When your shop is a mess, what's the first thing you do?

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Forum topic by Sandra posted 02-23-2014 02:05 AM 4808 views 1 time favorited 128 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2251 days

02-23-2014 02:05 AM

At the moment, my shop is a complete disaster. I just finished a project, picked up some lumber and hardware on Kijiji and on top of that the garage stuff seems to have multiplied. Tomorrow’s mission is to get it back in order.

So, I was just curious – for those of you who can’t relax unless there’s some order in your shop (you know who you are) what’s the first thing you do? In other words, how do you do your clean up?

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

128 replies so far

View lightcs1776's profile


4230 posts in 1830 days

#1 posted 02-23-2014 02:11 AM

Sandra, my shop also contains the gas furnace. Things get cleaned up pretty quickly. Anything flammable is used in limited quantities away from the furnace and gas water heater. It’s not ideal, but it is what I have to work with. So when I get done with a project, I put away all flammable liquids, then pull out the shop vac, then clean up any tools or wood.

-- Chris ** If there must be trouble, let it be in my day, that my child may have peace. — Tom Paine **

View TheDane's profile


5534 posts in 3839 days

#2 posted 02-23-2014 02:16 AM

I just turn out the lights and close the door. LOL

Actually, I pickup tools and stow them where they belong. I turn the air filtration system on high, fire up the compressor and blow off machines, bench, flat surfaces, etc. starting from highest above the floor. In good weather, I open the roll-up garage door and return the debris to Mother Nature with a leaf blower. In cold weather, I fire up the dust collector and use the Rockler Dust Right floor sweep and go after it. Then I empty the dust collector bin and shop vacuum.

-- Gerry -- "I don't plan to ever really grow up ... I'm just going to learn how to act in public!"

View changeoffocus's profile


467 posts in 1793 days

#3 posted 02-23-2014 02:19 AM

I read a post the other day that said at any given time you need to sort of shut down and start over. I hit that more often than not. I put everything in it’s original place, throw at least half of those small pieces that I know I’ll use someday away and empty the trash. I reverse the hose on my shop vacuum to leaf blower mode and blow all the dust down then sweep up. Turn on the air cleaner and go run errands or whatever. When I come back it’s like a new beginning.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2251 days

#4 posted 02-23-2014 02:21 AM

Generally I start by putting tools back where they belong also. And then I easily get side tracked…

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View Sandra's profile


7207 posts in 2251 days

#5 posted 02-23-2014 02:22 AM

FW – I like that concept.

-- No, I don't want to buy the pink hammer.

View JL7's profile


8690 posts in 3141 days

#6 posted 02-23-2014 02:28 AM

Agree with all of the comments above…..

On a grander scale, I really try to find a permanent home for all the tools….preferably at the point of use. I have pencils and tape measures all over the shop….where I use them. Same with those quick grip clamps. So you don’t necessarily need to store all your clamps or tape measures in the same place.

If you frequently use a screw driver to remove the plate on the table saw, make a spot for it there…

So the point is, when you use a tool, more often than not, you can put it back now, not later….

But tools are a known quantity….wood on the other hand…...that’s another story…..

-- Jeff .... Minnesota, USA

View Farrout's profile


187 posts in 3330 days

#7 posted 02-23-2014 02:29 AM

Having worked in an auto shop at one time, and now in my very small wood shop, I’ve learned to constantly put away the last tool I used. The worst thing I run into is laying things on the table saw and having to move them before I can make a cut.
Constant clean up and putting things away.
But then, I’m 66 years old.

-- If we learn from our mistakes, I should be a genius!

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

29973 posts in 2514 days

#8 posted 02-23-2014 02:43 AM

I could throw in a tasteless joke like “burn it down and build a new one”. But that’s beneath me.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View April Wilkerson's profile

April Wilkerson

117 posts in 1754 days

#9 posted 02-23-2014 02:56 AM

I try my hardest to put things away as I’m working, but at the end of a project, I still always have sooo much scattered. I start with picking up all the scraps, then start putting tools back in their place. Then I sweep the floor and call it done.

I love cleaning my shop though. I don’t do it immediately after finishing a project because I’m typically tired but the following day I’ll just turn on some tunes then move around and enjoy it.

-- Wilkerson

View rustfever's profile


759 posts in 3486 days

#10 posted 02-23-2014 02:57 AM

Clean. First sweep and put away the wood. Then get busy with the small tools, get them to their normal ‘place’

-- Rustfever, Central California

View Picklehead's profile


1048 posts in 2105 days

#11 posted 02-23-2014 03:02 AM

Monte: Glad to see your sense of humor wasn’t lost in the conflagration.

-- Quote from ebay tool listing: " Has nicks and dings wear and tear dust and dirt rust and pitting but in good working condition"

View Don Broussard's profile

Don Broussard

3673 posts in 2427 days

#12 posted 02-23-2014 03:07 AM

Put away tools, sweep up plane shavings then vacuum from top down. My big challenge lately is that “my” shop has become a temporary storage area for OPJ ( other people’s junk). I really have to put my foot down before I lose my shop completely!

-- People say I hammer like lightning. It's not that I'm fast -- it's that I never hit the same place twice!

View jmartel's profile


8199 posts in 2326 days

#13 posted 02-23-2014 04:01 AM

Tools first, then large enough pieces into the scrap bin, then smaller pieces into the yard waste bin, then vacuum all the dust up.

-- The quality of one's woodworking is directly related to the amount of flannel worn.

View Paul's profile


721 posts in 1741 days

#14 posted 02-23-2014 04:18 AM

I’m a bit of a neat freak, see my shop. It takes a few seconds more to puts tools away rather than on the first surface you see.

Like TheDane I also use my DC with the rockler dust right for quick floor clean up. I epoxied my poured concrete basement floors and clean up with the DC is a breeze.

View bowedcurly's profile


519 posts in 1905 days

#15 posted 02-23-2014 04:27 AM

I beg for mercy on my soul, then cry, start with tools first, then sweep

-- Staining killed the wood<<<<<>>>>>Dyeing gave it life

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