE money. But I excel at SPENDING money. But I knew to make it a true gift for him, as much as I LOVED the brightly colored Peg boards and the shapes of the tools spray painted onto the boards so we always could know their rightful home, and the gorgeous work benches, I restrained myself and kept with the economy version of a Sharage project. Rachel was so helpful and creative with how to do a lot and spend very little. The Friday before the big day, she came by with her handyman, Dan, and we talked through final details. Rachel carefully made sure she and the handy man knew who was picking up which item for the project. I didn’t have to go to Home Depot, I didn’t have to go to the Container Store, I didn’t have to do anything. #Bliss
This was quickly becoming the best gift for
me Mr. Wired Momma ever. Also noteworthy, Rachel remembered every detail of everything we had previously spoken about, which was extremely useful because I remembered about 20% of it. For example, she knew I needed to pull his tools out of the house, to create more storage space inside and place them in an organized fashion outside in the Sharage.
The day of the big surprise came, which was last Tuesday, and sure enough Mr. Wired Momma chose that day to linger in front of the house and gossip with our neighbor instead of leaving for work. Rachel’s brilliant handyman spotted him out front and instead sat inside his van, cleverly waiting for him to leave, so as not to spoil the surprise. At this point it was nothing short of a miracle that I hadn’t blabbed the surprise to Mr WM (#BigMouth).
Rachel and Dan emptied out the entire garage, gave me the chance to purge a few things that we really didn’t need and then they quickly got to work. Rachel had everything so well planned out in advance – I couldn’t believe it literally took them under four hours to hang the peg boards, assemble the shelving unit, hang extra hooks, organize what we had, LABEL every container and then put it all back together again. It would have taken me 3.5 months.
Scratch that, probably 3.5 years.
So here’s another BEFORE shot of the Sharage:
The Sharage AFTER Rachel:
She removed everything off the ground, she had her handy man hang the peg boards and also he added these pieces of wood with hooks for all the tools:
Check out my neatly labeled storage containers. Rachel purchased all of them at the Container Store, where she gets a discount, and she labeled them on the spot. Have I mentioned how much I adore a person who travels with her own label maker? She’s so great to work with because not only does she lack any kind of judgment of you and the disorganization going on in the space, she is also just practical. She said that with kids especially, it’s difficult to be neat but we can all still be ORGANIZED:
And let’s not forget those tools that were hogging up lots of cabinet space inside my house…now they are outside my house and so very easy to find…..
In the end, I can tell you that what washed over me was a great sense of relief. Here was this space, now fully functional, organized in a logical and simple manner, and it was DONE. Now comes the part where we maintain it but I’m not worried about that. Overall not only did she do this in an efficient and timely manner, it was an efficient use of my time – of which just like you – I have very little extra time to spare. Rachel and Dan spent about $400 on supplies. Dan Posniewski , who is an excellent handyman, charges an hourly rate of $50. In terms of Rachel’s time, it really depends on the scope of the project, so I would suggest reaching out to her and inquiring — she does a wide variety of home organization projects. To me, this was money well spent. Even if you don’t have a need or have it in your budget for Rachel to arrive on your doorstep, you can still take advantage of her great tips by hitting “Like” on the Rachel and Company Facebook page or subscribe to her fabulous newsletter, which will then conveniently land her tips into your inbox. I have done both and am glad for it.
But what about the big reveal with Mr. Accountant Wired Momma? Would he even react, I wondered, because this is a man who reacts to very little (which is a nice counter balance to ahem…moi) but sometimes I’d like some reaction. He walked into the Sharage that night and just stood there, dumbfounded, as it all registered. Immediately he asked who did this and why didn’t I add a kegerator and fooseball table for him.
Never once did he ask what I spent.
Keep up with the fun by hitting “Like” on the Wired Momma Facebook page. And stay tuned for the next WM book club book announcement…..I was thinking we should schedule our next meeting for January.