A cornucopia of stuff. Do it yourself, humor, hacks, fails, self development.

Harbor Freight 10 x 17 Portable Garage (tent)

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I needed some additional temporary storage so I purchased a ‘portable garage’/tent from Harbor Freight. It required three of us to build but the construction was straightforward.

I wanted some additional storage. The problem I have is that I don’t own my stuff, my stuff owns me. I’m trying to offload some of the many treasures I’ve accumulated over the years. I thought that a Harbor Freight tent would be a good solution. It wasn’t a permanent structure so it would give me an incentive to donate/sell/trash the ‘stuff’ I staged there. I’m on 2 1/2 acres so I thought that there would be no problem with a tent (See below)

Check your zoning laws before you purchase this. See below for more details. Famous last words. “I don’t need a permit. It’s a freaking tent”

I purchased the tent for about $150 or so at the time. I made arrangements with my son and a friend to build it. It really is a three man job to assemble. The Harbor Freight garage/tent is a lot less expensive now.

The assembly went well. Within about 3 hours, we had it fully assembled. There were a couple of points where we had to figure out what parts went where but overall, it went smoothly.

I used the tarp as a floor. Landscaping fabric pegs worked well to hold it in place.

The tent is two years old as of June 2019. It’s held up well. When there are heavy snows, I use a large floor squeegee to push up from inside the tent to knock the accumulated snow off. One of the cords in the rear failed so I simply retied a new cord in place. Other than that, maintenance has been nil.

I did have some wasps trying to take up residence so I put a couple of packages of mothballs. Now all my stuff smells like an old person’s house but it seems to have worked.

The first step was to lay everything out. I put down a large tarp. That was later used as the floor.

Beginning to lay out a Harbor Freight portable garage/tent.
Beginning to build a Harbor Freight Tent.

The frame is fairly strong tubular steel. At this stage, things can be a little awkward so a three person team is a plus.

Starting to frame the Harbor Freight portable garage/tent.

It wasn’t long before it started to take shape.

Harbor Freight portable garage/tent framing almost complete.

Once the frame was complete, we added the cover. The cover has held up well in spite or rain, wind, leaves and snow.

The fully operational Harbor Freight Portable Garage

Access is by opening one or both zippers. I found that if I open one, I can use the velcro straps to keep it open to make entry and exit easier.

Be careful about putting shelves too close to the walls. Heavy winds can cause the walls to flap a bit and knock stuff over.

ZONING

As I mentioned before, check your zoning before purchasing or building this. Everything was going well for about 2 years. Then I got a nastygram from the township zoning officer that “YOU ARE IN VIOLATION WITH AN UNAUTHORIZED STRUCTURE”

I thought, “Then can’t mean the tent.. It’s a frigging tent for heaven’s sake”.

I called the township. They were nice enough but, sure enough, my huge transgression against the peace of the township was MY FRIGGING TENT. I asked what my options were.

I could either take it down and would be given a reasonable time to do that or I could file a permit. I chose the latter. The cost was damn near what the freaking tent cost. Geez, the builders are building senior living units that are so densely populated you need a trash compactor to squeeze the people onto those properties.

I filled out the permit forms and wrote a frigging check for 100 frigging dollars. After a week I got an approval and scanned that into my filing system. Yes, they were nice enough about it and didn’t hit me with fines but IT”S A FREAKING DAMN TENT. I suppose if I take it down I’ll have to pay another 100 dollars for the permit for that.

Summary

The tent was well worth the price (including the freaking $100 permit fee). It is working quite well for it’s intended purpose of staging stuff I want to offload. My house isn’t quite at the Martha Stewart level but at least I’m thinning out the ‘stuff’

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