Despite all the furniture I’ve built in my workshop, I never got around to truly organizing it. I built a workbench and hung some tools on the existing pegboard, but I’ve had a huge pile of hardware laying around for years. I could pick up bags and boxes of miscellaneous hardware and tell immediately that it was what I took with me after moving from one apartment in DC to another, or from DC to Greenville.
Now that the wife has a pottery kiln, she’s called dibs on a big chunk of the garage. I’ve promised to build her some storage units for her pottery tools and her own workbench. It’s all just as well; I’ve been meaning to organize the hardware pile and clear some space for years. Ever since I moved to my current house, I’ve been saving jars to use for storage and organization. A year into it, I realized that I had made a mistake. In order for the storage unit to work properly, I have to use only one jar/brand so that the lids are interchangeable. It’s taken me years to eat/collect enough marinara jars, but I finally got around to organizing my excess screws, nuts, bolts, hooks, hinges, etc. Hopefully this will eliminate most of those inconvenient trips to the hardware store for just three or four screws.
The only bottled marinara sauce I buy is Classico’s Four Cheese sauce. That’s what all of these jars were at one point. I’m not an anti-processed-food snob or anything, it’s just that I usually use the sauce as an extender when making my own homemade sauce, and that particular brand/flavor has the right balance for my particular taste. To get the labels off the jars, just fill the sink with really hot water, add a half-cup each of dishwasher and laundry detergent, and soak for a few hours. The labels will slide off on their own and you can remove any stubborn glue with a scrubbing sponge.
I was able to salvage a couple of old kitchen cabinets to flank the jar organizer. When I collect sixteen more jars, I’ll hang two more jar organizers on hinges in front of this one that open like the doors of a refrigerator to reveal what you see here. That should provide all the storage I need for life. Most importantly, this is something I can take with me when I move.
I also got around to fixing my workbench. I had to re-mount the wheels, brace it for better stability, and add a power strip. When the weather’s nice, I like to roll it into the driveway and work under the sun. The power strip makes it convenient to just run one cord to the bench no matter how many tools I’m using. Like I told the wife this weekend, this thing pretty much guarantees I’ll be parking in the driveway instead of the garage no matter where we live. It’s not small.
UPDATE 3/2014: I’ve moved and have a new workshop. I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same. You should have seen the look on the movers’ faces when I told them that I wanted to take those dirt and sawdust covered shelves to the new house.