Livestock Mats – An incredibly overqualified area rug for my garage!

Sep 22 2019
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(Adding the most overqualified area rug ever to my garage using eight livestock mats.) Disorder, things not being in their place or unfinished or disorganized clutter will eventually drive me totally and completely NUTS. My garage being the disaster its been for five years now has slowly been chipping away at my sanity. This spring I tackled it long before our snow was gone, making a giant pile in the center of it of all of my furniture and hauling another dozen bags of trash to the dump. Getting everything off of my walls took SIX DIFFERENT BITS on my impact driver oh and there were nails too! The sheer ridiculous randomness of it all left me just FURIOUS.

I had simply let my ex do whatever he wanted out here so it took me a good four hours just to strip this place down to bare walls so I could run electric and insulate.


For my OCD brain this has been an anxiety-inducing horror I saw every single day just mocking me as this enormous task of manual labor (and that was before I thought of using the livestock mats!) It just all made me SO MAD.

With the walls finally bare and all the trash gone first I ran power and got all my outlets and lights in and then I insulated (shudders at that painful memory) and then, with help, I covered the interior walls with thick plastic and then rolls of bubble wrap insulation. And it was FINALLY time to put my garage back together for really the first time in its life.

First, I hung the steel door my friend gave me.

I’ve framed in several doors in my life but this is the best I have ever done. Its level (despite that the floor isn’t), it does not swing on its own one way or the other and it shuts and seals beautifully with just a nudge.

Of course its not PERFECT, but I totally did a ridiculous happy dance!

(I am aware it makes me weird to be this excited but to be able to just walk through a regular door to go into my garage made all of this a reality. I no longer had a shitty, VERY expensive, unfinished pole shed – suddenly I had a HUGE outdoor ROOM! A REAL GARAGE!)

Using very heavy livestock mats to make a very over qualified area rug in the back of my garage. Horse stalls, underfoot mat for over concrete.Using very heavy livestock mats to make a very over qualified area rug in the back of my garage. Horse stalls, underfoot mat for over concrete.

I’d been working on my garage plan forever so I knew exactly where each piece of furniture belonged. (I had to figure out where I wanted the furniture before I even started running electrical.) The big buffet/tool bench I put on the north wall with two dedicated outlets on two separate 20amp breakers just for running crock pots etc.

My mom stopped by when I was about midway through my pile of furniture and finding a place for everything.
Me: Hey you want to help me hang those upper cabinets quick before you go?
Mom: Sure!
(Three hours later…)
Mom: I need to go home!

It was AWESOME to have her! She helped me finish putting every single thing away and in its place. With the cabinets up and the buffet’s lower shelf empty I had a ton of room for garage storage.

When she left I tackled the corner of my garage that I’ve always kept my yard tools in. My new door hinges in to basically cover the corner up so they would never be in the way and I simply could NOT move them to a new location because they’ve been in this spot too long.

(If I moved my yard tools now I would still walk to this corner for a rake or shovel for years before I finally got their new location into my brain and I just don’t need that kind of aggravation in my life lol.)

I had a couple of pieces of steel leftover from when I got my wood stove out of the house and renovated my kitchen. So, I used it in this corner to protect my walls and then screwed a pallet to the wall too. The steel will protect everything and my yard tools have a great tucked away home!

And then I stepped back and did my: chewing-on-my-bottom-lip-cause-its-time-to-do-something-that-I-really-want-to-do-but-everyone-will-yell-at-me-cause-I-probably-shouldn’t-do-it-alone stance that always turns into me deciding that I’m a full grown adult and can make my own idiotic decisions.

Me: I’ll just do one and see how it goes…

Remember those 100+ pound livestock mats I had to move out of the way to get my horses’ water tank in the garage? Well, it dawned on me (when I was standing on my friends’ concrete garage floor with absolutely screaming frozen feet last winter) how I had these really great rubber mats that would be just awesome under foot in my garage…

It would be a WASTE not to use them!

Fifty Feet.

That’s roughly how far I had to move each one of them.

Using very heavy livestock mats to make a very over qualified area rug in the back of my garage. Horse stalls, underfoot mat for over concrete.Using very heavy livestock mats to make a very over qualified area rug in the back of my garage. Horse stalls, underfoot mat for over concrete.Using very heavy livestock mats to make a very over qualified area rug in the back of my garage. Horse stalls, underfoot mat for over concrete.Using very heavy livestock mats to make a very over qualified area rug in the back of my garage. Horse stalls, underfoot mat for over concrete.Using very heavy livestock mats to make a very over qualified area rug in the back of my garage. Horse stalls, underfoot mat for over concrete.

My garage was SO CLOSE to being “done” (not including the ceiling) and if I am in ANY WAY capable of doing something… Its almost like my stubbornness goads me into it… Like HOW DARE those livestock mats beat me! That’s BS! I’ve got this!! (…and then, historically, I usually hurt myself…)

So I did it, I moved all eight of them, very slowly, one at a time. They’re almost impossible for me to drag so I ended up just kinda rolling them over and letting them flop forward on their own. (Imagine a giant inch worm doing slow motion somersaults.)

It really sucked.

And, as if the entire job wasn’t bad enough, those mats were covered in decade old horse poop and pee not to mention layers of rotting leaves. We had also been getting plenty of rain so they were SLIMY. I SHOULD have power washed them before putting them in the garage but I decided to deal with the nasty later.

