Home Forums Work Newbie-needs help

This topic contains 14 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  djk 8 years, 7 months ago.

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  • #159012

    Lemarsman
    Member

    I am a disorganized person. My biggest problem is my woodworking shop. I have tools and things everywhere. I used to have a fellow who helped me get it de-cluttered and organized. He moved.

    It is pretty bad. I don’t like to use the shop because of the clutter and disorganization. My first thought is to clean up the workbench and then radiate outwards from there. It will take time. I don’t know what else to do.

    Are there basic principles of organization to follow? Is there a good place to start? I am not sure if I want to toss valuable woodworking tools, but I could try to sell some. In the meantime, any ideas on how to move around and get my shop workable?

    Am I in the right forum?

    Thank you.

    LM

  • #177246

    Newbie-needs help

    I am not a woodworker but I am in the process of reorganizing the shop portion of our garage. I too would be interested in some basic principles.

    The first thing that I have done is to assemble all “like” things together — all the screwdrivers, for example, all the nails, all the sandpaper, all the glue. DH had borrowed a router a few weeks ago — in my excavations, I found we already owned two identical ones. So, my first recommendation would be to assemble a visual inventory, with no preconceived idea of this point how it will all be ultimately organized.

    We had a workbench there when we bought the house. I put some snazzy metal pegboard centered about it (6′ high x 4′ wide) and on both sides are four metal shelves. I have plastic shoe boxes on the shelves that contain stuff by category: electrical stuff, sandpaper, glue, knives and scrapers, etc.

    Behind the bench there is a ceiling-high set of wooden shelves made of rough lumber — I think there are five shelves. This is not organized at all yet, but stuff is neatly stacked up on it. I have a Sears 2-decker rolling took chest that I have just refurbished (paint stripper was spilled on it and the finish was bubbly and sticky) and I am now deciding what is to go in there.

    We still have a lot of miscellaneous stuff all over the garage but it is already much more functional than it was a few months ago.

    I wouldn’t get rid of anything until you know what you have — but my initial reaction is there is no reason to have two routers 🙂 If you do decide to get rid of valuable tools, there is no need to toss them. A HS wood shop, Habitat for Humanity, a community tool lending library — lots of people who would be delighted to have them. And, as you mentioned, you can sell them . . .

  • #177247

    SunshineR
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    Hi, LM. Welcome! You are in the right place. Start with small steps. The workbench sounds like a good beginning, a place where you will make room for progress and your future projects.

    1. Put like items together.
    2. Store items near to where they will be used.
    3. Work for 5 to 15 minutes at a time on organizing your items, then take a little break.
    4. Enjoy and celebrate your progress.
    5. Set a limit on how many items to keep, such as scrap pieces of wood, how many of certain sizes of nails, how many straight screwdrivers. You may be amazed at how many items you have, once you start sorting.
    6. If it truly is useful and important to you, I say keep it.
    7. Sell or donate what you do not want…if you do have expensive items, selling might be worth your time.
    8. Progress, not perfection.
    9. Think of what your goal is; maybe, finding items more easily, having more space, more creative energy when there are less distractions, more time to enjoy your hobby instead of juggling clutter in order to find the workbench.

  • #177250

    Lemarsman
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    Thanks. I feel better already.

    LM

  • #177254

    SunshineR
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    LM, you’re welcome…that’s what Unclutterer is about.

  • #177259

    Shortbird
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    Sunshine and Susan have given some great advice there.

    The “like with like” rule is a perfect one to begin with: after all, by the time you’ve decided how many to keep of a certain item, you may not need to lash out on additional storage. And you may need to commandeer some sorting boxes from elsewhere till this part of the job finished!

    Oh, by the way, is all of your woodworking stuff in the shop, or has it migrated to other parts of the property? 🙂

    My boyfriend’s father has a lovely, large shed that holds all of his woodworking tools and equipment: however, he doesn’t keep most of his timber in there. Nope, that lives in the garage and totally fills that space: he does know exactly what he has in there. His car – not used very often, as he usually uses the van – lives on the driveway next to the house.

  • #177260

    Claycat
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    When my FIL died, I helped my MIL get rid of his workshop equipment and his workshop. In hindsight, we should have done it differently. I would have hired an auctioneer. That would have made a lot more money for my MIL. Her neighbor bought a lot of his power equipment for too little. She didn’t want to deal with it, so she settled for less. Then we had an estate sale. Then she sold the rest, plus the movable building that held it.

