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AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/23/21 9:21 p.m.

I need to get my vehicle stuff organized. There's just too much stuff, too many projects, and too many parts. It makes it hard to get anything done. ...this is not the first time and wont be the last. Bear with me. I expect that this will be a messy post and thread. It may get edited, deleted, or added to as I figure things out.

Posting this mess publicly because I know that a lot of you can relate. You may be able to help, or reading it may help someone else. It gives me a feeling of accountability and the peace of making a confession putting it out here.

I know that I have five motorcycles. I need to count cars. I don't think that I can even come up with a good estimate of parts and they are stashed in so many places that I often just buy more stuff after looking for an hour or a day and not finding what I need ...only to find it a day later.

Let me start by ripping off the Band-Aid. Here's a recent picture of the inside of the garage ...and what's behind me in the picture is just as bad.

For work-flow, I'm ready to drop the engine out of the Fiero, but I just can't get motivated to work in that space. Along the right side wall is tools, consumables and maintenance parts for Porsche 986 Boxsters and 914s. Over there I can generally reach in and come back out with what I want. There's a work bench with a vise over there, but not enough free bench space to work. The pile on the left side is what happens when I jump from project to project without stopping to clear the space in between. I generally know what all the big things are there, but it has been growing for about two (three?) years since it was fully clear space. There's bound to be some cool stuff in there that I have forgotten about. I'll do a mental inventory of it here shortly. To get to the left wall I have to climb over stuff.

I have a fairly long, straight concrete driveway that I keep many of the cars lined up on. 'Daily drivers' stay towards the gate end and non-running projects and parts cars stay near the garage. There are two dual axle trailers tucked beside the big porch and two smaller utility trailers that are generally by the back fence. One of the dual axle trailers usually has a car stored on it (un-titled 2000 Audi TT right now) and one of the small trailers usually has 'stuff' (canoe and 4 Porsche wheels right now). Continuing around the house, there's parts of the last 2000 Porsche Boxster that I stripped on the back patio and the front bumper of a New Beetle that's currently on FB Market for $20 and will probably get hauled to the dump. Past that we get to the back of the garage. Behind the garage is a Harbor Freight canopy covering the '81 Scirocco, KLR 650, XT 225, and '01 Boxster parts car. Three riding mowers are also there, two of which are working at any given time. Past that is a fairly large shed with a storm shelter below. It's got parts of cars and trucks that I got rid of over ten years ago. That brings me back around to the driveway. There's a lot of junk tucked behind the cars in the driveway. Wheels, engines and a couple transmissions, and remnants of the last few cars I scrapped.

There's also a walk-out basement where I have a work table (with a motorcycle engine in parts) and a single storage unit about a mile away. That's the current layout. I need less stuff, a good workspace, and organized storage.

Edit: On a couple occasions I thought of buying shop or hangar space in the area, but didn't. I'll probably add a carport on the back of the garage in the Spring, but the reality is that I need less stuff. Not more places to put it.

ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual)
ManhattanM (fka NY535iManual) HalfDork
11/23/21 9:28 p.m.

I can't help with any of your storage issues, and I know it's a trick of the light, but the orange color of the centered Boxster in the first pic is like a life goal.  

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/23/21 9:55 p.m.

If in doubt, throw it out. 

We went through our garage last year. It wasn't that bad, but there was a lot of stuff in there that was just getting in the way: old/expired car care products, parts for cars we no longer owned, etc. Did we need nearly empty jugs of oil? When did I open this container of brake fluid? Am I really going to use this old car wax when I have the "good stuff" on the shelf? Can someone else put these tires to use before they age out? 

Then add in three cars in a two-car garage plus one more that sat in the driveway.  It had gotten too tight. 

So we worked to rehome as much as possible.

Any old, expired, no longer needed chemicals and such went to the landfill's collection site or were given to friends. 

Parts with some value were sold--quickly via FB Marketplace. It wasn't about making money. It was about getting stuff out of the way. In the end, I sold a set of wheels and some parts for our old Mini and 240SX. That brought in about $300 and made some people happy. 

Lots of parts were sent to friends who could use them. I found some brake parts wrapped in a 20-year-old newspaper. I accepted the fact that I'd never use them and moved them along. 

If I couldn't find someone to take it, I found people via local FB groups. Arrangements were made, parts were left by our front door, and parts went away. Again, the goal was to clear space. 

We sold our old Pontiac wagon via eBay. We weren't using it, and sitting outside wasn't helping it. So we listed it and sold it. I'll be honest, it was a relief to see it go away. Yes, I loved it, but we weren't using it. 

This all started because our garage cabinets were starting to fall apart. So we emptied them. While refilling them, we made the call: keep or save? We bought new metal ones on sale for $300 total.

