This blog was inspired by another LJ asking if anybody could think of a use for an old table saw fence, since they didn’t want to just get rid of it. I decided to respond in my own blog, so I don’t hijack his blog.
So if you find yourself wondering what use you could possibly come up with for that left over saw part from after the upgrade, or a box of extra plumbing fixtures from a remodel 7 years ago, or that broken table leg you’ve kept,
Or that bucket of random rusty bolts your dad kept around “just in case the right one was in there,” or that stack of recycled wood that you have been putting off using because its still full of nails that would have to be pulled first and its not really worth the effort,
Or that old ice chest with the whole in it that you’ve been meaning to fix (but they came on sale so cheap that you bought a new one), or that old bicycle that you haven’t rode since 1985, or that punching bag you bought in college, or that other radial arm saw you have been meaning to fix up (I’m guilty of this one!),
Why not just get rid of it?
Part of the way I keep my shop organized is making sure I don’t have anything around that I don’t really need. In fact, I go through my whole shop once in a while and just get rid of a ton of stuff that I know I won’t use. Then I reorganize and find that I have a lot more space for the things I do need.
The table saw fence left over from an upgrade is a prime example of one of those things that seems like a great idea to keep, but in five years it will probably still just be on the shelf. It’s just an old craftsman table saw fence. You might be able to come up with a use for it, by why bother? You could easily do without it and use something else.
My shop pretty much goes by the ”immediate use” rule: If I can’t immediately see what I am going to use it for, it doesn’t stay. This is something I came up with when I had to move into student dorms in college and barely had enough space to sleep.
This concept keeps my tiny shop in ship shape and I always know where to find the things I do need. I introduced this concept to my boss and we have been using it at work too. Our store has gotten SO much cleaner and more organized since. We have yet to say “boy, I wish I hadn’t gotten rid of that…” at either shop.
The I.U. rule should be re-evaluated at least once a year. Because you will realize that that item that you didn’t throw out last year (because you saw a use for it) is still just collecting dust in the corner.
I used to be a total pack rat, (and so did my boss) and it’s just a different way of looking at things. “I could probably find a use for this some day…” to “I’m probably not really gonna need this any time soon, or ever for that matter.”
It’s time to look around your shop. What could you get rid of? What haven’t you used for years? How much valuable shop space does it represent? Here in California its time for “Spring cleaning” (you folks in the rest of the country might have to wait a few months)… So this is the perfect time to start making a pile for the yard sale as well as the dump.
And just to rub it in, (sorry, but I must adhere to the Lumberjocks NPDH rule) here are some photos out my front door this morning, where it’s pretty much Spring in February:
So, are you a “pack rat” or have you always conformed to the I.U. rule? Have you thrown anything away lately that has just been lying around forever? Let me know if you decide to try this, and how it goes. I would love to hear about it. In fact, take some before and after pictures and post them here. Give us a list of the things you have either gotten rid of lately, or plan to get rid of.
-- Happy woodworking! http://www.openarmsphotography.com