This is 10 Clean Tips for Woodshop Organization. In this post you’ll learn several clever ways of keeping your shop organized that will help you be more productive, and feel better about going out into your shop.
Probably the single most impactful thing that you can do for your woodshop is to get everything clean and organized. Not only will this mean a safer working experience, it will also mean a more productive woodworking shop.
Organization is so linked to productivity that they might as well be the same word and used interchangeably. If you have a shop that’s organized really well, you’ll have a shop that’s a lot more productive.
If you feel like you are a hobby woodworker and productivity really isn’t a big issue because this isn’t a full-time job, you actually need it more than anyone else.
Being a hobbyist, you already have a limited amount of time to enjoy your craft. When you add to that the extra time that being disorganized adds to all of your projects, that means you have even less time to enjoy your hobby.
Instead of letting your workshop own you, take charge and get it organized. I’ll show you several great ways to do it, as well as a few more helpful reasons coming up in the post.
See Also: 9 Tidy Workbench Organization Ideas
A Clean Shop is a Safe Shop
If you think about it this way, it should be the only reason you need to get clean and organized. Since this is likely a hobby, you definitely owe it to yourself and to your family not to be significantly hurt or injured while pursuing that hobby.
When you keep your shop clean, and you have all of your tools organized really well, the shop overall becomes a lot safer. You know where things are, you become less frustrated, you take less risks, and you have better results.
Organized Shops Work Better
When it comes to the amount of time that it takes to get something done, organized shops just run better than unorganized shops. This has to do mainly with the amount of time you spend in between productive tasks.
When you don’t know where anything is, or you have to search around to find things, it adds time in between steps. This time adds up, because a few seconds here and there times 50 different operations really becomes a huge waste.
When you know where everything is, and you have the right items near your major tools that are used frequently with them, this cuts down on the amount of time wasted in between tasks, and makes you a far more productive woodworker.
Have a Place for All of Your Tools
Going along with productivity, it’s a good idea to establish right away a place for all of your tools. This effectively becomes the home for that particular tool, and it’s where you will return that tool every single time you use it.
It doesn’t really matter where the home location is, as long as you can remember where it is and start learning those locations. This way, when you find yourself in need of the pocket hole jig, because you’ll know exactly where to go to get it.
This significantly reduces the amount of time that you have to spend looking for that jig, and it also relieves the stress of knowing that every moment you are spending looking for it, you are losing time you have to work on your main project.
Use Peg Board so You Can See Them
A quick trick for making your tools easier to find is to simply start using pegboard. This is a large sheet of quarter inch material with holes all over the surface. You hang your tools using different styles of pegs and hooks, and they all become visible on the wall.
Not only is this a great way to put all of your tools out where you can see them, it’s also a really good way to free up some floor space in your shop. Instead of needing a cabinet or a space on the ground to house all your tools, now you can just use the wall.
Installing pegboard is super easy, and it’s one of my favorite workshop organization methods for new woodworkers. It’s a fun beginner project too, and it’s also a lot of fun to arrange all of your tools on the pegboard when you’re finished.
Put Things Back Immediately After Use
Another productivity/organizational tip is to put things back immediately after you use them. There is a huge temptation to just make a big mess as you’re working. This is a recipe for disaster, for lost tools, and for an increased stress level.
It only takes a second to return a tool back to its home after you use it. The next time you need it, you won’t have to think about where you left it. You’ll only have to think about where it lives, and you’ll be able to go right to it.
This is much easier than having to think about the new location for the tool. Return it to where it belongs right after you use it, and the very next time you need it, you’ll know exactly where to go.
Clean Up After Every Woodworking Session
Cleanliness and organization go hand-in-hand. No matter what you’re doing, leave yourself a few minutes at the end of your woodworking session in order to clean your shop. This is the woodworking equivalent of making your bed.
There’s just something nice about getting into a freshly made bed. It helps you sleep better, it feels better, and it’s just a nicer experience. The same thing happens when you clean your shop.
Walking out into a nice clean shop to start working feels so much nicer than walking into a mess. It’s also easier to get yourself to go out into the shop when you know that you’re not going to have to wade through 6 inches of sawdust to get there.
