March 23, 2011

Keeping a binder of tips can help during a project
Photo by Jim Ruen
When I find tips in magazines for projects, I file them in a binder by type of tip.

Do you have stacks of magazines filled with great tips for the shop, yard or house? I know I do. The problem is that when I’m ready to start cutting up lumber for a project or prepping walls for painting, I’m not going to go through a stack of magazines for tips to make the job go easier.

So what’s the point of keeping the magazines? I enjoy going through some of them, but realistically, I have enough trouble getting through the stuff that comes in each day’s mail. Yet, I hate the idea of throwing the magazines and tips out the door.

This winter my wife and I decided it was time to do something about the dilemma. We are taking turns going through old magazines and identifying stories or tips we see that we each want to save. Each of us applies a Post-It note (they come in really small strips) to the page to be saved. Later, she cuts them up and separates them by who was interested. Hers go in a file folder. Mine go into plastic sleeves in one of several three-ring binders. I’ve got one for Shop Tips, Garden Tips and Farm Tips. Each binder is also divided into sections like Table Saw Tips, Hand Tool Tips and Sharpening Tips.

I use a similar set of binders for tool manuals. The binders can go with me as needed, and in the case of the shop binder, it is stored in the shop for easy access. The plastic sleeves protect the manuals and, now, my tips and make them easy to retrieve.

Maybe I’ll finally be able to turn some of those tips into treasure.

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