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r3dd3v1l

Van substitute and storage

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r3dd3v1l

Hello All,

 

my name is ash, been hovering around this forum for a few months now so thought it would be time to join forces. Seen a few guys using cars / estates / 4x4 as their works vans, which is good as this is what i intend to do. A few reasons for this:

* Cheaper insurance

* More choice of petrol engines as im not a fan of diesel and their cost of repairs

* Less likely to broken into due to it not being a van (my area has a high rate of van break ins)

* Can easily convert it back to car for family use.

 

Im looking at a toyota avensis 1.8 petrol estate or a volkswagen 1.6 petrol touran. Both of these i can get for under 900 in good condition and alot better condition that alot of vans in the same price range. Buying a car for family and having a van at the same time for works purposes is out of the question at the moment due to funds. im swaying more towards the touran as it is a bigger vehicle, so getting more kit in will be easier, items too big il get delivered to the premises.

 

But my main question is, has any one just used toolboxes instead of racking in the back of their cars / vans instead of racking? as i intend to remove my tools and some consumables from my vehicle every night, as theft is a big issue around my area.

 

 

any ideas welcome, good or bad.

 

 

Cheers

 

ash 

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r3dd3v1l

Im also a multi skilled engineer by trade, so level 3 city & guilds and NQV level in mechanical engineering, will be 18th edition and AM2 electrically qualified by the end of the year, so the main things i would be carrying would be a small set of step ladders, my mechanical tools, electrical tools and testing equipment, few rolls of wire and sleeving etc, most of my work will be sub for manufacturing firms and the occasional domestic, depending on business growth, sign writing the vehicle will be on the cards.

 

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Evans Electric

Anything will do Ash  ,  I'd recommend something you can fit a roof rack to for steps , ladder  & conduit  / trunking .  

Personally I'd avoid the various  " expensive repairs & parts "  sort of vehicle   such as VW  , if money is tight at the moment . My carpenter neighbour is paying out for his Mercedes  transit type van all the time .    

 

What type of work do you do ,  Industrial , Commercial or Domestic  ?      Remember if you're on jobs lasting a week say ,   you can often leave most of your gear there  until finished .  

Some sort of estate I'd think , then as you say , if you can't lock it up at night you'll have to take tools & drills out  every time ...  theres no joy in some scrote  nicking your precious tools .   They don't care &  its low priority for the police .    

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Evans Electric

The bigger vans are the best thing to have in my opinion  but I understand your reasons for  a multi purpose car at the moment . 

Theres a bigger  Peugeot van  that looks useful  , not as big as a Transit but bigger than an Escort .   

 

I would definitely say that once you can see your way clear is to buy a work vehicle of your choice . 

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ProDave

I drive a Subaru Forrester. 4 wheel drive is one of my "must haves" and 4wd vans are rare and expensive. The scooby is cheap and damned reliable.  I think Subaru could have made a damned good little van based on the forester chassis but they seem not interested.

 

I don't remove my stuff every day, far too much hassle only when it needs to become a normal car.

 

Ladders and long stuff travels on the roof bars , but I think I was pushing it not long ago with 6 metre lengths of Unistrut on the roof.

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r3dd3v1l

Thanks for the quick response Evans Electric, thats why iv chosen either the avensis or the touran as the both have roof bars fitted as standard ready to fit a rack. im currently driving a lexus is200 with a roof rack and its amazing how useful it is! I Think the toyota will probably have the slightly cheaper parts, but thats one of the reasons im going petrol, diesel pumps for any vehicle arent cheap to replace, sometimes the same with injectors as well. I will be 80% industrial installations and 20% domestic.  Even if the job does last a few weeks, i still take my kit home with me unless there is a lock up available, i just dont trust anyone. As for the tool thing, this is why id rather have say, 4 or 5 stanely roll tool box things i can take out and store in my house each night, that would not bother me the slightest, mate of mine had an astra van for 3 weeks, all of his gear was nicked from it, the bent the doors that bad it got  written off!

 

thanks for the reply

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r3dd3v1l
5 minutes ago, Evans Electric said:

The bigger vans are the best thing to have in my opinion  but I understand your reasons for  a multi purpose car at the moment . 

Theres a bigger  Peugeot van  that looks useful  , not as big as a Transit but bigger than an Escort .   

 

I would definitely say that once you can see your way clear is to buy a work vehicle of your choice . 

 

i dont think il ever need a big van like a LWB transit for the work im doing as its generally maintenance based, so it will be just tooling, consumables and the occasional part il be bringing with me e.g Motor / gearbox. but if i did have the money to go and buy a van now it would probably be a 2010 + caddy or something,

 

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Evans Electric
32 minutes ago, r3dd3v1l said:

But my main question is, has any one just used toolboxes instead of racking in the back of their cars / vans instead of racking? as i intend to remove my tools and some consumables from my vehicle every night, as theft is a big issue around my area.

