What would you do with a garage packed with stuff and a workshop?
Would it be helpful to know what I did / am doing?


I have been making stuff for as long as I can remember.  Be it woodworking, electronics or anything in between. But recently anytime I needed to do a project finding room to work on the project was so overwhelming, due to the pile up of stuff, I often put it off or did not do the project. Which I find really annoying. So a couple of weekends ago  I decided to clean and reorganize the garage / workshop. Part of the problem with the build up of disorganization was the fact that we were doing about 30 trade shows a year, all of which are on the weekend. When you finally get a day off your so burnt that you need time just to recharge.  We have now but back a lot of the shows and are doing about 15 or so and cutting out all of the bad ones.  Which the way the shows have been going is not hard to see which ones are no good.


To accomplish this daunting task I decided to do a little at a time so it would not be so overwhelming. So I started with the main bench and decided to work there and go through the stuff on the bench and organize or get rid of.  In that one section I ended up throwing away two pails worth of stuff. So I stated going around the room in a circle.  The first weekend I spent about 5 hours cleaning the bench.  I also wanted to work on mounting a prop I made when I was about 8.  More on that at another time.


The second weekend I spent part of Saturday working on the next part of the circle. Part of what I did was organize and store away items into appropriate areas.  I have an upstairs to the garage and moved some stuff up to “long term storage” for things not used often but are more of inventory for things as projects come up or items that were left over from other projects. I decided to tackle the rest at a later date.  So naturally on Sunday I said well I’ll just do a little, 6 hours later, three pails of garbage plus some items to recyclable. It turned out be be very satisfying as well as being able to get in and out without having to climb over things. I put things in a recycle bin and go down and sell the parts a couple of times a year.  I first started this when my son needed to fund his Eagle project.  Most of the project funds were from this recycled junk around the house. I recommend that you do the same.  It was amazing how many old computers I had. Striped each one is worth a few dollars. So now all metal, electronics and other items get striped sorted and recycled.


I have about another third of the garage to go and then I’m done with the first pass. The second pass is to organize and “redecorate”. But I did get the mounting project done and is now hanging on the wall in my office. Hopefully more redecorating next week. I also did a quick repair of a Radio Flyer Wagon that went up on Craigslist.  I found a few other items that are going up there and eBay shortly.


My family linage is that of designers from Italy. My grandfather was an artist from Italy who came to the states under mysterious circumstances. He was from Padova, Italy, where some of the family stills lives today.  One of them has a house which borders the original Mote of the city from the middle ages.  My grandfather had designed the post office and some other things in Padova which can still be seen today.  After coming to the states, my grandfather opened up a high end furniture company in NYC employing somewhere between 30 and 50 people. My uncle continued the business but it become a custom interior design shop taking commissions on some spectacular pieces of furniture. My cousin has continued the business and does amazing work.


I had shop in my basement when I was a kid and got a lot of experience designing and construing furniture, building garages and other structures. I have a picture somewhere of me, my sister and my father on top of the roof of our garage putting on the roofing tiles. I think I was 6.  Today child protective services would probably arrest you for allowing your kids to be on the roof. We didn’t think anything of it and it was fun.


I still have some of my grandfathers tools in my shop today. It is amazing that they are still in great shape. A good tool will last many lifetimes. In my shop I have a modified Powermatic Contractors Table Saw, Drill press a couple of routers, and a bunch of other hand power tools. The task I have in front of me is to organize the space so it is functional, so I can actually build stuff, and organized so everything has a place and can be located easily. It’s no fun spending a hour looking for a tool, especially when you have limited time to work on projects.


One of the items I got from my farther was  a work bench, which I believe my grandfather must have made, but I have no way to verify it. The table shows its age and looks like it was stained, which is not surprising if grandpa made it. I want to give it a nice sanding to bring back the natural wood color and give it a usable finish. Probably a boiled linseed oil finish.  I seem to remember my high school shop class conditioning the workbenches with linseed oil at the end of the year. Some searching around the Internet and confirmed that this would be a good finish to use.


More to come.
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