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Use it, or lose it - Woodshop News

Use it, or lose it

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We woodworkers guard our turf vigilantly: Shop space is our space. But let your guard down for even a minute …

Wherever I’ve lived, shop space has shared some portion of home space. In my walk-out basement shop in Connecticut the path to our back patio went right through it. Also in the shop, for some reason, was the cats’ litter box. And our largest storage space in the house was under the steps, also accessed from the shop.

Now, that was all merely traffic paths, but those paths tended to “collect” things. Items going to or from the patio developed a holding pattern in the shop. Things intended for storage under the steps would be set there “temporarily” by someone (not me) and stay there until someone else (me) put them away. The usual languishing spot for these things was my workbench.

My shop here is better. It’s in my reworked two-car garage, so there’s no litter box. We have tons of attic storage, so no household items are stored there. And since cars are never parked there, there are no pathways. Except one. Access to the attic is via pull-down steps in the shop.

Whenever something needs to go into the attic it gets set in there by someone (not me) until someone else (me) pulls down those steps and puts it away. But since those steps are difficult to reach by some people (not me) and even more difficult to pull down, I don’t mind accepting that small chore since my shop is otherwise Terra Incognita to other house denizens. And since I spend more time out in that shop than I ever did in the one back in Connecticut, things just don’t pile up like they used to. Usually.

However, when office work is more demanding than shop work – as it happens to be right now – and I don’t work out there for a while, those stacks can grow. Now, add to that the coming holidays and the fact that all our decorations are in that attic. I went out there this morning to find those attic steps had been pulled down by someone (not me) and left that way. Boxes are everywhere, both going up and coming down. The whole area in front of my air compressor where those steps unfold is a staging area rivaling that of the Normandy invasion.

Man, I turn my back for a week and look what happens. But it’s temporary, and it’s for the holidays, so I guess I should be jolly about it all, right?

Ho, ho, ho.

A.J.

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