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Home Workshop #1: The War against Clutter

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Blog entry by David Craig posted 02-24-2010 02:35 PM 2212 reads 0 times favorited 21 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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This week I found myself between projects and this is my on call week, so I decided to invest my time in cleaning up my basement shop. I have an on call rotation every other week which means that I could get paged anytime, 24/7. I do not like to do to many projects that require much concentration during my on call cycle because the infrequent paging makes it difficult to have a good stop point where a step is properly completed.

Every 6 months or so, I have a tendency to move things around, try out a different layout, get rid of more garbage, and see what I can do with the space gain. When I first moved in, the basement was a dark and gloomy place, filled with spiders and garbage, lighting was poor, and quickly became the storage location for all things unused, seasonal, or saved just because. I started trying to make a credible workshop out of it 2 years ago, with most of my purchases being within the last year. The last time I organized it, I was able to make the basement half workshop and half storage facility and was at this stage -

Cluttered but usable bench -

Cluttered bench

Corner table with tools piled on and wood everywhere -

cluttered wall area

I spent the last couple days cleaning out more garbage (I have to give credit to the trash collectors. They haven’t slashed my tires yet..), making a makeshift lumber rack from the joists out of some garbage wood, clearing out most of the garbage wood I had remaining, and organizing what I had. I still have a bit to go, but I really opened up the floor space in the basement and I am now using about 75% of the space for my shop.

Space utilized on the other end of my shop for storage, even have space for a little folding workbench for clamping and gluing -

expanded storage space

Clutter free bench where I might actually be able to work on items -

bench as it is now

And a free wall within the shop for carts, benches, tables, etc. -

clean wall next to tool rack

Now I can walk around my machines without turning into a contortionist. Garbage day was yesterday and I already have a full bin for next week. One more load after that and I will be sitting pretty decent. I have a router table on wheels and a portable workbench/tool stand with drawers at the planing stages. Once these are in place, I should be able to just move things where I need them without much sweat. I am looking at the HF 2 hp dust collector system and would like to get one more corner cleared out for it and run hoses above the joists. It would take some time but combined with a purchase of an air filtration system, the basement should be a fairly pleasant place to be.

Happy Woodworking everyone and thanks for reading.

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.



21 comments so far

View JohnnyW's profile

JohnnyW

83 posts in 1785 days


#1 posted 02-24-2010 03:29 PM

Nice progress on the de-cluttering, it makes a huge difference to be able to see where things are and get around safely. The rack for your hand tools looks tidy and well organised.

Looks like you just need a slightly bigger lumber rack to store the sheets and offcuts….

-- John

View Dennis Fletcher's profile

Dennis Fletcher

455 posts in 1809 days


#2 posted 02-24-2010 03:47 PM

Man, looks like you made good progress.

-- http://www.ahomespecialist.net, Making design and application one. †

View JimNEB's profile

JimNEB

239 posts in 1822 days


#3 posted 02-24-2010 03:55 PM

A never ending process. I wish clutter dissapeared as fast as it accumulates!

-- Jim, Nebraska

View rtb's profile

rtb

1099 posts in 2467 days


#4 posted 02-24-2010 04:03 PM

The next time you are not on call would you like to spend some time in my shop ?

-- RTB. stray animals are just looking for love

View nmkidd's profile

nmkidd

758 posts in 1927 days


#5 posted 02-24-2010 04:21 PM

Clutter is good….....it gives you something to do on rainy days!!!!..........my problem is after a declutter day…......I can’t find anything!!

-- Doug, New Mexico.......the only stupid question is one that is never asked!........don't fix it, if it ain't broke!

View Beginningwoodworker's profile

Beginningwoodworker

13347 posts in 2427 days


#6 posted 02-24-2010 04:32 PM

Nice progress!

-- CJIII Future cabinetmaker

View Gary's profile

Gary

7622 posts in 2187 days


#7 posted 02-24-2010 04:55 PM

I’m proud to see you have your safety equip on your saw. That’s one of the only ones shown in posts that actually still have it on the saw. If I had mine on, my finger and thumb would still be in original condition.