We also replaced the old particle board shelves with wood ones. Again, cleared out everything and made the call while putting stuff back: keep or save?

We also replaced the old fluorescent lamps with LEDs. 

And I kept repeating, if in doubt, throw it out. 

classicJackets (FS)
classicJackets (FS) Dork
11/23/21 9:59 p.m.

Less stuff, a good workspace, and organized storage


Some stuff is worth trying to sell, some is worth just throwing out. To get to usable space, some stuff you had lined up for the future or from the past may have to go, just for the sake of your sanity.


What is your shelving situation like?


AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/23/21 10:20 p.m.

The left side of the garage.

Starting at the back, out of view there are some fairly organized tubs of Porsche 914 parts from stripping out a parts car and prepping a project car.

...Okay stop the garage. I need to list cars and a rough idea of what's what. Back to the garage mess in a bit. I think that I can manage maintenance on about 8 to 10 cars and have an open project. I remember Once I had decided that six Boxsters 'on the road' was too many. I think that was a sound decision. I'll start with Boxsters:

  • '04 Special Edition 'The Flood Car': Keeper, road trip and good weather car - stays covered when parked.
  • Mrs AAZCD's '01: Keeper, mostly Summer car - stays covered when parked.
  • XBox: Former Challenge Car, Rallycross car - needs a replacement engine.
  • Black '04 Base: Runs, drives, no-title, rough interior. - Undecided future, currently project, could be parted or sold.
  • '98 Blue: Engine ready to re-install and check. No title, but easy to attain. I like this car a lot more than the black '04. No rush, but I want it on the road.
  • Blue '01 Parts car: Rolling chassis. Still some good parts for use or sale. I want to get it to the glass shop to try salvaging the windshield for 'Little Debbie' before I scrap it.
  • 2000 Base 'Little Debbie': Debbie is our 'Sunset Orange Pearl' Honda Element, so the 'Zanzibar Red' Boxster became known as 'Little Debbie'. Tiptronic transmission does not engage. Came with a known good replacement transmission ready to install. Project for a couple months from now. Very likely a keeper.

So, Keep four streetable plus the XBox as a toy.


  • '73 Parts car: Stripped out. Decent body, but bad hell hole, rear floor and longs. No title (All parts removed are in tubs at the back of the garage).
  • 'Black '73: Some rough body work in the past, but very rebuildable. I have a freshly rebuilt engine to install (left side of garage). Planned as basic driver rebuild.
  • Yellow '71: Some bad rust, but complete and may run and drive with some TLC. Planned as 'Safari Build', possible merged with some 986 parts.

The Milburn Fiero: 2022 Challenge Car. Possible Rallycross car. Titled, but far from street ready.

'81 Scirocco: Sealed up and waiting for future project time.

2000 Audi TT: No title, rough interior and convertible top. Should probably be drivetrain donor for (1.8T) Scirocco.

SUVs - These pretty much became our dailies:

  • '03 Element: Elefent, Mrs AAZCD's car.
  • '12 Touareg: Dieselgate car, Tow Pig, Road Trip car.
  • '03 Element: Debbie (The previous owners name on the key tag became the name). My around town car. The back is full of Fiero parts.
  • '04 Toyota Sequoia: My back-up Tow Pig, currently my daughter's daily.

I think that's the current car fleet.

Edit: I always forget one or two- 1998 Honda CR-V: Current Gambler 500 car and often grocery getter.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/23/21 10:30 p.m.
classicJackets (FS) said:

Less stuff, a good workspace, and organized storage


Some stuff is worth trying to sell, some is worth just throwing out. To get to usable space, some stuff you had lined up for the future or from the past may have to go, just for the sake of your sanity.


What is your shelving situation like?


I built some shelves along the right side of the garage with 2x4s and Pallets. They have worked out very well for space and function. I think I'm going to empty out the back of the garage (left side) and build more like that for large and heavy parts - 914, Boxster, and Fiero current project stuff. I should probably buy some locker style storage for the left wall that is currently a barely accessible power tool and lost parts collection.

preach (dudeist priest)
preach (dudeist priest) Dork
11/23/21 10:33 p.m.

Do the 30 minute thing. Mostly longer but do it every day and wonders happen.

Nice collection btw.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/23/21 10:38 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

That's a good outline. Parts for cars that I haven't had for 5 or 10 years don't need to be here any more. I think that the only way to sort the left side of the garage and the storage shed at this point is going to be emptying them out completely onto trailers that are ready to take to the scrapyard and dump. Put the stuff that I know I can use back in, organized on good shelves.  All those things that I've kept in case I might need them for a future project? I can find and buy in the future. They are not worth the space that they have occupied for Years.

Tom1200 UltraDork
11/23/21 10:51 p.m.

My first question which you don't have to answer, how old are you?

