A journey into the workshop. #93: After a pile of automotive repairs, shop cleanup.

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Blog entry by dbhost posted 03-30-2016 04:35 PM 2019 reads 0 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 92: Slow weekend. Fixed an old electric bass guitar. Part 93 of A journey into the workshop. series Part 94: More shop cleanup, more found tools! »

I have had a pile of car repairs over the last 6 months or so, pretty much every free moment not spent at work, practicing, gigging, or with my wife, has been spent under a hood.

The results are coming to fruition, but my shop was getting to a state where I couldn’t find most of my tools, drawers were so disorganized that I couldn’t open / close them, and well I knew there was a floor in there somewhere, just not sure where.

I spent 3 hours last night, mostly rounding up tools from 2 car trunks, strewn all over, and under my major shop tools, under the seat in the truck, etc… and I still can’t find the floor.

What did I accomplish?

After months of being MIA, I found my 1/4” Craftsman socket set, or at least most of it (the 3/32” shallow socket is missing) hiding under a pile of shavings under the lathe.

Found and put back my shallow, and deep well Husky 1/4” drive sockets. I am missing my 1/4” drive 6pt Husky 10mm deep socket. It flipped off of my ratchet, and QUICKLY ran down the driveway and into a storm drain. I need to buy a new one…

My Metric, and SAE, 3/8” drive shallow, 3/8” drive deep, 1/2” drive shallow, 1/2” drive deep, and 1/2” drive shallow impact sockets are all organized, on their respective socket rails, or in the factory socket holders if they came with one.

My specialty sockets (Torx, Allen, Tamper Resistant Torx, etc…. adapters, universal joints etc… are on their appropriate socket rails.

My breaker bars (the original 1/2” drive Snap On, and my new to me 3 weeks ago Pittsburgh 3/8” drive are in the drawer they belong in.

My socket extensions, speed wrench, ratchets etc… are back where they belong.

I put away my HF Digital Multimeter.

I FOUND the Blue Point Digital Multimeter that took to missing months ago under a pile of shavings behind the work bench..

I put back together, and put away my drilling accessories such as drill bits, driver bits, forstner bits, and hole saws. All the pieces are where they belong.

Finishes, solvents, primers, and fillers were sorted, the bad stuff was put into a box for hazardous waste recycling, the good stuff put back into rotation.

My floor jack, and jack stands were organized out of the way next to the lathe.

My lathe tools were cleaned up, sharpened, and put away in their cases, or in most cases, the cardboard box they came in. I need to work on storage for them still…

I did take the compressed air hose, and blow gun out, using a respirator of course, and the ambient filter running, and blew down the lathe, and bench top tools.. Now it’s been over year since i have used the scroll saw which is on top of the stack, how on earth did I get shavings on top of that?!

I finally put back in its proper place the ball joint tool, AC manifold gauge set, cooling system tester, etc…

There is far more that was done, cleaned, reorganized, BUT it ts too much to go into. Long story short though, I probably am about 1/4 of the way through shop cleanup, which is a disgusting statement, but at the very least, I have found at least $500.00 worth of tools that I thought were gone for good.

Moral of the story?

Don’t be like me, keep your shop clean instead of getting to the point of no return and, well… having to clean it because where the floor / table saw etc… are is a mystery.

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10 comments so far

View bruc101's profile


1383 posts in 4317 days

#1 posted 03-31-2016 06:03 AM

Sounds like you’re holding up pretty good. Keep the faith and you’ll eventually find the floor, and probably a few lost $100.00 bills you forgot you had.

-- Bruce Free Plans

View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3940 days

#2 posted 03-31-2016 03:17 PM

Many years ago I got into the habit of making or choosing a location for all tools to be stored. It has changed over time, but each has a home. When in the middle of a project, meaning one that is days long, I usually put away some if not all the tools at the end of the day. I don’t sweep and clean every day, but try to keep up with up. Then I don’t get into the problem you have.