-- Gary, DeKalb Texas only 4 miles from the mill

View bobdurnell's profile

bobdurnell

306 posts in 2651 days


#8 posted 02-24-2010 05:47 PM

Love the clutter, shows signs of good work. I can’t help noticing the hammer hanging on your bench. Could that be a Tim Allen signature hammer?

-- bobdurnell, Santa Ana California.

View Jason's profile

Jason

655 posts in 2263 days


#9 posted 02-24-2010 06:26 PM

I also seem to rearrange my garage every six months or so. Makes me feel productive without actually doing anything other than clearing a lot of dust.

-- Jason - Colorado Springs

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4351 posts in 1803 days


#10 posted 02-24-2010 06:55 PM

‘A never ending process. I wish clutter dissapeared as fast as it accumulates!”

It will IF you put your stuff back where it belongs as soon as you used it.
I try to explain that to my wife.

When she cooks she piles up everything in the sink.
When I cook I clean and I put away as I go.
When I am finished the kitchen is not a huge mess.

I do the same thing in my shop, at work and at home.
This is just a question of discipline.
I cannot stand to look for my tools, noise nor mess, so I do everything i can to avoid one and the other.

-- Bert

View Jordan's profile

Jordan

1358 posts in 1879 days


#11 posted 02-24-2010 07:29 PM

David, you’re a lot like me – putting up with clutter until it drives you crazy and you revamp it all. Your little workshop looks about as big(or small) as mine – I just hate to throw little chunks of wood away for the ‘time’ I might need them. Well, I’m glad to see you’re in there anyways. The one thing I didn’t see in the photos was a carving started….hmmmmmm?

-- http://www.jordanstraker.com

View Mary Anne's profile

Mary Anne

1057 posts in 1963 days


#12 posted 02-24-2010 07:39 PM

Great progress! Every time I go to declutter it turns into an excuse to make something to assist in shop organization. That usually gets me a place to put away one tool… and three taken out to build it. I tell myself that if I keep at it, it will someday turn into progress.

View Swede's profile

Swede

191 posts in 1773 days


#13 posted 02-24-2010 07:45 PM

Good luck with you cleaning and organizing the shop. I built a lot of cabinets to put my stuff in. I still have junk sitting on the floor and all over the work bench. I have an upright air compressor in the corner and have run PVC lines with quick disconnect. I can blow off the saw dust to bad the air hose doesn’t work for clutter.

-- Swede -- time to make some sawdust

View b2rtch's profile

b2rtch

4351 posts in 1803 days


#14 posted 02-24-2010 08:05 PM

I think that another issue with clutter is keeping stuff.
I believe that most people just keep “everything” just in case.
I am not a “keeper”.
I keep very few things.
My favorite friend is my trash can.
If I do not see an obvious use for something , up it goes.
Same thing with papers, books, records, pictures and everything else.
Not that necessarily waste stuff, but keeping is not my style.

-- Bert

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2135 posts in 1863 days


#15 posted 02-24-2010 08:06 PM

Thanks for the comments all. Greatly appreciated. I am a frequent cleaner and my mommy taught me to put my toys away when I am done with them :) I just need a bigger toy box. Limited ceiling height and obstructions like the plumbing, the water heater, furnace, etc. has been a continued challenge. I have to keep my access to the maintenance of these items and still make shop space, plus deal with the garbage that has been there. Each org session improves things a bit but I also keep adding :)

rtb – send me a ticket to New York and I will be happy to help you out. Please make it first class with a decent food selection for the flight ;)

bobturnell – Yes, that is a Tim Allen signature hammer. I received it as a gift quite a few years ago when the signature tool line came out. I rarely use it but I keep a space for it because it reminds me not to play tool time in my shop and because it was a gift. Who knows, maybe it will be worth something some day. I did think the design was cool.

Gary – Thanks for noticing that I do use the splitter and blade guard. I have known too many woodworkers (even one is too many) who can’t brag about having all their digits. I have had some close calls where both saved my skin and my gut (kickback doesn’t sound pretty). I also have my fire alarm set up down there and next check will pickup the fire extinguisher and first aid supplies.

Jordan – I have an owl carving started, but other projects (birthdays and such) have put it on the back burner. I did do some overlay with the new dremel, mostly using the carbide cutters for shaping and rounding. I am getting the hang of it :)

David

-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

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