August 9, 2010

When the heat and humidity are too high for anything but “have to” jobs around the farm, it’s a great time to straighten up the shop.

I know there are folks whose shops look like they belong in a 4-color ad. However, most farm shops that I’ve seen tend to lean more toward disaster than discipline. One reason is the nature of most shop work.

Other than planned maintenance, we tend to hit the shop when we are having a problem with equipment in the middle of a job. As soon as the equipment is up and running, it’s back to the job. Often tools and supplies end up in a “round to-it pile” as in “I’ll take care of them when I get around to it.”

It’s a miserable job, and a miserable day is a good time to tackle it. A good way to start is to set up three piles, “keep,” “give away” and “throw out.” Have boxes for the give aways and recycling and trash bins for the throw out items.

It’s the “keep” that takes the most thought.

Consider how you currently store tools and supplies. Are they easy to access? Can you find what you are looking for quickly? Are tools held securely and safely so neither they nor anyone reaching for them will be hurt?

Supplies are my bane. I have tried numerous storage systems over the years, including bottles and coffee cans for screws, nuts and bolts. I’ve bought units to hang-on-the wall, stack-on-the-shelf and more.

While I’m still not satisfied, I know I keep getting closer to my ideal. Next week I’ll describe my current system and how I hope to improve it.

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