I could barely pick my arms up the next day. I felt like I had done hours of pull ups!

But I am pleased to report that I did not injure myself!

For the third time working on this garage I threw my gloves in the trash and then I proceeded to my laundry room and put everything I was wearing (including my shoes) in my machine before proceeding directly to my shower!

For those wondering: NO I am not throwing away expensive work gloves. I buy the gloves that I use in bulk on Amazon – they’re gardening gloves and I like them because I can still feel what I’m doing. They’re less than $4 a pair but even then when I do jobs like this I have a stack of REALLY old ones that are in terrible shape already.

Later I scrubbed the mats with a mixture of bleach, soap and water before rinsing them well. It gave my garage a bath too so it all went OK.

Ridiculously it was when I was cleaning the mats when I sustained my worst injury in the garage so far.

One of my old tables has a center support that isn’t attached. When I moved the table I knew it would fall over, what I didn’t count on was that it would perfectly land its heavy-corner-head smack on one of my toes.

Nothing broken but OMG REALLY?! A week later my toe was still blue!

I honestly couldn’t sell nor could I give those mats away (I tried for over a year) and they’re worth quite a bit so the fact that they were wasted, unused for years, has always bothered me a lot. So using them here is a total win-win for me and, YES, they’re great to stand on!

With that done it was absolutely KILLING me not to “finish” this. So, my mom helped me move my living room sofa out to the garage. Besides that the garage got my living room coffee table and one of my living room end tables too.

Also my garage got my Indoor to Outdoor sofa and chair from my deck and finally I had a completed seating area for real! It was totally cause for dancing if I had been able. What I managed to do was sit down with my feet up in my new “living” room and have myself a very cold (very strong) alcoholic beverage!

Just a couple more things to do!

Using very heavy livestock mats to make a very over qualified area rug in the back of my garage. Horse stalls, underfoot mat for over concrete.


  1. September 22, 2019 at 8:24 am

    Looks great! So you’re not using it to house you car, etc? More as a party room?

    • September 23, 2019 at 8:00 am

      Hi Nancy, it will be both actually. I’ll be able to move a couple of things around so I can keep my car in there all winter but summers I just keep my car outside so it makes a great party space too!

  2. Amanda
    September 22, 2019 at 9:10 am

    I love your use of what’s available. Your garage turned out great.

  3. Lynnie
    September 22, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Congratulations on moving those mats! You aren’t the only one who “does it alone” … and I have the messed up back to prove it! I have been following your garage saga for a while and I’m really proud of you! (And your post about buying that lovely rug … sometimes we HAVE to spoil ourselves after a “miserable situation”! Been there, done that … and he can keep the tee shirt!!) Looking forward to your next post!

    • September 23, 2019 at 8:02 am

      Thank you so much Lynnie, you totally made me laugh out loud! Damn straight he can keep the t shirt bahahaha. I have definitely messed up my back a couple of times and learned the hard way to be way more careful, definitely don’t bounce when I go down like I used to when I was a kid!

  4. Karen
    September 22, 2019 at 10:31 am

    Hi Tarah! I look forward every week to your blog. Love what you’ve done with your outdoor living room. Based on the weight of those livestock mats, it looks like they’ve found their permanent home! 😉 Just a question, and I hope I didn’t miss it somewhere.. is their going to be a reveal of different indoor living room furniture, or are you going to move these back into the house? Inquiring minds want to know.. 😉 Happy Fall!

    • September 23, 2019 at 8:03 am

      Hi Karen, yeppers those livestock mats are where they’re going to stay FOREVER lol. Yep! I have big plans for my indoor living room and finally just purchased a new sofa for it, this December I hope to have the whole room completed and do a reveal of it here on the blog!

  5. September 22, 2019 at 11:18 am

    Tarah – a big HURRAH!!! for you – you made a great gathering place (with the plugs where you need them too) and what a handy tool storage (recycling yet again) – Screen door and Steel white door. Hard work, great plan and organization. Love reading your posts. Mom help is a treasure.

    • September 23, 2019 at 8:06 am

      Thank you so much Joy! Yes Mom help is the best of treasures 🙂

  6. Pat M.
    September 22, 2019 at 12:24 pm

    Don’t you need your garage for your car during those terrible Minnesota winters? I can see using it for a party barn in the summer, but winter?????

    • September 23, 2019 at 8:07 am

      Hi Pat, yep that is absolutely the plan! I’ll move the furniture around a bit for when the snow flies so I can use it to house my car all winter long! Thanks for coming by.

  7. September 22, 2019 at 3:58 pm

    I read all your posts. If I lived by you I would be helping you. I do a lot of things by myself too. You go girl.

  8. September 23, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Hi Tarah! Another good job done…. but if the living room sofa is out in the garage, surely you will be doing a blog very very soon about a new sofa in the house? ……… xx

    • September 23, 2019 at 12:09 pm

      Hi Susan, for sure! This winter I’m going to do a total redo of my living room, can’t wait to show you guys my new sofa!

  9. September 23, 2019 at 12:44 pm

    That is awesome that you were able to use those mats. I also love your garden tool storage. Your garage turned out amazing! You go girl!!!

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