Have you ever watched a woodworking or shop how-to video and marveled over the clean and organized workspace that comes from using an intentionally designed system like the Keter XL 6-Piece Garage Set? As silly as it sounds, I’m nearly as impressed with a space for logical workflow and a neat work area as I am with the craftsman’s skill. I always think to myself, “Self, if everything was in its place, you could do this stuff!”
But my garage workshop has been a cobbled-together, ad-hoc, schizophrenic jumble of wobbly workbenches, shelves I screwed to the wall just because I needed flat space, and my pre-remodel kitchen cabinets. Grab one thing, another thing falls over. Where’s such-and-such? Oh it’s under this thing. “Someday,” I would say, “Someday I will have a functional and organized workspace that I walk into and am eager to craft something.” Well that day is finally today.
The new six-piece Keter XL 6-Piece Garage Set has come to the rescue with two tall cabinets, two wall cabinets, and two base cabinets that serve as a platform for a large workbench and enough total capacity to organize all my tools, accessories, and junk I saved because I think I’ll need but probably never will. I am exorcising the disorganization demon.
Keter is a large manufacturer of resin-based household and garden furniture, storage, and organization products. I thought I was unfamiliar with the company until I came across a small, yellow Keter toolbox that I’ve had for years while preparing for the Garage Set’s arrival. I thought the resin-based cabinets would be a great alternative to heavy metal shelving that can rust and seize up or wood shelving that is a tasty treat for termites. I waited eagerly for its arrival.
Cleanse Your Pallet
The set arrived on a pallet and I started the unboxing process. There were six boxes total – each cabinet had its own box, which made it easy and kept the assembly process organized from the beginning. Because the garage was in such disarray, I began assembling a base cabinet in the driveway so I could have plenty of space.
When I opened the first box to see what I had to do, my first thought was, “There are a lot of pieces here.” I was expecting a textbook-thick assembly instruction manual, but I was pleasantly surprised by a very thin guide that made it quite simple.
As I assembled more of the cabinets and shifted around my stuff, I found that I really didn’t need much more than the footprint of the cabinet for assembly and ditched the driveway for the area that the cabinet would ultimately sit. The cabinets go together in an intuitive fashion so you really might not need the guide after a while, although there are a couple of differences between each type of cabinet. I suggest you keep it handy and quickly double-check yourself to keep the process running smoothly.
A Plan Comes Together
Even though the instructions are easy to follow, there are several steps involved. The base cabinet will take 20-25 minutes to assemble and assembly time for the rest decreases with your experience. The smaller components are held together on a plastic grid, and it takes a quick twist to snap them off.
The feet are attached to the base using the cylindrical pieces you see in the picture above. Then two of the feet situated diagonally – for example, the front left foot and the back right foot – receive a plastic adjustment screw that helps level the cabinet. If you find that the doors don’t close well once you finish assembly, it’s likely that the cabinet is out of square and these adjustment feet can remedy that.
Flip the base over so that the feet rest on the ground and you’re ready to install the back and side panels. These slide pretty easily over the plastic protrusions on the base, just be sure that they are facing the right direction. The panels are molded such that you can’t put them together incorrectly, but at the beginning it won’t stop you from trying! Keter doesn’t (and wouldn’t) suggest this, but I found it helpful to gently tap the top of the panel with a rubber mallet to be sure it was in the right place. Slide the all the panels together and then gently slide the top into the recesses along the tops of the back and side panels.
Wrapping Up the Keter XL 6-Piece Garage Set Assembly
Once you’ve got the panels and top installed you’re ready to screw the hinges to the door panel, snap the bottoms and tops into the door panels, and install the doors into the cabinet.
You see I also put in the shelf in. Then all you have to do is attach the handles using the guides on the inside of the door panels and you’ve got yourself a full assembled cabinet!
As I mentioned, there are some modified steps for both of the other two cabinet types. For the tall cabinet there’s a mid-section bracket that holds the bottom to the top and the wall cabinet doesn’t have hinges but swings on pegs that fit into holes in the base and top. Otherwise, you likely get the picture.
Behind (Garage) Door Number 1 – A New Workshop!
Before I really got down to organizing everything in the new cabinets, I had to sit back and admire how much much better the entire space looked. What’s even better, in this picture below, there cabinets are only at about 70% capacity, which means I can rid myself the shelving unit in the background by moving that stuff into the Keter XL 6-Piece Garage Set (and yes, it’s probably time to find a new home for my college foosball table).
You’ll also notice that I modified the configuration around a corner and angled a few of the cabinets to accommodate the corner. I really like the potential here. Besides, each of the tall cabinets and base cabinets are 34.5-inches wide, so lining them all up along one wall as closely as you could would take up 11.5 feet and leave you with only 5.75 feet for a workbench.
This arrangement was more conducive to the work I had in mind, and it allowed me the potential to have an L-shaped workbench about 9-feet long. You might notice something funny about the workbench in this picture and that’s because it’s really not a workbench at all. I created a kind of template out of the tough corrugated packaging that came with the pallet.
In this way I could figure out if the benchtop was too shallow or deep before I committed. Jonathan Bucklew, frequent Pro Tool Reviews contributor and maker of beautiful, modern furniture, has graciously offered to help me plane and glue up a 2×4 workbench at his shop when I decide on the final dimensions.
Everything in its Place
Since I assembled and configured the cabinets, I’ve found all sorts of good excuses to use the workshop for work/play. Whether I’m just tinkering around, really trying to improve some skill, or reviewing a new tool, the expansive storage and flat-surface space that the Keter XL 6-Piece Garage Set allows is really liberating.
Now for the woodworking purist, the base cabinets might hold the workbench a little too high at just under 40 inches. I’m 5’10” and the thick workbench is at my belly-button height. The again, the purist would likely have a traditional workbench in the 33- to 36-inch sweet spot, but if a hybrid workshop like mine doesn’t offend your sensibilities, then the Keter XL 6-Piece Garage Set may be a solution for you.
If I had one suggestion, it would be to include one more shelf in the tall cabinets. Three are included, which makes four shelves if you include the base, but the cabinet is so tall that there’s a lot of open, unused space between shelves even after you put your stuff in them. Think of how much more stuff you could organize while you watch the YouTube clip of George Carlin talk about stuff.
The Bottom Line
If you’re looking for durable, solid, and easily assembled workshop or garage storage cabinets that can turn your disorganized area into a place that you actually enjoy using, a place that you can tinker, create, and just relax while using some tools, then the Keter XL 6-Piece Garage Set is your solution. Ranging from around $700 to $900 depending on where you buy, you may be apprehensive, but this six-piece set provides expansive storage, lockable tall cabinets, a base for a workbench, and the quality and durability to last for many years. The set is worth the money and my garage workshop is remarkably better because of it. See the set for yourself on Keter’s website by clicking here.