One Room Challenge

Before and After: A Crowded Garage Gets Transformed Into an Organized, Multi-Use Powerhouse

published Aug 11, 2022
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Before: garage with shelves full of containers

For 10 years and counting, the One Room Challenge has provided design enthusiasts with the encouragement and community to finish one room in their home. By creating a space for designers of all types to share their work, the challenge taps into two of the most effective motivational tools: saying something “out loud” and having an audience. 

The One Room Challenge isn’t a contest, but every single participant comes out as a winner. What better prize than to have a space in your home brought to the finish line, to serve your household the best way it can — and to look pretty doing it? 

This is exactly what happened with Samantha Potter’s (@signedsamanthaxo) garage project. She entered the challenge with a disordered and frustrating garage and came out of it with a completely overhauled space that offers plenty of room for each of its many uses. 

Samantha describes her garage as a “multi-use zone,” which started as a storage space for “Christmas decorations, ski gear, summer gear, old baby stuff, a deep freeze, and a mini-fridge for beer.” Then, it evolved into a space for their home gym and workshop. Additionally, the garage stored a “ridiculous amount of bikes,” strollers, wagons, and bike chariots, along with their cars too. 

Eventually, Samantha realized that she had to take control of her time by making the garage a functional space for her side projects. “[The garage] wasn’t convenient for me to be doing DIYs,” says Samantha. “I had no shop space, except for the space to store that workbench. Every time I wanted to do some DIY work, I had to pull the workbench outside, get the tool I needed, set it up onto the workbench, make a cut, and then move it all back inside. The amount of time and effort to do all of that hindered my desire to want to do it. It quickly added 10-15 minutes to my day, even for just one cut.” 

As a full-time working mom with a passion project, something had to change. “I knew that I needed to be able to save as much time as I could. I needed a proper workshop space,” she says. With a $1,000 budget, Samantha set about turning her garage into a space where she could do her projects with ease. 

The first big step was using the shed her husband bought for her birthday, originally intended as a workshop space, for storage. All the Rubbermaid bins with seasonal items were moved there, freeing up almost an entire wall in the garage. Next, Samantha moved the deep freezer into her home’s basement, freeing up even more space. She wallpapered the workshop area and is “obsessed with how it turned out.” Next, she painted and then built her miter saw workbench and her table saw workbench. She also used the crown wall system by Garage Royalty and reconfigured the bicycle storage. 

Although Samantha wishes she could have sealed her garage floors (they are too sloped for it to work), she is most proud of “the flow of the space and organizing it to be functional for us” and loves her new workbenches.

As with any overhaul, decluttering proved to be key. Samantha moved “a ton of our garage items into a storage shed and created additional space for what we needed. I also ended up purging a ton of what we didn’t need either.”

Samantha has this advice for anyone looking to make a multi-purpose garage into an organized space that flows: “To plan your garages, really think about what roles you need it to fill and how you envision yourself living in the space. I would also think outside of the box — what (if anything) can you move to a different area, are there areas you think you can combine into one by making them dual functional?”

This project was completed for the Spring 2022 One Room Challenge, in partnership with Apartment Therapy. See even more of the One Room Challenge before and afters here.

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