Shop cleanup

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Next week we get started on some long overdue home repairs. New roof, new windows, new garage door.

I was up at 5:00am this morning starting to clear out the garage. My pickup is about half full of junk that’s going to the dump or the thrift store. I’ll have a full load by noon. Why do I save so much stuff? Some examples, I have a small delta lathe, mounted nicely on a benchop, been storing the original stand for over twenty years. Skis and poles and boots; no one skis in my family. 3 camping stoves. We love to camp. We own a camper, with a kitchen. A pile of motors, all types that were going to be used in projects; never happened. 26 empty spray bottles (fantastik, febreze, window cleaner etc…) that were going to be useful. Cans of spray paint, many are empty or just don’t spray. Our last move was 28 years ago, some of the spray cans are that old. Two full shelves of stain, varnish that have dried and are fully cured.

I work in my wood shop a lot. I don’t like clutter. What am I thinking? How does this happen?

No scrap wood will be tossed or harmed during the cleanup.

If you have tips on staying organized, and don’t let junk overtake your space, please share.



A friend of mine – your average pack rat by genetics – got religion a few years ago, regarding his shop: some of his rules -
Stationery Tools – if I haven’t used it it two years, sell it!
Hand Power Tools – if I haven’t used it this past year, sell it!
Scrap: if I can immediately think of what I’d use it for, get rid of it.
Things on horizontal surfaces: If it predates my last project, put it away (really, away; as in “in or under” something) – if I don’t have room in or under something; something has to be thrown out).
Dirt – vacuum at the end of each day; blow-down the shop with a leaf blower at least once per week – whether it needs it or not.

I’m sure there are exceptions and other rules, the ones above make sense to me; but you have to be ever-vigilant and execute.

LOML suggested I inventory the shop for insurance purposes. That was a real eye popping experience for me. Once I (almost) completed the inventory, it was easy to review the items that were used and those that weren’t. Stuff that wasn’t used with any degree of regularity got recycled one way or another.

-- Art

I also need to re-organize and inventory my shop. There are thing I bought twice because I could not find the first one.
I am sure there are things I need to dispose off. I badly want to buy a lathe and learn tuning but I have no space for it; Maybe after a good cleanup…

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

Scraps and cutoffs are my big issue. And buckets too. I clean empty compound and paint buckets when they’re empty. They’re just too darned useful. But I finally tossed a dozen empty 5 gallon pails a few weeks ago. Nearly cried when I did it. LOL. But it had to be done.

As for scraps, they were collecting in a corner. I couldn’t clean there and it was getting hard to walk around them. So I built a scrap bin on casters and tossed about 80% of what was there. Now I can vacuum there and the bin kind of forces me to pick and choose what to keep because it fills up easily.

Losing fingers since 1969

Up early today, taking a little break now. Yesterday I did manage to fill the bed of the truck with junk. Sent four boxes of tools to the thrift store; screwdrivers, wrenches, socket sets, even some power tools etc… Going to fire up the compressor with a blow gun and cleanup corners, cabinets and shelves.

I was so happy to get a radial arm saw a while back. Its a Delta/Rockwell 105. Needed some TLC and works like a champ. The reality is I’ve only used it a couple of times. The table for the saw just collects junk so when I want to use it it takes time to put away or throw away the junk. I’m tossing some cabinets that I have cleared out.

I’ve gotten better at organizing the shop. I built a proper tool cabinet that helps a lot. I need to buy finishing products in smaller quantities. I’ve thrown away a lot of spray cans, stain, poly and varnish.

Just about every project I do I’ll use some scraps, so they will stay. The extra room I’ll have will be for a new, larger router table and a cart for better organizing scraps.

My hardest job today will be moving the table saw, workbench and assembly table. These are the only items that don’t have wheels.

Thanks for your thoughts and suggestions. I have a ways to go, but so far I’m happy with the progress.


I’m sore today from moving things around. I did get everything done. Contractors arrived 7:00am this morning. My wife tells me our place looks like a war zone. Won’t see till after work.

I have two opposite walls, cleared half way through the garage. Will be picking up some spackle, tape and at least a primer. I did not even think about this when I started my planning. I’m in no hurry.

I’m really excited about refreshing the space.



Revel in small successes – and large ones, and interim ones. My recommendation is to periodically ‘get angry’ with your garage space or your shop space, and with a vengeance re-order things, get rid of somethings, and buy somethings – ceiling & wall ranks, pegboard, …

.. and then there is the “Murphy’s Law” that as soon as you get rid of something, you will be needing it.

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit

Don’t say that MsDebbieP. It rings so true over here…

Abbas, Castro Valley, CA

and so I try to find that balance between hoarder and packrat ;)
ok, definitely not a hoarder … but would like to be an organized packrat!

Toxins Out, Nature In - body/mind/spirit