    This doesn’t really apply to your case, but I want to tell you that tools are very valuable, especially the older ones. I have a few tools that belonged to my father. I treasure them, because they are solid tools. So, when you start weeding, keep the older tools. A good thing to know is that tools sell very well. Very Well! They sell quicker than anything else. If you need the money, you will get a good price on an auction site or craigslist, or wherever you decide to sell.

  • #177263

    Lemarsman
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    Thanks again. I have not thought about it too much, but the “like with like” rule makes me think there must be principles of organization. Is there a good book on clutter and organization that anyone can recommend?

    Thanks again.

    LM

  • #177274

    Lemarsman
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    My tools have not migrated to other areas of my property, thank goodness.

    Thanks for the help.

    Pegboard is fairly inexpensive.

    LM

    any search tool on this forum?

  • #177276

    lottielot
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    There were some good book recommendations made recently if you look back a few pages. I’m not sure about the search thing, I’m sure there must be! You could probably always try googling the specific search term and put ‘unclutterer forum’ with the search term, that would probably work.

  • #177277

    lottielot
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    oh, if you go to ‘archives’ down the bottom then you can look at the subject tags, that may help.

  • #177281

    Newbie-needs help

    On the main page of the Blog there is a google search box specific to this site which also grabs the forum entries.

  • #177282

    Lemarsman
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    Great. Many thanks.

    LM

  • #177333

    djk
    Member

    Newbie-needs help

    LM–welcome! warning, long post ahead!

    my dad had a woodwork shop in our garage yet we still were able to park the car:)

    You have several issues to consider. Wood needs to be stored correctly to prevent warping and moisture, and clean-up has to be easy with all that sawdust that can be generated. Safety practices are very important.

    I did a quick google search on “principles of organizing workshops” and quite a lot of information came up. Here are a few things I came across which might be useful to you:

    consider WORKFLOW first:
    http://forums.thathomesite.com/forums/load/wood/msg0100423422068.html?7 read a few posts down for the comment by “bobsmyuncle” regarding workflow
    If you don’t have a clear idea of your best workflow, close your eyes and imagine the project you would love to do in a perfect space that someone else would magically set up for you. Start with bringing the perfect wood home. Where would you put it in that ideal space? Then where would your drafting plan be? Then what tool would you use first? of course everything you need will be immediately at hand, oiled, sharpened, etc.

    This may seem like a silly little exercise but visualization is a great way to figure out what you need and how you want the space to function.

    Then there are the standard mantras of organizing, which others have already mentioned:
    CLEAR OUT anything that is obviously clutter. Sweep up/shopvac what you can first, do a quick general tidy of the obvious so you can see better what you’re facing. Bent nails and broken tools are not in your ideal workshop.

    COLLECT like with like. Again, then you see what you have and what you want to keep.

    DECIDE where a sensible place for everything would be. If someone were to ask you where they should keep their safety glasses and dust mask, you would probably tell them that the safety glasses should be hanging on a nail above the saws and dust masks should be near the sanders etc. So imagine someone is asking your advice and then you act on what you would tell them. This is the PEEP idea. A Place for Everything and Everything in its Place. PEEP is quite easy to apply, actually. Heavy things live low, lightweight things live high. Things used frequently are more accessible than things used once a year. Labelled boxes and bins make small things easier to locate than unlabelled. If something is hard to put away you won’t put it away.

    DONATE or SELL everything you don’t need or haven’t used for a long time and may never use again, if you are honest with yourself.

    There are two important factors to consider first, IMO.

    Number 1 is that junk goes first. All junk. Anything that is not useable as is, is junk. It is amazing to me that people try to organize around garbage–a candy wrapper on the floor, dead pens, empty pop cans, sticky work surfaces, crumpled receipts, just things that belong in the garbage, and then they feel overwhelmed. Start by clearing out every tiny bit of actual garbage. There will be a lot less to organize just by doing that. If you have a broken tool you want to get fixed, have a spot to collect all the broken tools you still want but need attention.

    Number 2 I learned on this forum. It is that it is far better to get rid of things than to try to organize them.

    if you are a visual person, look for youtube videos on organizing garages or workshops.

    also, this article on organizing one’s writing uses examples of organizing principles when organizing a garage. I find it useful! http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/composition/organization.htm

    HTH!

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