But, was I always this neat? No. It happened probably 35 years ago when I found that I was buying duplicates of tools because I couldn’t find the first one I bought. Then I finally got organized shop religion. That was when I was about 40, so it took me a long time to get there. One of the major reasons we bought our current house was the separate space for a shop.

I know you have some of your things well organized, because you blogged it years ago, like your vertical stack for bench top power tools. I have a fair amount of pegboard mounted on the walls both here and in La Conner. It isn’t the best solution, but it is part of a solution, and it can be done rather quickly. Having collected old cabinets and drawers from kitchen remodels has been another quick solution. I am in the process of doing the same thing in La Conner, since we are just finishing up a kitchen remodel there.

I am in the process of doing a crazy project that is hard to explain….....but it is not for me. Then when I am done with that, I have a bunch of things to post.

Hope all is well with you and your wife, we are doing OK here. I am getting used to retirement, and it was probably long overdue…..........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View JoeinGa's profile


7741 posts in 2782 days

#3 posted 03-31-2016 10:38 PM

I usually dont “clean” my shop, I simply re-arrange the clutter !

-- Perform A Random Act Of Kindness Today ... Pay It Forward

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4007 days

#4 posted 04-01-2016 05:15 PM


Deb and I are doing fantastic, but family is getting older. Having to deal with advanced senior issues as it were. My father in law is the last of his siblings now and that has taken a toll on him. I get him out to the shop as often as I can, helps him out by keeping him busy, but I don’t get much done… My folks are in decline and I hate watching it, but that is just another phase of life I guess…

I KNOW I need to put my tools away as it were, but honestly, I’ve been too busy to get things put back up. I tend to run until I have no more light, and jam things in the shop door and lock them up. My lovely bride tends to toss what she doesn’t know what it is on my workbench, and somehow flower pots keep ending up on my miter saw table…

IF I had a full, large shop, proper building for doing auto work, and one for woodworking, away from where the cars and lawn mowers are supposed to live, I would find it easier to handle all of this… But probably find more maintenance…

I will say this much. As far as organizing and KEEPING things organized, I am finding the following help.

#1. For sockets, keep them on PLASTIC socket rails with handles. The metal rails don’t hold strongly enough. #2. a tool tote bag to put all the tools I am going to use for a task away from the bench in, allows me to more easily carry the tools back to the tool box and put them up! #3. Do NOT allow anything, or anyone else occupy the space of a large tool that needs to be put up after use. (My wife put her excess flower pots where the floor jack and jack stands go). #4. IF you can manage it without causing marital discord, try to keep others in the house from using your shop as a dumping ground for what they have no clue where it goes.

All in all, just another day in paradise, even spending time cleaning my shop is shop time after all!

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View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3940 days

#5 posted 04-02-2016 03:33 PM

I have a couple of wooden totes that just carry miscellaneous tools around the house. One I built years ago, probably a little big now, because the portable power tools are smaller. But it still gets used. Another smaller one is made of plastic that I inherited from one of my wife’s abandoned hobbies (I have plenty of those too).

I have one very old tote that was set up for electrical work, but is useful for some small mechanical things, you can see a picture of it here: Old tote

Another tote that is used constantly now is my newest one: Drill and Driver Tote

Flower pots and dirty wet garden gloves used to land on my table saw top, and as you can imagine, wreaked havoc on it. My solution was to build specific places for my wife to put things. A couple of shelves in some tool storage areas and wall racks did the trick. In La Conner, I am dedicating a set of drawers retrieved from the kitchen remodel, and putting a preformed laminate top from HD on top of it. That will give her some space to work with pots and store some of her gardening tools. I have finally learned that you have to accept that the shop space will be used by others for non-shop items and work, so I have finally learned to accept it, and prepare for it.

If something large ends up in the shop that doesn’t belong there, I immediately triage it out in some fashion. I have more room than you do, especially her in Anchorage. But in La Conner, there is very little extra room. The shop there is built around the edge of the garage, that fortunately is a little oversized.

