The shame of a tidy workshop

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Sporky McGuffin

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I've noticed a fair few comments (including from the grumpy sod who is my step-father-in-law) that anyone with a clean and tidy workshop can't be making anything.

I find this an odd attitude; I'm just a hobbyist, not doing it for a living, so I don't have a lot of time to spend making stuff. I still (or perhaps because of that) sweep up after every messy operation, and I do my best to put tools back where they belong - on pegboards for the stuff I use most, in cabinet drawers for stuff I use less often, in their boxes for the bigger power tools. Consequently when I'm not actually doing something my workshop looks pretty tidy and organised - to me this is the easy way to do things, because if I've not been in there for a week or more I can actually find the stuff I need to get on with making the things I want to.

Today a load of organiser cases arrived because I was getting annoyed with all the little packets and boxes of screws and bolts and so on strewn across the racking units - they'll actually take up less space this way as well as being easier to find.

Am I the weird one? Surely a messy and disorganised workshop is less safe and productive than a clean and tidy workshop?
 

Cabinetman

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I've noticed a fair few comments (including from the grumpy sod who is my step-father-in-law) that anyone with a clean and tidy workshop can't be making anything.

I find this an odd attitude; I'm just a hobbyist, not doing it for a living, so I don't have a lot of time to spend making stuff. I still (or perhaps because of that) sweep up after every messy operation, and I do my best to put tools back where they belong - on pegboards for the stuff I use most, in cabinet drawers for stuff I use less often, in their boxes for the bigger power tools. Consequently when I'm not actually doing something my workshop looks pretty tidy and organised - to me this is the easy way to do things, because if I've not been in there for a week or more I can actually find the stuff I need to get on with making the things I want to.

Today a load of organiser cases arrived because I was getting annoyed with all the little packets and boxes of screws and bolts and so on strewn across the racking units - they'll actually take up less space this way as well as being easier to find.

Am I the weird one? Surely a messy and disorganised workshop is less safe and productive than a clean and tidy workshop?
Well, has the G O sod got a workshop of his own? It’s probably jealousy and he might be extremely well balanced in that he’s got chips on both shoulders. Your workshop your rules, sounds just fine to me. Ian
 

Adam W.

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No you're not the only one, my studio at the C&G is spotless, as it should be. There's mess, but it's on or under the bench, but I have had comments that it looks as though I'm not doing anything.
 

PerryGunn

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You're not the only one - I've got a relatively small workshop and you have to be tidy in a small space.

I try to keep the workbench as clear as possible and all of my hand tools are put back in their cases when no longer needed for the job in hand (or when I stop for the day) and the cases are kept on shelves under the workbench. This may mean that jobs take a bit longer but my time is my own...
 

artie

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I am a very untidy person by nature, but it seems less so as I grow older.

I make my living in "the shap" so I have to keep a certain order.

Others have told me it's very tidy.
I think it's a mess
 

clogs

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in my last workshop there was prof metal and wood machines....all big stuff....every once in a while...certainly once a year everything was taken outside and the place thoroughly cleaned....
I made it so all machine could be moved with a pallet truck...
always cheared me up doing it.....never feltit was awaste of time....
 

D_W

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I am on the opposite side of this - my shop is messy. It will always be messy. I am a messy person and there's definitely a brain type issue here - my brain doesn't notice (at least not much) messy until it gets in the way of working.

But if someone wants to have a perfectly tidy workshop and they work in rhythm in it (actually, what they do in it, I don't really care, but there are people who work organized in rhythm because it's natural for them), then I can't see why it should bother me with a messy workshop.

What's more common for me is to run into people who do have a neat workshop and who don't do much in it and who faff about trying to avoid making anything marked, dirty, etc, constantly fetching sheets of things to put over work surfaces. These folks are either extremely careful about everything to a fault or they just put the making behind the shop preservation. They're conservationists of their own space, and not surprisingly - appalled by mine.

I'll bet I have 100 planes, and I don't have a wall of them, either (before anyone freaks out, think keeping a few planes to copy - infills - couple of each of bench planes in wood and metal and then a whole lot of moulding planes).

If you love your shop neat, that's for you. If you fling that onto other people who aren't interested (which I don't gather you do), I find it prissy. That's the word I use with people who bring it up here. Especially if they start going on about "nobody can work in a shop that's not organized, so you are wasting time in yours".
(there's usually something in the back of their mind about working in a shop with other people - which I suddenly find to be a necessity so that you can find tools that other people have put away).
 

D_W

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(if I did have a wall of planes, they would be black with a film of metal dust - another thing you supposedly can't do in a workshop, but that's not terribly consequential as far as I can tell other than benefiting from blowing the dust out of the shop from time to time and not walking in bare feet).
 

eribaMotters

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I always leave my workshop tidy. I finish one task, or if machining timber etc get to a natural breakpoint and then set up for what ever is next. I even go as far as doing a job sheet so I know what is next when I walk through the door. I got into these habits partly because I'm a bit OCD but also because when time is limited you want to make maximum use of it.

Colin
 

Sideways

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It's a constant battle. I have a v small space so I've made lots of organisation just to fit in it, but it's time consuming to get tools out of boxes and put away. I tend to create clutter during a job and try to put away at the end.
The problem is I want to work on three jobs at once while I wait for materials etc and have nowhere to pack away the work in progress ! Chaos that's only tolerable as a retired amateur. I'd never allow it if it was a business.
One of my mates is far more dilligent than me and if you put a spanner down, by the time I reach for it again, he'll have tidied it away :))) His way is better in his shed.
 

Sporky McGuffin

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One of my mates is far more dilligent than me and if you put a spanner down, by the time I reach for it again, he'll have tidied it away :))) His way is better in his shed.

I have on occasion wondered if all my tools should be on elastic so if I put them down in the wrong place they snap back to the right place... I get mildly distressed by spaces on the pegboard.
 

Cabinetman

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One of my mates is far more dilligent than me and if you put a spanner down, by the time I reach for it again, he'll have tidied it away
That would drive me completely nuts! I’m definitely of the sort that tidy up at the end of the job, fortunate to have long benches (way more than I need) which do sort of build up tut and tat at the ends
 

D_W

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Probably a plain lesson from this is that you get to do what you like in your shop, and if commentary from someone else doesn't improve you doing what you like, you get to disregard it.
 

dzj

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I do this for a living, but I also like to keep my shop tidy. Some silly people make the connection between cleanliness and
lack of work here also, but I don't care.
Sometimes though, the workload overwhelms me and I can't achieve the level of neatness I'd like.
The end of 2021 was such a time and for the past few days I've been sorting out the King Augeas' stables
my shop's turned into. :)
 

D_W

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One of my mates is far more dilligent than me and if you put a spanner down, by the time I reach for it again, he'll have tidied it away :))) His way is better in his shed.

this is my wife in any household project "you stop and stand there, I have to clean things up" - this could be literally mid cut or mid-fitting something and she will boast afterwards about all of the help that she provided. When I put my kitchen in, I suggested she visit her parents and had my dad out for four days. I had forgotten what it was like to work with something where you spend all of your time on "go" and clean up only when you have to take a break from the work.
 

Jacob

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I've noticed a fair few comments (including from the grumpy sod who is my step-father-in-law) that anyone with a clean and tidy workshop can't be making anything.
......
No, but "unused" can be a sign!
I have the opposite problem, I can't make anything because of the mess. :unsure:
 

doctor Bob

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I find it impossible to have a clean workshop, 7 of us in there, usually flat out. However at xmas we have a massive tidy up and return in the New Year to a squeaky clean workshop (tomorrow) and love it.
 
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