Postcard from My Garage: Instant Easel, Motorcycle & More

The most “micro” improvements in my space put the biggest smile on my face! Today, I suddenly realized that this little plywood tabletop (photo 1) could be set on top of my landscaping cart to turn it into into an instant easel for painting large signs and posters.

The plywood tabletop was made lovingly — look at the rounded edges! — by my Dad in the 1960s or 70s; and given a protective and decorative coat of paint by me a couple of years ago. The tabletop, together with a folding base of metal legs, were among the treasures that came my way from Mom & Dad’s house. Dad obviously made the tabletop to go with the foldable metal base, which may originally have been the base of a metal camp tabletop that broke or something. The tabletop and foldable base are very useful: easy to pack up for craft fairs, Earth Day events, and such.

The base of folding metal legs is narrow and makes the table sit pretty high, so it’s awkward for painting heavy, large-format items (though great for miniatures and other small projects I do). Which is why for large projects I hit on the idea of setting it on top of the landscaping cart which provides a lower wider base.

It’s funny how stuff can just sit around in my house or garage, fairly efficiently stowed (because that’s one of my obsessions), but then suddenly I’m struck by an idea for further optimization of space and uses.

To the right of the landscaping cart is my little bucket of landscaping tools, instantly at the ready to load into the cart for visits to my clients who are all in my immediate neighborhood.

I lived in Tokyo for five years, and lived in a 19-foot travel trailer for 10 years; those experiences have strongly influenced my design approach. An even deeper influence was my childhood, which included a rich diet of camping, travel (military family!), and learning how to be super portable and organized, and pare down to just the things that mattered most, and derive genuine joy from all that.

Other pics show:

  • the latest in my ongoing efforts at finding a good way to hang up my bicycle (may not be a good longterm solution because even tho my little single-speed fixie is very lightweight, it might end up bending the garage door too much despite the fact that I put a “ground support” underneath it by stacking pallets).
  • someone’s discarded, surprisingly new-looking fence that I use as a hanging wall for bicycle tire pump, helmet, mini artworks and other stuff.
  • my various American flags, including both the regular one and a “76” one. Yes, I believe in my country, and I believe we can regain the DIY thrift, resourcefulness, and other sound attributes we were known for in the past. (Many of you have never stopped having those attributes!) (UPDATE: Flag images have been removed because 1) they ended up taking over a post that was intended to be about space design and personal expression; and 2) regardless of what I want our flag to stand for, the image is triggering to many people for good reason. The flag pics prompted a discussion that has formed the seed for a future post about why I display the flag. My reasons are complex, as the flag has been misappropriated in recent years by groups and causes that espouse attitudes and behaviors I consider anti-American and anti-human. When I say I believe in my country it includes a belief in our willingness to self-reflect and evolve.)
  • my motorcycle, a little 2006 Honda Rebel 250 that I bought from a nice young man on Facebook marketplace. I have had it a couple of months since passing the mandatory FDOT course, and have derived much pleasure and a surprising lot of transferable skills from learning to ride.

Eco note: I have used about 2 gallons of gas so far; I expect to use about 25 gallons per year; and I account for this recreational hobby in my carbon budget. (If you are still feeling guilty or defiant or hopeless about your hobbies or other lifestyle aspects that don’t seem “eco-friendly,” you are missing one of the key points of my book and blog. Namely: We are allowed to have enjoyments! We don’t have to be pure and perfect! In fact, if we put out a “have to be pure and perfect” vibe, nobody is going to want to do low-footprint living!! The best way to get more people interested in radical reduction is to do it your way!! We need to show the world many examples of how it can be done without sacrificing pleasure and self-expression. In fact, I find in many cases that it INCREASES my pleasure and self-expression!

Deep-Green troops, thank you for your companionship on this challenging and exciting path! I am always here for you.

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