You have at least 6 project cars which realistically will take you between 4 to 10 years to get them all going.

Your keeping a car for the becuase you'd like to salvage the windshield........this is how things get out control. The amount of energy one expends is not worth the savings. How much does a Boxer windshield cost $400-$600?  

You need to stop everything and start dumping the useless stuff.

Next work on one project and only one project. When that one is done move to the next one. 

Work on things 30 minutes at a time; I have a friend who has projects that have been stalled for years. He asks me how I managed to get stuff done to which I answer "30 minutes at a time" this applies to organizing the garage as well.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/23/21 11:10 p.m.

Engines - mostly burried on the left side of the garage:

'98 Audi 4.2L should go in a Boxster, probably the '98.

'03 Audi 4.2L should go in the XBox ('01 Boxster) with the 2001 Audi A4 FWD transmission or the current transmission in the car.

'01 Audi 2.8L V6 (ran when pulled) Covered in the driveway. Keeping for harness and peripheral parts for the 4.2L swaps.

Two VW 2.0L ABA engines: Both were for the Scirocco. One had a bad crank and was planned as a donor for harness and peripherals to the good one. I should probably get rid of both and just go with the 1.8T from the Audi TT.

Two Porsche 914 engines: One rebuilt to 1.8L needs tins and parts from the 1.7L pulled from the parts car. Then rebuild the 1.7L? '73 side shift transmission, new clutch kit and lots more in there somewhere - Just left in the pile when I moved to a more urgent project.

Honda D15Z1: This is the high fuel mileage engine from the early '90s HX Civics. I really like those engines for efficiency, but I'm not planning to have a car that will use it. It should go.

'98 Porsche 2.5L with transmission and fresh clutch ready to install in the '98 Boxster. Covered in the driveway behind the car. ...but the 4.2L Audi engine. I should put the 2.5L engine in first just to verify condition of the car and engine.

70% of a BMW R50/5 motorcycle engine... and about 70% of the bike it came from. Probably need to get rid of it all. My R60/5 is pretty stable and good. If I need parts in the future I can find them then..?

Edit: Forgot - The replacement engine for the Fiero (3.5L Buick and the whole subframe) is in front of my garage door. At least that donor car was hauled away last week.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/23/21 11:24 p.m.

In reply to Tom1200 :

Good points. I've realized that at sixty next year, I don't need to gather any more projects and focus on enjoying the ones that I have. 'Mid-life crisis' is realizing that I need to stop buying every cool thing that I see and focus on what I've already gathered. In theory I have a week-on week-off work schedule with one of those weeks-on being an easy night shift, giving me practically three weeks a month that are pretty much open for projects. The reality is that we are almost always short handed at work, family time becomes more important than cars, and maintenance becomes more urgent than projects.

Seeing a great deal while I have cash ready and an open trailer has been hard to pass up on, but yes I don't need to introduce more projects to the equation.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/23/21 11:54 p.m.

The Blue '01 Boxster is probably the easiest big thing to deal with. I've done the windshield swap with a local glass shop before and it's actually pretty simple. Trailer the car there on the way to the junkyard and have them remove the glass. Drop the car at the junkyard for scrap and drive the receiving car there (in this case trailer Little Debbie since it has the transmission issue). So far this shop has saved 2 out of 3 windshields and charges $50 vs about $400 for a new one.

The parts I've used and sold from that car already more than paid for it. Anything else that's worth parting from it I likely already have boxed up on a shelf from another Boxster I've scrapped.

hybridmomentspass Reader
11/24/21 4:56 a.m.

I was just thinking yesterday about my garage.

Its in need of help, not as bad as yours, but, at times, got frustrating when I was wrenching recently and 'dodging' the shop vac etc It wasnt bad till I loaded it up with stuff that was in a building under my deck that I tore down LAST Thanksgiving. Well, new building is built, most of that old stuff is back, but some is not. Including 5 doors. Not car, but house. There's also two sheets of OSB, that limits access to my shelving units.


I need to try the 30 minute thing.

Apexcarver UltimaDork
11/24/21 5:06 a.m.

You guys aren't alone. Count me in on needing to do the 30 minute thing. My problem is that in the 30 minutes I end up fiddling with something and wind up net messier.

Patrick (Forum Supporter)
Patrick (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
11/24/21 6:20 a.m.

Start a scrap pile and see how big it gets.  Purge.  Put a high value on open floor space.  Also why do you need 75 half functional boxsters when you could sell everything down to one for each of you that are extremely nice cars and off everything else?  Yes i have too many cars also, but I don't have too many of the same car.  

Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
11/24/21 6:23 a.m.
Patrick (Forum Supporter) said:

Start a scrap pile and see how big it gets.  Purge.  Put a high value on open floor space.  Also why do you need 75 half functional boxsters when you could sell everything down to one for each of you that are extremely nice cars and off everything else?  Yes i have too many cars also, but I don't have too many of the same car.  

