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How to Plan and Organize Your Workshop

If you’re going to be working on a lot of projects around the house, it pays to have a workshop of your own. But if you want to get the most value out of that space, you’ll need to plan, design, and organize that workshop effectively.

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Here’s how to do it.

Choose the Right Space

First, if you’re planning a workshop from scratch, you’ll want to choose the right space. Ideally, you’ll have a lot of area to work with, with climate controls, accessibility to electricity and water, and flooring that allows for an easy cleanup.

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These are some of the top options:

·         Garage. If you don’t mind parking outside, you can dedicate at least part of your garage to your workshop needs.

·         Basement. Alternatively, you could set up shop in the basement, assuming you have enough space to work with.

·         Additional structure. If you don’t have any room in your house as it currently stands, you could invest in a separate external structure to house your workshop. A free-standing second garage, pole barn, or shed could give you all the space you need to tackle your most important projects.

Plan Around Your Central Workspace

Your entire design should revolve around your central working area. For many people, this will take the form of a workbench. Establish this main focal point and ensure it gives you plenty of space. From there, you can develop storage and placement options that still allow you plenty of room.

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Invest in Shelves and Storage Options

One of the best ways to keep your workshop organized is to invest in shelves and other storage options. Tall shelving units can give you a place to keep your most important tools, materials, and other items. Storage bins can keep your resources protected from the elements and tucked out of sight. Toolboxes, drawers, bins, and other resources can help you keep things even more organized. Just make sure you have a consistent system in place – with a “place for everything.”

Make Use of Verticality

You’re fairly restricted in terms of horizontal space available to you. But you can fit more things in your workshop if you make efficient use of vertical space. There are many ways to accomplish this; for example, you can hang multiple pegboards on the wall for convenient access to your tools or mount certain things on the ceiling to keep them out of the way. This not only conserves space, but also increases visibility – so it’s easier to find the exact item you need.

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Keep Small Items Sorted

A key problem faced by many workshop owners is finding a way to manage small items, like screws, cords, or adhesives. Devoting a single drawer or shelf to these items isn’t enough to keep them organized, so make use of smaller organizational tools and systems, such as segmented trays.

Get Rid of What You Don’t Use

Most of us gradually accumulate things we don’t actually use on a regular basis, including tools and materials from past, one-time projects. Periodically, it’s a good idea to review your possessions, evaluate the last time you used them, and get rid of whatever you haven’t used in more than a year. Sell these items to recoup costs or donate them to someone who can use them.

Leave Room for Expansion

If you’re working with a limited amount of space, you may not have much of an option, but if you have ample room, try to leave extra space for expansion. Don’t pack your workshop full of tools, storage options, and other items; instead, leave several square feet of space and empty storage options for when you inevitably add more resources to your workspace. It’s only a matter of time before you want to invest in a new tool, upgrade something you currently have, or store additional materials. You’ll be grateful the extra space is there when the time comes.

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Clean as You Go

Finally, adopt a “clean as you go” policy. Most of us have the temptation to walk away when the project is done – even if that means leaving behind piles of sawdust and random tools strewn about the workshop. It’s much better if you imagine the project as incomplete until you’ve completely cleaned up. It’s much easier to clean and organize after a single project than it is to clean after several projects in a row – and you’ll be much prouder and happier in your space every time you start something new.

Creating and managing a workshop is a lot of work, but if you’re passionate about DIY projects and creativity, it’s well worth the investment. The more effort you put into planning and organizing your workshop, the more projects you’ll end up accomplishing – and the happier you’ll be during the process.

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