Another thing that this helps with is getting you to make the right decision and go out into your shop more often. It’s already hard enough to find time to pursue your hobbies, and when you make it more difficult by having the shop be a mess, you make it easier to skip woodworking.
Instead of doing that, just clean the shop, and the next time you’re on the fence about going out there, you won’t have to worry about the mess preventing you from being successful.
See Also: 13 Myths About Getting Into Woodworking
Pack Away Duplicate Tools
This is something that will help woodworkers who have been at the craft for a longer time, but it’s helpful for new woodworkers too. Something you can do that’s really helpful with your organization is to simply put away the duplicates.
For me, this is screwdrivers. I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to tools and wood, so it’s difficult for me to throw things away. Even those free screwdrivers that come with different things you buy for around the home…yeah I save all of those too.
Even if you can’t get yourself to throw things out, put away all of the duplicates in order to make it easier to find the tools you need. After all, there’s no reason to have 20 Phillips screwdrivers that are all the same size. You only need one, put away the rest.
Organize Your Wood Storage Area
In most shops, the wood storage area is the first area that gets out of control. It’s one of those areas that tends to get filled faster than it gets emptied, and that can lead to lots of disorganization.
The other problem with wood and materials is that it’s really easy to set them on top of other things inside of your workshop. This means you’ll have to move them in order to use those areas, or tools.
After a while, if you don’t control this mess, you’ll end up having to constantly move things from one place to another in order to use your different tools. This is the equivalent of having to plug in each tool every single time you use it. It’s maddening.
Invest some time in a proper wood storage area, and make the commitment not to keep bringing wood into the shop faster than you produce something with it and get rid of it. This way, you can keep your wood area stocked, but also keep it under control.
See Also: How to Make a Smaller Wood Storage Area
Keep Your Bench Mostly Clear
When it comes to your woodworking bench, the best organizational tip that I can give you is to keep your bench mostly clear at all times. When you’re working on a project obviously, you’ll have something on the bench, but the top of your bench should not be used for storage.
Every single time you put something on top of your bench for storage, you effectively reduce the size of your bench. So, if you had 12 square feet to work with, and you fill it halfway up, you just lost half of your working space.
Odds are that you already have a smaller space to create your work. If you put a bunch of long-term items on there that are not going to go away, you make your area even smaller, and that’s not good for your working environment.
See Also: 15 Helpful Woodworking Bench Design Tips
Go Through Your Junk and Pay it Forward
There is a saying in organization that eventually you have so much stuff that instead of owning your stuff, your stuff owns you. This is true in woodworking as well, but there’s something really cool that you can do about it.
Going back to being a tool hoarder, one of the best things you can do with all of your duplicates just give them away to another woodworker. Odds are there is someone you know that would like to get into woodworking, or has just gotten into woodworking.
Think back to the beginning, and remember how difficult it was to come up with all of the tools you needed in order to make your projects. Wouldn’t it have been nice if someone you knew gave you a bunch of their duplicate tools?
I promise it will give you a really good feeling, and you’ll be doing a great service to the future woodworkers of the world by helping them get off to a better start. It will also reduce a lot of your personal clutter, and make you feel a little bit more freedom in your shop.
You only lose what you cling to. Get comfortable with giving away the things that you really don’t need, and it will be easier to part with things that really own you in the end if you let them.
See Also: Woodworking Glossary
Your Action Assignment
Now that you know all of these awesome organization ideas, it’s time to get out into your shop and take action. If it looks like a pig pen when you get there, then it’s absolutely time to take action.
Start by simply cleaning. It’s amazing the feeling that you get working in a clean workshop, and all that takes is a little bit of time and effort on your part. Just get some cleaning done right away, and start putting your tools in the same place every time.
Add a little pegboard if you have the opportunity, and I promise that it can make a significant difference in how your shop operates. You’ll be more organized in general, and you’ll be able to find your tools faster, which will make you more productive.
If you have any questions on organizing your woodshop to be the most productive possible, please post a question and I’ll be happy to answer them. Happy building.
- More than 20 Years Woodworking Experience
- 7 Woodworking Books Available on Amazon
- Over 1 Million Words Published About Woodworking
- Bachelor of Arts Degree from Arizona State University
I receive Commissions for Purchases Made Through the Links in This Post. Join My Woodworking Facebook Group