Only a few  guys I see at my wholesalers  are using cars  TBH....85%  are using   transit size  vans  , the others  are car derived vans  , Peugeot  , Citroen  , Combo . 

 

I worked for years on Industrial & Commercial  with a series of ex BT  Ford Escort vans from MK1 onwards  .   The diesel engines seemed to go on for ever ..the only petrol one ,we forgot to get the timing belt  changed so the inevitable happened . 

I 'm on my last van now , Combo which is fine  for what I need .  

Edited by Evans Electric

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ProDave

I caution you against a Touran.  We had one for a while. Without a doubt I can say it was the worst car we have ever owned and has put us right off VW.  If you want me to catalogue all the things that went wrong I  will.

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r3dd3v1l
7 minutes ago, ProDave said:

I drive a Subaru Forrester. 4 wheel drive is one of my "must haves" and 4wd vans are rare and expensive. The scooby is cheap and damned reliable.  I think Subaru could have made a damned good little van based on the forester chassis but they seem not interested.

 

I don't remove my stuff every day, far too much hassle only when it needs to become a normal car.

 

Ladders and long stuff travels on the roof bars , but I think I was pushing it not long ago with 6 metre lengths of Unistrut on the roof.

 

what to do you do as a trade if you dont mind me asking? also what kind of MPG do you get from the watered down rally beast, seen a few people on various forums that use foresters and wouldnt use any thing else

 

 

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r3dd3v1l
1 minute ago, ProDave said:

I caution you against a Touran.  We had one for a while. Without a doubt I can say it was the worst car we have ever owned and has put us right off VW.  If you want me to catalogue all the things that went wrong I  will.

 

FIRE IN THE HOLE!!!! But was this a petrol or diesel?

 

 

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Evans Electric

ProDave is up in the Arctic  mate , he uses the motor in the summer and a dog  sled in winter . :innocent

 

However I too have heard of many expensive repairs to VW  vans . 

Edited by Evans Electric

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r3dd3v1l

i cant remember which engine itt is, but one of the vw engines snaps camshafts around the 100,000 mark, its a design flaw and yes very expensive, but iv heard no issues from the 1.6 petrol apart from it being gutless, but im not looking for a race car haha

 

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phil d

I used a Xsara Picasso for a good few years and it was great, you can pull out the back seats and you have a flat bed, just like a van, you can do some really good things with one storage wise, a good one is to make a bracket to attach behind the front seats and fix a black roller blind to it, you can pull this out to cover whatever is in the back of it, I blacked out the back windows on one of mine, mounted a couple of amber beacons on the roof and had a large vinyl sticker with 'DOG UNIT' made for on the tailgate, it never got broken into, if there's one thing thieves hate more than coppers it's guard dogs.

Never carry it if you don't need it, if you're using say, plumbing tools today take them out if you don't need them tomorrow, I never leave test gear in, a box of hand tools stays in the back of my Landrover, but anything else is put in or taken out on an 'as needed' basis, that way if you are unlucky enough to get hit you don't lose too much kit.

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Sharpend

So being a Vw owner for many years, with the older caddy you need to have the correct engine code. I had a BJB engine 1.9tdi and it is bullet proof has over 240k on it and still going strong- sold it to a couple of young lads at work they’re still using it.

Vw changed the shim dimensions on crankshaft and that’s where the faulty engines come from- put a con rod through the block, I know it to be true as a chippy I worked with had it happen to him -£4500 for new bottom half of engine from Vw. 

I now have a new caddy and only this week some lowlife tried to break in to it, couldn’t force doors open and couldn’t unlock from inside once smashed side window, however the van next to mine was a Peugeot (same as Citroen) and that was opened using a pair of Tin snips to cut the panels near locks and then release doors by hand. He lost everything.  The caddy has no locks on show other than drivers door. 

So bear in mind a car whilst less obvious only has to be seen near a site to become a target, although if your doing just maintenance then I suspect the car would fit in? Not sure about all the long stuff on top making it easily recognisable as different. 

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binky

from what I've seen of VW vans, the suspension seems too weak with a full load.

 

I mostly use tool boxes rather than racking, this makes it easier to clear the back out when I need to fork-lift a pallet of solar panels in. Only thing I would say, is don't be tempted by very bid tool boxes, they gett too heavy when full. Tools like drills not in their carry cases are also less nickable.

