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Is bigger better?

I have more than three times the amount of room in my new shop as my old one. Generally, that’s wonderful, but not for everything.

It’s the dream of every woodworker to have more room. Working in cramped quarters requires compromises, and because you constantly have to move stuff around it sometimes takes longer to get things done. Having more room makes working easier, but there’s something I never expected.

My shop is much messier and takes longer to clean than I ever thought it would. Sure, part of the longer cleaning time is simply because there’s more real estate to clean, but I find that with the luxury of having more room I take less care not to be a slob. Seriously.

I now have almost four times the countertop space than I had before, two large worktables instead of one, and three distinct work areas instead of a single space. Unfortunately, I use available workspace the same way I use a bed: I take up all the available space. Just ask Sally.

As a result, major projects are sometimes spread out so far that I can’t keep track of where I am. Also, since I tend to set tools down wherever I last used them, finding the tool I last used turns into an Easter egg hunt. And then there’s the general mess.

When working, I let things fall where they may and clean up when a project or task is done. In a smaller shop the tendency is to clean up more frequently, or you literally can’t walk without tripping. But with so much room to move in my new shop, I let things go far too long.

It’s a terrible habit I’ve developed in a very short time. Fortunately, because it’s a relatively new habit – and because I’m very much aware of it – I’m hoping it’s a habit I can quickly break.

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