I just did this. Very, very liberating and good for the soul. 


No title? Parts car. Part out high value stuff and discard. 

OHSCrifle UltraDork
11/24/21 6:42 a.m.

You don't need more organized shelves.. you need less stuff.

If you die today and your heirs have to deal with all your E36 M3... it's an unnecessary burden.

wake74 Reader
11/24/21 7:15 a.m.

While a long distance move just to solve this probably isn't practical it would likely force you to have a very large purge.  Think in terms of would you pay someone to move this item.  If it's not important enough to you to pay someone to move, its probably not important enough to keep.

I've long since given up on trying to sell inexpensive parts, or to even store them.  The mental energy and time to sell a $20 part just isn't worth the effort.  It will get given away if I know of a low energy path to give away or get tossed.  I probably overshoot on tossing stuff, but I'd rather toss a cheap part, and buy another one when I need it, verses the energy of storing it, then not really knowing where it is. To me knowing I have it, and then not being able to find it, is extremely frustrating.



Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter)
Snowdoggie (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/24/21 7:48 a.m.

Have enough new beetle stuff lying around to make a whole car? I need a crappy rallycross car.

AAZCD (Forum Supporter)
AAZCD (Forum Supporter) Dork
11/24/21 8:16 a.m.

Let me be clear, my collection is far from static and projects do move along or move out. I used to flip cars long before I was on GRM. From 2009 - 2014 I had at least two dozen Hondas pass through. Mostly Del Sols, but CR-Vs, Accords, and a few Civics (D, B, and J series stuff). Cars always move through and I generally focus on similar stuff for a few years until I get bored of the same repair jobs and maintenance over and over. I've slowed down a bit in the past year due to being short handed at work, but I've still kept busy. In 2021, I sold Red, Black Pearl, Pepper the '04 Cayenne, Turbo Dung Beetle and the parts Bug, rebuilt the CR-V from a wreck to a Gambler, completely stripped and scrapped at least one Boxster and hauled some other parted cars for scrap, and put the XBox back together enough to kill it again at HooptieX Oklahoma. I'm sure there's more from the last year that I didn't list. Things move through. Just remembered the Porsche 'Nine Faux Faux' and the Chebby, both moved along and gone.

Yes, I have too many 986 Boxsters. I think I have bought fifteen now, some parted, some flipped, some kept. I don't care to flip them anymore and with my work schedule, parting them is no longer a priority for my time. I have bought two this year after telling myself that I was going to stop buying them. $2,500 each for the Black '04 and 'Little Debbie' with the parts value being at least twice what I paid. My current Boxster inventory has easily been paid for by the ones that are no longer here; 'Free Porsches'. Diving in deep on the first couple 986 projects (2014) and scrapping one after removing almost every nut, bolt, and wire made me intimately familiar with them. They are easy for me and they are great to drive. The Special Edition and Mrs AAZCD's white Boxster will be here until we don't drive. The other's will be here for a while, but move on eventually.

Streetwiseguy MegaDork
11/24/21 8:21 a.m.

You need focus and a crusher.

Streetwiseguy MegaDork
11/24/21 8:24 a.m.
Streetwiseguy said:

You need focus and a crusher.

And by focus, i don't mean you need to start a collection of Fords.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/24/21 8:43 a.m.

And I fully admit that it's tough to part with stuff. I know that I still have way too much of it. 

I agonized over selling the wagon for years. It ran just fine but was getting rusty. "One day," I'd tell myself, "we'll take care of the rust and really enjoy it." It made for a terrific cruiser. 

Guess what? No, it wasn't going to happen. So we cleaned it up, took lots of photos, and put it on eBay. A nice man handed me a stack of crisp hundreds, put the car on his trailer, and drove back to Ohio or wherever. 

Huge sigh of relief.

Then I took the cash to the bank.

Just getting rid of that one car cleared space in both the driveway and my head. I no longer felt guilty about watching the car deteriorate. Another tangible benefit? I could focus on the Miata. So I basically traded a stagnant project for a car that I autocrossed all season. 

jfryjfry SuperDork
11/24/21 9:02 a.m.

Rolling shelves and well-labelled bins.  Clearing out stuff that you know you don't need or will use.  

that bumper that won't sell for $20?  It takes up a lot of room and isn't worth anything.  Put it up for free and take it to the junkyard on your next trip if it isn't gone by then. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
11/24/21 9:13 a.m.

In reply to jfryjfry :

Yup. I assembled lots of parts. I had a dude drive like an hour to pick up some 240SX parts, including a cargo cover. Price was free, and he was happy with the deal. Could I have gotten a few bucks for it? Maybe. But I wanted it gone, gone, gone. 

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