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ProDave

Okay, "The Touran"

 

Previously we had a VW Golf. It was 18 years old and had been the most reliable little car we had ever owned. Nothing major had broken, just normal consumables and servicing. It was still running but getting a bit tatty and SWMBO wanted a car with 7 seats.  This Golf had led us to the (now false) belief that VW made good cars.  So we bought a 5 year old Touran.

 

I did not like the Touran to drive.  I could never get comfortable in it. Set the seat right for the pedals and the steering wheel was at full arms stretch. Set the seat right for the steering wheel and my knees were up under the wheel, and I only have short legs.   I didn't like the lack of ground clearance. I am surprised we didn't break anything the number of times it bottomed out on sleeping policemen, even hump back bridges.  But none of this is the reason we came to know it as the sh!t car.  By the way it was the 1.6 petrol, gutless wonder.

 

It was absolutely lousy in snow and ice. the merest hint of a slippery slope and the wheels would just spin and it went nowhere. I have never know a car to be so useless in a bit of snow or ice, again that little Golf had been brilliant.

 

I think the first thing to go wrong was the exhaust.  A flexi coupling at the front broke.  The proper replacement part was only available from VW for £600.   £600 FFS for a section of exhaust.  We got the local garage to fix it instead with a universal flexi joint and some welding.

 

Not long after that it failed the MOT, broken coil spring. So the garage ordered a new pair for the front, and a week later I took it to have the springs fitted. When I got there he said "oh no I ordered the wrong set".  Then "Oh hang on a minute one of the back ones is broken now as well"   So a 5 year old car needing a COMPLETE new set of coil springs.  Every other car I have owned, the springs last the life of the car.

 

There were lots of other little niggles, but the final nail in the coffin was door locks.  One day the front passenger door would not unlock.  No way to manually unlock it.  Did some research. the official repair procedure is break open the door card from inside the car, unlock the door, replace the lock, fit a new door card.  FFS what sort of design is it where you have to smash the interior to pieces to effect a repair to a door lock?  As luck would have it 2 weeks later one day it was nice and the door unlocked.  I then took the door card off, disconnected the central locking actuator so it would not lock and put the door back together.

 

We sold it cheap to a buyer who was made fully aware that it needed the door lock fixing.

 

You only have to google and you will see lots more common faults. A common expensive one is the ABS pump failing. thankfully ours did not have that fault while we owned it.

 

The car spent most of the time we owned it with the engine management light on.  It kept throwing up random sensor faults  I bought a cheap fault code reader just so I could reset the light for the MOT and within a week it would be on again..

 

Glad to see the back of the POS.  Put us right off VW can't trust them to make a good car like that great little golf made 25 years ago now.

Edited by ProDave

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r3dd3v1l
12 hours ago, phil d said:

I used a Xsara Picasso for a good few years and it was great, you can pull out the back seats and you have a flat bed, just like a van, you can do some really good things with one storage wise, a good one is to make a bracket to attach behind the front seats and fix a black roller blind to it, you can pull this out to cover whatever is in the back of it, I blacked out the back windows on one of mine, mounted a couple of amber beacons on the roof and had a large vinyl sticker with 'DOG UNIT' made for on the tailgate, it never got broken into, if there's one thing thieves hate more than coppers it's guard dogs.

Never carry it if you don't need it, if you're using say, plumbing tools today take them out if you don't need them tomorrow, I never leave test gear in, a box of hand tools stays in the back of my Landrover, but anything else is put in or taken out on an 'as needed' basis, that way if you are unlucky enough to get hit you don't lose too much kit.

 

thats the type of thing i wanted to,  but just noticed that a honda frv has three seats up front like a van, so looking at those as well now

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r3dd3v1l
4 hours ago, Sharpend said:

So being a Vw owner for many years, with the older caddy you need to have the correct engine code. I had a BJB engine 1.9tdi and it is bullet proof has over 240k on it and still going strong- sold it to a couple of young lads at work they’re still using it.

Vw changed the shim dimensions on crankshaft and that’s where the faulty engines come from- put a con rod through the block, I know it to be true as a chippy I worked with had it happen to him -£4500 for new bottom half of engine from Vw. 

I now have a new caddy and only this week some lowlife tried to break in to it, couldn’t force doors open and couldn’t unlock from inside once smashed side window, however the van next to mine was a Peugeot (same as Citroen) and that was opened using a pair of Tin snips to cut the panels near locks and then release doors by hand. He lost everything.  The caddy has no locks on show other than drivers door. 

So bear in mind a car whilst less obvious only has to be seen near a site to become a target, although if your doing just maintenance then I suspect the car would fit in? Not sure about all the long stuff on top making it easily recognisable as different. 

