June 22 – Getting Organized

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My garage is ALWAYS a mess. My hobbies consume lots of space with the tools / parts / half-finished projects all trying to coexist based on my focus at that time.

I’ve given up trying to find the “big weekend” to clean it out, so I’m working on it an hour a night. Its not AS hot as 2pm on a weekend, so I’m making the best of it.

When I added the new garage, I set it up for car + electrical work. Later, when I thought I was buying a CNC router, I started moving all the car + electrical stuff to the old garage to make room for all the wood stuff in the new garage. I never bought the CNC router, but I also never completely rearranged the garage. I have this really cool shelving system that my father-in-law found in a Time / Life woodworking book. It is ROCK solid and can hold anything – and it runs floor to ceiling. I built the first set 5+ years ago, then last year (or was it two years ago?) I did another wall. I have my power saws / belt sander mounted to these wood shelves, and I slide them out to do work. I take the shelf and clamp it to saw horses – poof, instant wood shop. Here is a visual to help…

With the 2 walls I have 8 sections of these shelves (and have the routed 2x4s to make another few sections). This shelving system is very reasonable to build, very strong (you can stand / jump on a shelf) and will last forever (unlike those #*&% plastic hardware store shelves). If you want the instructions, let me know 🙂

This weekend I was trying to find a home for my drill press – it was one of my nice craftsman workbenches taking up space, and I didn’t want it in that garage. It dawned on me that the shelves could actually be workspaces. So the drill press was moved onto a shelf (not mounted, because I could NEVER slide out that shelf anyway). I also mounted my bench grinder on the left middle shelf (the Ryobi) although I moved the other orange bench grinder and mounted my vise on the back of that same shelf. Now my workbenches are clean, I didn’t have to drill holes in the workbenches to have my grinder & vise mounted, and everything fits in space I already had. I still need to find a home for some crap that was on those shelves, but the other shelves clearly aren’t space optimized anyway…

Next, I decided I wanted to get my airtools off the main workbench pegboard. I don’t use them that often and they were taking lots of space. I realized I had some empty space above my compressor, so I grabbed a piece of geartrack, cut it in half, and poof, my pegboard is clean (of airtools…_)

This also found a use for 4 of the 12 geartrack bins I purchased 3+ years ago, but never used. I also installed another piece of geartrack above the workbench pegboard (about 18″ below the ceiling), put the last metal shelf up (yet another item that’s been sitting here for years waiting for a use) and put some of my hobbyist kits up on it.

I will keep up this “hour a night” routine for a while to see how far I get, and maybe hit it hard this weekend.

I’m doing all this so that the garage is ready for an intense electronics + car work phase this summer / fall. When the garage is clean and tools / parts are organized, my productivity soars. Now I just need to find a place for a whiteboard out there so I can make a big project list…

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