Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Neat Freak or Slob

     Let's talk about our shops for a few minutes.  Would you consider yourself a Neat Freak or a Slob?  Or take it another step; a Pack Rat or Hoarder?  For me, it's been kind of a roller coaster ride most of my life, but I've been paying more attention to my habits lately and I can only laugh at myself.   I've been guilty of all the above at one point or another in my life.

      Take a moment and think about your shop. How would you describe it, home to a neat freak or a slob?  Do you consider yourself a pack rat?  Are you happy when you go out to your shop and wouldn't change a thing about it or are you frustrated every time you try to do something in your shop because either you don't have the room or you can't find what you're looking for so you end up giving up and would rather not spend time out there.

     I have come to the conclusion that the size of our shops really shouldn't be the excuse we use to say we just don't have enough room to organize everything.   Not always will a bigger shop solve our problem.  I've actually seen where a "bigger" shop only makes the problem "bigger".   Here's an example:  When I first went into business as a woodworker, I sub-leased a 3,000 sq.ft. shop with another guy that ended up moving out just a few months later, leaving me with the entire building and all the rent.   I did not need that much square footage for a one man shop, but I ended up staying there for over 16 years before I moved my business to another state. 

     When it came time to move and decide what to keep and what I was actually going to move to the new location, I realize just how much of a Pack Rat I had been over the years. I found things that I hadn't seen in years (actually forgotten about).  I found things that made me wonder what I was thinking at the time to posses me to keep it in the first place.    Some things where really easy to decide to get rid of, but some things where another story.  I was so afraid that if I left it behind or threw it away, I was surely going to need it next month and be sorry I got rid of it.  Sound familiar?

     That was probably the best move I ever made to help me with my "Pack Rat" syndrome.  Knowing there was no way I could take all that "stuff" with me, I had to force myself to make some harsh decisions.  I finally had to develop a formula to help me decide what to do with each individual item.  It can be pretty over whelming when you have 3,000 sq. ft of stuff you've been collecting over the past 16 years.  I started with the very first item and first asked myself if I had used it in the past two years?  Did my life depend on me keeping it or could I possibly live without it?  Could I sell it and make some money to help pay for the move? Could I give it to a friend or donate it to a good cause?...........or should it just go to the trash like it should have years earlier?   It was ridiculous how much value I had put on so much worthless junk.  After going thru most of it, I finally contacted a fellow I knew that was known to be a pack rat and hired him to clean out the rest of the shop and haul to the land fill.  I told him if he found anything of value, he could keep for himself. I had a good laugh when I returned a couple months later to see some things I recognized from my old shop sitting on his front porch and in his front yard.

     Over the past few years, I've been slowly downsizing my shop and thinking seriously about what I would be keeping and what I would probably have to get rid of when it came time to retire my company and turn my love of woodworking into a hobby and not a full time business in a commercial building.

     When we moved to Delaware this past March, the property we acquired was far from move in ready!  I have a two story 24 x 28 shop that was filled to the brim and took many loads to the land fill to empty it out enough to start putting my stuff in there.  I realized this past week-end I was adding more to what was still there.  I was hanging things on nails that where driven in the wall years ago and I was doing nothing more then filling up the spaces that I just spent the past 10 months hauling off.

     So that's what inspired me to write today.  This week-end I started my total transformation of the shop I will be calling "My Shop".  I've started in one corner and removed everything; whether it was mine or left over from before, every nail, bracket and storage cabinet back to the bare walls.  I know I won't be happy until I have everything organized and put away. This should keep me busy for a while, but already one little corner has made me feel a lot better about my shop and myself.

     So after spending the past few years downsizing, cleaning out and throwing away I've come to realize I have not  suffered any unusual consequences in my actions.  No mental anguish, no financial loss and no project suffered because I threw something away 6 months earlier!   I'm beginning to like this new me.................the neat freak! 




No comments:

Post a Comment