 

 

the only things id carry on top would be a long extendable ladder and possibly conduit, but now days you can get large items delivered to site, my vehicle will just be a giant  roll cab if you know what i mean 

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r3dd3v1l
3 hours ago, binky said:

from what I've seen of VW vans, the suspension seems too weak with a full load.

 

I mostly use tool boxes rather than racking, this makes it easier to clear the back out when I need to fork-lift a pallet of solar panels in. Only thing I would say, is don't be tempted by very bid tool boxes, they gett too heavy when full. Tools like drills not in their carry cases are also less nickable.

 

this is the type of boxes i plan on using, https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tooled-up.com%2Fartwork%2Fprodzoom%2FSTA179213.jpg%3Fw%3D1600%26h%3D1600%26404%3Ddefault&imgrefurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.tooled-up.com%2Fstanley-fatmax-open-tote-tool-box%2Fprod%2F205808%2F&docid=wRvsMuqHm4pdJM&tbnid=lltCVM8aJvM85M%3A&vet=10ahUKEwjezbHu_czhAhWSSxUIHY9hA18QMwjsASgSMBI..i&w=1537&h=1537&safe=strict&bih=657&biw=1366&q=stanley fat max tool box&ved=0ahUKEwjezbHu_czhAhWSSxUIHY9hA18QMwjsASgSMBI&iact=mrc&uact=8

 

https://www.toolstation.com/stanley-pro-mobile-tool-chest-with-tote/p29302?utm_source=googleshopping&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=googleshoppingfeed&gclid=CjwKCAjwkcblBRB_EiwAFmfyyyyTK3K8fs15uoyF3EzB715ogniUZGg2ADTZQYE9fGZGDeTNI0zMwhoC8VQQAvD_BwE

 

i dont mind them being heavy as their harder to pinch,my current tool box i use on a daily basis, standard metal cantilever box weighs 24kg. i know at my work no one touches it because they cant lift it haha

3 hours ago, ProDave said:

Okay, "The Touran"

 

Previously we had a VW Golf. It was 18 years old and had been the most reliable little car we had ever owned. Nothing major had broken, just normal consumables and servicing. It was still running but getting a bit tatty and SWMBO wanted a car with 7 seats.  This Golf had led us to the (now false) belief that VW made good cars.  So we bought a 5 year old Touran.

 

I did not like the Touran to drive.  I could never get comfortable in it. Set the seat right for the pedals and the steering wheel was at full arms stretch. Set the seat right for the steering wheel and my knees were up under the wheel, and I only have short legs.   I didn't like the lack of ground clearance. I am surprised we didn't break anything the number of times it bottomed out on sleeping policemen, even hump back bridges.  But none of this is the reason we came to know it as the sh!t car.  By the way it was the 1.6 petrol, gutless wonder.

 

It was absolutely lousy in snow and ice. the merest hint of a slippery slope and the wheels would just spin and it went nowhere. I have never know a car to be so useless in a bit of snow or ice, again that little Golf had been brilliant.

 

I think the first thing to go wrong was the exhaust.  A flexi coupling at the front broke.  The proper replacement part was only available from VW for £600.   £600 FFS for a section of exhaust.  We got the local garage to fix it instead with a universal flexi joint and some welding.

 

Not long after that it failed the MOT, broken coil spring. So the garage ordered a new pair for the front, and a week later I took it to have the springs fitted. When I got there he said "oh no I ordered the wrong set".  Then "Oh hang on a minute one of the back ones is broken now as well"   So a 5 year old car needing a COMPLETE new set of coil springs.  Every other car I have owned, the springs last the life of the car.

 

There were lots of other little niggles, but the final nail in the coffin was door locks.  One day the front passenger door would not unlock.  No way to manually unlock it.  Did some research. the official repair procedure is break open the door card from inside the car, unlock the door, replace the lock, fit a new door card.  FFS what sort of design is it where you have to smash the interior to pieces to effect a repair to a door lock?  As luck would have it 2 weeks later one day it was nice and the door unlocked.  I then took the door card off, disconnected the central locking actuator so it would not lock and put the door back together.

 

We sold it cheap to a buyer who was made fully aware that it needed the door lock fixing.

 

You only have to google and you will see lots more common faults. A common expensive one is the ABS pump failing. thankfully ours did not have that fault while we owned it.

 

The car spent most of the time we owned it with the engine management light on.  It kept throwing up random sensor faults  I bought a cheap fault code reader just so I could reset the light for the MOT and within a week it would be on again..

 

Glad to see the back of the POS.  Put us right off VW can't trust them to make a good car like that great little golf made 25 years ago now.