Well, off to do chores, and then to the shop…..........

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4007 days

#6 posted 04-02-2016 07:20 PM


The big issue honestly has been one of laziness. I have a couple of REALLY good Husky tool tote bags. Not sure the size measurements but about the size of a normal gym bag. But VERY heavy duty.

When I head out to my BILs shop, I take my own tools (I hate borrowing tools) in the bag, and once I get home I put them back where they belong in my shop. When working on my cars at home, not so much… It’s really a matter of just me being lazy… Well not so much busy, but not making orderliness a priority. It’s a mistake of cutting a corner of shop cleaning in favor of being “done”, just shove the tools back in the shop door and close it call it done.

Well maybe that was done as far as the car was concerned, but there were full oil catch pans, sockets not on their rails, socket and spanner sets not in the right drawers.

As a matter of fact, this morning I have spent some time cleaning up the guest room for visitors tonight. I had a couple of screwdrivers, pliers, and a putty knife in there (patching a hole where I moved an outlet, and installing an outlet…). As soon as I send this out, I am going to put that stuff up, and get back to shop cleanup.

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View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3940 days

#7 posted 04-03-2016 03:04 AM

You know, you just have to get old enough that you can’t even function well in a neat and orderly space, let alone a messed up one….......(-:

I hear you…........been there, done that.

So go for it buddy, your whole life will feel cleaner….........(-:

Take care, have a good weekend….....

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4007 days

#8 posted 04-06-2016 03:18 PM

Been a rough couple of days. Was in the ER Monday night due to a nasty allergic reaction to God only knows what.

Long story short, AFTER being shot up with Beneadryl, etc… well I had bad reactions to statin meds, so my Dr has me on a fairly high dose Niacin, and I wasn’t told about the side effects. I believe I was experiencing a Niacin Flush.

Long story short, I took my daily dose per Dr. orders, went about getting ready for bed, and started feeling funny about 30 minutes in. Everything waist up got stoplight red and I felt like I was on fire. NOT a pleasant experience!

Anyway, the ER hooked me up and doped me with Benadryl before they figured out the Niacin thing, they kept me on monitors with all their associate noses, an IV needle in my arm with I swear that was Gorilla tape, and in a bed ish, that was leaned up enough to make me sit up but slide at the same time. Needless to say I was drowsy as all get out, but there is no way I was going to be able to sleep. They kept me until sometime around 3 or 4 AM, we went home, I emailed my lead and told him I was going to be out, and went to bed. Got up around 10 or 10:30 as I didn’t want to trash my sleep schedule too badly, and plodded through the day. I guarantee I wasn’t in the shop at all yesterday aside from something I am going to blog about in a bit.

I tried getting to sleep at a decent hour last night. Didn’t happen. Need to plod through today, get through about 2 hours of after hours work, and then hit the shower and go to bed…

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View Jim Bertelson's profile

Jim Bertelson

4275 posts in 3940 days

#9 posted 04-06-2016 03:32 PM

I had a relative that used Niacin in treatment for multiple sclerosis, many years ago. I remember her flush vividly.

I had a muscle weakness reaction to statins and had to stop them. It is a much more common problem than people realize. A recent article said that about 10% of people have the problem. That was my experience talking to patients in the office. I didn’t initiate treatment with statins, but would refill them.

-- Jim, Anchorage Alaska

View dbhost's profile


5777 posts in 4007 days

#10 posted 04-06-2016 04:25 PM

First statin was muscle weakness and I felt like I had been beaten with a baseball bat. Second one they tried made me gain 50lbs in 30 days before I told my primary no way! I switched PCPs shortly thereafter.

My new PCP understands the issues, and is actually up on the articles / warnings where my old one swore there are no problems with statins and didn’t want to consider alternative treatments.

I am dropping weight, and my cholesterol is coming along nicely. So she must be doing something right.

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