I have had a number of changes in my life over the course of the last year. I was a little spoiled over the last five years with a job that I could work from home and a schedule that allowed a somewhat normal pattern of sleep. I have been adjusting to the midnight shift and a couple hour drive each day. I don’t expect much sympathy here, I am grateful that I am still gainfully employed :)
But it has caused me to have to reassess how I spend time on my hobby. Kiids, relationships, work, house maintenances, etc. all have their place and importance, but a hobby helps inject a little energy back into your life and helps take your mind off some of the daily troubles and worries that we all go through. To be honest, I can be a real jerk if I don’t have a little “me” time now and again.
I looked at my schedule, and I pretty much have 3-4 days a month I can call my own. Even on those days, much of that time is to take care of things that slip by the other 26+ days. I needed a different routine, something that allows me a little escape but does not let me get too carried away where responsibilities suffer. In order to have this time, though, it was going to have to be productive. My shop situation at the time involved almost 30-40 minutes of scooting things around in order for me to perform a task, followed by 30-40 minutes of the same to do something else.
My shop is in my basement. When I purchased the house, the basement was already filled with a variety of goodies and left overs. When I first started the hobby, I could set up shop in about a quarter of it. That moved to 50 percent and, with tool purchases over the last year, it was going to have to move to around 75%. If I can only work for an hour in a day, 2/3s of that time can’t involve setup.
So… It was time to get rid of the dishes, old furniture, used cans of paint, mangled boards, and a very strange plywood camel used by someone in the past as a Christmas decoration. Family does mean well. They see a guy living alone in a large house and they want to “help.” Add to that, the reputation of being a “woodworker” and you will get some of the strangest assortments of “useful” items imaginable. I was able to give about half of that away and the other half went to the garbage. After about a month of heavy loads, I bought a significant amount of shop space. I have work flow again and most of my benchtop and stationary tools are setup without the need to shuffle.
I have no before pics, but took a few while in the process. It looks chaotic, but in reality I have enough space to even setup a finishing station on the other side. I couldn’t do that before.
So now I can move from TS to bandsaw to scrollsaw to lathe to planer to router to two workbenches without much fuss. I know where everything is at and I don’t have to trip over things in order to get to them.
Clutter in the environment was only half the problem. The other half is clutter in the brain. I will go over that in my next blog.
-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.