6 Tips on Keeping a Neat and Tidy Workshop

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6 Tips on Keeping a Neat and Tidy Workshop

29 Oct 2019

6 Tips on Keeping a Neat and Tidy Workshop
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Be it professional, or just a hobby, woodworking requires a separate space dedicated to the craft. You need a place to keep your arsenal of tools and get in your element.

However, there’s no denying that woodworking is a messy and hands-on activity. So, it doesn’t take much to turn your workspace into a dirty, cluttered disaster.

And if you’re not careful, your tools, your health, and even your work itself might suffer.

Keeping an organized and clean workshop is not rocket science. You simply need to be a little vigilant and regular. And to help you out on that quest, here’s a bunch of tips that will keep you on top of the game.

#1. Organize Your Tools

The first step to keeping your workshop clean is to stay organized. This will not only help you find your tools faster, but it will also keep your mind calm.

Your workshop should be efficiently arranged so that you can do your best. And spending 30 minutes looking for the right tools before you even start your project does not help that goal.

Start off by keeping similar tools together. All the mechanic, woodworking, and decorating tools should have their separate places. Consider getting bins for your tools and labeling them properly. It also helps to organize your various screwdrivers, wrenches, and sockets according to size.

Make sure to clean up while you work. The more you leave it hanging, the bigger and more confusing the pile gets. You should also set aside 30 minutes each week to reorganize your workshop in case things get out of place.

#2. Maintain an Inventory

Over the years, you’ll be collecting so many tools, it’s going to be very hard to keep track. That’s why it’s a good idea to keep inventories. This is especially important when you have an ongoing project.

So, if you’re working on restoring a car or fixing a furniture piece, make sure you keep count of all the bolts and brackets and put them away safely. When you keep an actual note of all these parts, the assembling process will be a lot easier.

Also, knowing everything you have in your workshop is a great budget saver. Often, we’ll end up buying things we already have. Keeping a well-maintained inventory prevents all this, and helps you plan exactly what you need to buy.

#3. Get Proper Storage Space

To have a clean workshop, you need plenty of storage space. So, consider installing enough shelves, cabinets, and pegboards to keep everything in order.

The pegboard is ideal for tools you use regularly. By mounting them right above your workspace, they’ll be visible and easy to access. Cabinets are, of course, also a great addition. But for some people, cabinets can be quite annoying because all the tools are hidden away.

In that case, open shelving is a good option. In fact, with closed cabinets, we’re more likely to dump our tools in a rush. But open shelving forces us to see the mess and, therefore, clean up more frequently.

Storage doesn’t just stop at tools though. Wires, cords, and different types of hoses can turn into quite a tangled mess if we’re not careful. So, make sure to get some retractable wheels and cord spools to keep them under control.

#4. Invest in a High-Quality Vacuum Cleaner

To keep your workshop clean, you’re definitely going to need a vacuum cleaner. And no, this isn’t overdoing it. In fact, a high-quality HEPA vacuum cleaner is one of the best cleaning tools you can buy to turn your life around.

I mean, how else do you plan on getting rid of the unlimited dust particles from your woodwork? And all the piled up wood scraps from your projects?

These don’t merely make your workspace dirty. They’re also a major fire hazard, creating an unsafe workshop. What’s more, these fine particles are a health risk for your lungs and may cause severe breathing problems.

While sweeping and dusting regularly are advised, the best way to tackle this nuisance is by vacuuming. This will save you time and do a much more efficient job at cleaning up. It’s also a good idea to invest in an air purifier for your workshop while you’re at it.

#5. Clean Your Tools Regularly

As a woodworker, it’s also quite important to make sure your tools are in good shape.  So, make sure to clean them regularly. Otherwise, they’ll become rusted and grimy.

Cleaning hand tools is a pretty simple task. Just take some mineral spirits on a rag and wipe your tools. This is much needed because it’s not uncommon to find glue or other mysterious substances stuck on your tools.

Metals do well with a light spraying of WD-40 and a wipe afterward. As for wooden tools, going over them with a bit of linseed oil on a rag will do the trick.

Power tools are a little more complicated. Of course, you have to make sure the power is off and the batteries are out before proceeding. Get rid of all the dust, if there’s any, and then lubricate the machine with oil.

Final Thoughts

A clean and organized workshop is the key to efficiency. And trust me, I’m not just saying this because I have OCD.

Once you declutter and have everything in its right place, you’ll notice the difference yourself. Your mind will be able to concentrate better, and you’ll be able to find things really easily. What’s more, you’ll be creating a much safer workspace.

So, go on and start tidying – and be prepared to reap the benefits!

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