Before and After: Part 2: Age in Place, The Garage Mini-Makeover for Father’s Day… Going Vertical with Monkey Bar Storage!

If you read Part 1, you’ll know that this is about an “age in place” upgrade for garage storage for my parents… a great Father’s Day gift that Handy Boy and I helped put in place for my folks this month.  Eliminating the attic as storage, and making the most of every spot in the garage, without impeding their ability to park and access their cars, and getting to all the everyday” items they need, required some new systems in the space.



garage pic afters




The biggest change in a small area was with the installation of 2 systems from Monkey Bar Storage


If you’re not familiar with Monkey Bar, they have many options for storage, and you can either install them yourself, purchasing through their website or at big-box hardware stores or Amazon or work with their contractors (like these in New England) to design a layout and install them.  Since we were just putting in 2 items, my husband (Handy Boy!) was in charge.  

In addition to the` Folding Chair Rack that my parents bought themselves, Monkey Bar Storage was gracious enough to let me try out the Yard Tool Organizer there, too (Thanks, Monkey Bar Storage!!) We installed the Small for both versions, but they come in Large, too.


On to installation! This garage is poured concrete, so while you might be installing these directly into drywall and studs, we had the additional challenge of the surface to deal with.  A hammer drill made easy work for this job (a regular drill would have worked, but taken more time, and we knew we had a bunch of holes that needed to be created).   Beyond that, the only other tools we needed were a level and a pencil. Handy Boy was able to install both sets in well under an hour, and if it had been a drywall/studs set up would have gone even quicker and easier. 


First, we installed the Folding Chair storage bar.  We wanted it up high (my parents probably need to access a set of 4 chairs 2 or 3 times a year, tops), but it needed to have a few inches of clearance in order to get them up above the angle of the hooks. I measured a 7″ drop, and added 4 inches for clearance.   This would help make folding chairs work, whether they were feet up or feet down (which ever made it easier to hang them). 

measure chair


hanging chairs



Next was the Small Yard Tool storage bar.  This needed to be high enough off the ground to be able to hang some of their longer tools, like a rake, a leaf blower, and a few other key items they wanted easy access to.  As I mentioned yesterday, the previous system, a curtain rod, was able to be used for hanging some of these, but because the curtain rod is so close to the wall, the items tended to stick out further into the room, and required navigation around them to get to the car. In addition, they were concerned about how much weight the curtain rod could really handle, so they only hung long-but-light items on them. Other items need dedicated hooks, drilled into other surface.   And for anything that wasn’t hangable with an S-hook, like a shovel, it had to just stand in a corner, regardless of how heavy or light it was.


monkey bar box

install brackets

rails installed



The Yard Tool Storage Bar has a further clearance from the wall, which allowed for straight-down hanging.  It had a variety of hooks you could mix and match to serve your items, for both “above the bar” storage like a shovel, or hanging down storage.  It also allowed for layered storage, one item in front of the other, so you could use space further from the wall, not just directly beneath it. 


clearance from wall 



Hanging the yard tools was fun, and we played around with the different types of hooks that come with it to see what worked best for which tools. Utilizing bungee cords and zip ties helped to make some of the smaller items hang with many to a hook.   Of course, we also prioritized location with “How often do you use this tool versus that tool?” to add some thoughtful placement to it all.  


after monkey bars


Look at the Before and After, side-by-side to see the difference – maximum functionality, all accessible, neat and organized! (Note:  small green chair needs to be accessed more frequently, so we put it on the lower shelving, no problem!)


Before and after monkey bars


EVERYTHING we wanted to get onto this bar went on, it easily, and there’s more room (not that they expect to buy anything new, but still… it will work for them for the future if they need to make additional use of these great tools!


Our overall review on these two Monkey Bar Storage Systems? We LOVED them! 

Why Handy Boy loved installing this new storage system:

  • The brackets had wide holes, and so the fine-tuning was very forgiving.
  • The fact that brackets could face either direction meant that he could work in a tight space with the drill by just reversing the direction of the bracket. 
  • The materials are very light
  • The locking mechanism (pushing a button down to center the 2 push buttons around the bracket) were easy to work with and position
  • When they were installed, they felt really sturdy. He did not question their stability or strength.
  • With a lifetime warranty, Handy Boy shouldn’t have to deal with any trouble shooting in the future!


Why my parents love this new storage system:

  • The folding chair storage not only made these folding chairs out-of-the-way-but-still-accessible, they really were able to accommodate 6 (even could have had 10!) in a very sturdy and reliable system. They no longer needed to be taking up valuable floor or cabinet space, but the system was easy enough to get the chairs on and off when they need them. 
  • Unlike just hanging a curtain rod, you can hang lawn items and tools both below and resting above the bar
  • The 4″ distance from the wall on the yard tool organizer meant that items, even large ones, could hang directly down, not sticking outwards, because of the lack of clearance on the curtain rod
  • Different types of hooks allow for storing different types of items.


When we went to put the 4 metal folding chairs up it turned out we could actually easily accommodate 2 additional chairs they had squirreled away elsewhere.  Once we cleared the space where THOSE chairs were, we were able to make so much new use of that cabinet!  We were able to store the table-top Christmas tree, a folding workbench, and a folding table!  All where 2 folding chairs used to live!

before after inside cabinet


The other 2 projects were to assemble and install a simple shelving unit from Edsal, and this required PRECISE measurement and placement, since the fridge couldn’t move and the vacuum system is on the wall.  But it worked, and will instantly go to work to store everyday paper goods and regularly-accessed party supplies, and makes much more use out of a tight space than the previous setup, which was stacked and layered items on the floor, and the central vacuum hose on the wall.


back wall side by side



Finally, we obviously needed to reposition the vacuum hose, and that now lives on an otherwise underutilized spot behind the door into the house. 

 install vacuum hose



(Oh – and notice how his shirt says “Cranky Monkey” on the back? That has nothing to do with his thoughts on Monkey Bars or the rest of the project! Just a coincidence…) 

When all was said and done, including dropping off the discarded items for donation, it was about 6 hours of work.  Everyone pitched in, and my parents had done so much thinking ahead that we were able to really just get to implementation.


My parents are thrilled with the results, and both they and Handy Boy are already trying to think about where ELSE they might use Monkey Bars!  


Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there, especially my dad and Handy Boy’s dad!  











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