 

definitely not getting one of theses then! thank you

 

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Sidewinder

I went the other way to offer a first time fix to clients and the ability to do bench work and minor repairs in the van, because not all clients would have a bench and vice I could use.

I went down the Transit Jumbo route, kitted out with a bench, and racking, and I can still get a pallet in the rear or side for big bits of machine, and get long lengths and ladders inside.

I can also change in the van, which also helps depending on the site you are on, some are easier than others.

Mine is exactly what you describe it's a giant roll cab.

You'll start carrying spares once you drop your first couple of nuts and bolts into a pile of swarf never to be seen again, never to be dug out with a magnet coz that just picks up the swarf too, and especially if it's bigger than the nuts and bolts you dropped, you'll never find them.

 

Just remember that when you are working on machinery itself BS7671 is irrelevant, and there are a lot more recognised standards that are backed up by laws, so you can unwittingly cause a client to end up breaking laws depending on the work you do on the machine, even maintenance wise, that you may not realise.

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r3dd3v1l
9 hours ago, Sidewinder said:

I went the other way to offer a first time fix to clients and the ability to do bench work and minor repairs in the van, because not all clients would have a bench and vice I could use.

I went down the Transit Jumbo route, kitted out with a bench, and racking, and I can still get a pallet in the rear or side for big bits of machine, and get long lengths and ladders inside.

I can also change in the van, which also helps depending on the site you are on, some are easier than others.

Mine is exactly what you describe it's a giant roll cab.

You'll start carrying spares once you drop your first couple of nuts and bolts into a pile of swarf never to be seen again, never to be dug out with a magnet coz that just picks up the swarf too, and especially if it's bigger than the nuts and bolts you dropped, you'll never find them.

 

Just remember that when you are working on machinery itself BS7671 is irrelevant, and there are a lot more recognised standards that are backed up by laws, so you can unwittingly cause a client to end up breaking laws depending on the work you do on the machine, even maintenance wise, that you may not realise.

 

this is swaying me more towards the honda frv as its slightly taller in height than the avensis estate. few years ago i had a cmax, not by choice, but i turned up to an interview once, and on arrival, the boss asked if i could change into some overalls to carry out a practical assessment, literally in minutes in the back of the cmax i was fully changed to the bosses surprise, didnt get the job as i turned it down, but the extra space in a mpv definitely helps in that aspect, but yes, eventually thats what i want to aim for, rolling work shop, but very scared about theives 

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pewter

a long time ago i had a Ford Escort Van (3 of them) much too small.

 

First medium Van was VW T4  2003 2.5 TDi - when my daughter was born i converted it to a crew cab. Trouble with my no bulk head crew cab was it felt unsafe to leave  anything of value behind a glass window, i could not afford to have my MFT stolen. I also had stuff on the rear seats so it wasnt great as a van and not great as a family vehicle.

 

I now have VW T5.1 pure van, with bulk head and van vault. I feel safe leaving my MFT in the vault while i work in a property with van outside, i always take it in at night.

 

There is no way i could work out of a car, possible crewcab or pick up with secure back at a push.

 

Make sure you insure your vehicle to work from, the filth like to try trip people up round here if they see a domestic vehicle been used for work.

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Murdoch

I don't believe that a "car" based solution is tenable unless you go for a Ford Galaxy or similar and take all the seats out! 

 

I have a VW Transporter Kombi - the rear seats are 2 + 1 and the 2 seats live in my garage. The rear area behind the seats are racked out properly and I can get 3m lengths on stuff down the middle .......... I have invested in getting the rear windows all "more tinted".

 

As for insurance costs - its no more expensive than a car .......... but I guess that's my age and driving record being good!

 

I do take 6 "expensive" items out every night despite the van being parked on my drive in view of my CCTV camera!

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phil d

One of the problems I found with a vehicle as a mobile workshop is it depends on what you are doing, I had one with 2 large roll cabs in the back with all the tools in, great when I was going to a job on a farm and could pull up right next to where I was working, but a real pita if you had to park some distance from the job, or needed a number of tools. Constant trips back to the truck for different items, then all the time putting them away, or more than often after a late job they'd just get thrown in the back and I'd spend half an hour or so the following morning putting them away again.

When I realised I was going to be at the farm for a good while I got them to find somewhere where I could set up the 'leccy shop' unloaded all the cabs in there and set up a workbench, the good thing was that all my gear was covered by their insurance too. The only things I used to carry then was test gear and a small bag of hand tools in case I had to do a call out after work.

It's horses for courses, but some people get a large vehicle and use it as a mobile shed, eventually they end up with that much stuff piled in it they can't find something when they need it. 

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