Storage and Organising the Workshop

One of the most important changes I made when I started to spend real time on my crafting was getting my tools and supplies properly organised. When my working space is clear and organised, my head feels clearer and I feel vastly more motivated.

I'm not the best at clearing as I go; I get immersed in a project and tend to tear along in focus mode until I'm done leaving a trail of disorder in my wake. For example, my desk currently looks like this:

So instead I set aside regular time to clear the whole place down, clean the surfaces and make sure everything's stored away neatly for the next burst.

<pause> Aaaah :)

What makes this easier, of course, is having a place for everything that's accessible and easy to drop stuff back into without having to search around.

I used to be a terminal hoarder, unable to get rid of anything in case it just might become useful. Which is why my room ended up looking like this:

After I got rid of almost everything I owned to go travelling I swore not to go back to that way of living, and when I moved into my spacious new flat I was determined to keep things minimal. But at the same time, the kind of varied crafting work I want to do, covering everything from electronics to woodwork to sewing, requires a fair number of materials knocking around, and unless I'm going to be constantly spending money on supplies I need to be able to scavenge and save potential components when they're available.

Most things go in cheap (£12 apiece) Wilkos plastic drawers. I acquired the first three sets at my last flat to make the most of a narrow space in the airing cupboard...

...and now they're giving me a huge amount of organised storage in my workshop.

The eventual dream of course, being this :)

I reshuffle them at intervals to make better use of the space and according to what I'm actually using, and I'm going to add another set shortly.

Inside the drawers I try to achieve what Adam Savage describes as "first order retrievability" - everything immediately visible and grabbable, nothing under anything else (it's not always possible), or at least grouped into a few items. I use plastic boxes and tupperware...

...and I love these Plano tackle boxes with movable dividers that allow you to configure the internal compartments however you want (although the one that's the perfect size for me is frustratingly hard to find in the UK).

Grinder, mini lathe and Dremel live on top of the shelves (I pulled the convex tops off the shelves and just rested a board across the uprights, which is nice and stable), with their accessories...

...and my vice and bench sander are under the workbench.

I finally realised I was constantly taking my cordless drill in and out of a drawer, so it lives here with its bits now, and this wonderful set of little sorting drawers my dad passed on to me.

Mmmmm....OCDelicious ^_^

I've shown my top drawer organiser in my post about desk mods.

My PC lives on this little computer desk. It's not very spacious but that's really ideal for me; as I explained in my intro post to this blog, these days I try to discourage myself from spending more time than I have to staring at a screen. And it's on casters, which means I can have it close to look at designs or wheel it up the room away from the bench when I'm doing something dusty like sanding.

I've messed around for a long time trying to figure out a way to store current and past projects, because every one needs a different amount of space but I really want them all organised in one accessible system. I've been using various random boxes stuffed into this space next to the shelves...

...but since realising the potential of A5 box files for the smaller projects I'm finally getting them in better order.

That's it for the actual contents of the workshop...

...the only thing that unfortunately will not fit in there is my table saw.

It is arguably slightly ridiculous that I own and run this thing in a flat. But the fact is that I cannot saw a straight line to save my life, and I actually use it quite frequently to cut clean-ended dowels for turning, planks for bits of storage, and in future I have several projects planned which will require boxes and structural elements for which it will come in very handy.

It lives in the corner of the dining area, but is at least reasonably well hidden.

See you soon!

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