Minimizing, De-Cluttering, and Simplifying The Workshop

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Blog entry by handsawgeek posted 01-29-2018 07:23 PM 809 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

In the past few weeks, I have been perusing and studying a number of websites and blogs dealing with the concept of Minimalist Lifestyles.

In a nutshell, Minimalism is all about paring down one’s material possessions to a point where all that is retained is all that is needed. It’s about getting rid of the non-essentials, dispensing with un-necessary items, and de-cluttering one’s living space, thus leaving the practitioner with a happier, less stressful, and satisfying life.

In my reading, I have found that a substantial portion of this ‘Minimalism movement’ is pure faddism – people driving themselves to – sometimes extreme – levels of sacrifice in the name of simplifying their lives.

I have found, however, that many of the concepts and disciplines of Minimalism can be effectively applied to the handsawgeek / BlastFromThePast (the model rocketry side) workshop, without going to silly excesses.
At first glance, Minimalism and hobbies such as mine do not appear to go hand-in-hand. By nature, such activities classically mean acquiring lots of related ‘stuff’.

Been there – Done that – Still doing that!

In the woodworking side of the shop, I have striven to acquire as many hand tools, as much lumber stock, and hardware as I can get my hands on and afford. On the model rocket workbench, my goal has been to amass all of the kits, parts, tools, glues, and paints I think I need. The build list for the rocket fleet is quite long. And this is not to mention the stacks and shelves of magazines and reference material for both hobbies that I currently own and constantly supplement.

So, after spending an evening of solitude seated on my favorite shop stool in the middle of the woodworking/ model rocketry ‘fiefdom’, I began an assessment of all the related materials therein.

Did I really need all 10 of those crosscut handsaws in the till, when one will do the job? Do I really have to have those 5 smoothing planes sitting on the shelf, when one will do the job? How about all those cigar boxes and baby food jars full of hardware, much of which I may never find a use for in my lifetime? On the other side of an unfinished basement wall are stacks of random boards, plywood panels, and hardwood cutoffs, much of which I’ve had sitting around for many years – un-used and taking up space. And what about all of those stacks of woodworking magazines I’ve kept since the 90’s? They sure take up a lion’s share of the shop bookcase. Aside from all the various how-to, reference, and special interest articles that give me reading enjoyment, I’ve built maybe all of one or two of the projects found in their pages.

I decided that it’s time for a change.

This mess of stuff needs to be reduced to only the items that I know are essential to success and fulfillment of my own particular style of woodworking.

I need to stop hoarding tools, wood, and hardware, just for the sake of possessing them.

As much as I love them I need to limit my yearly visits to yard sales.

I need to conduct my own yard sale….

All this will take some serious commitment, practical inventory control, and practical self-control.

I detect another blog series in the making!

Stay tuned.

-- Ed

4 comments so far

View PhilBello's profile


411 posts in 2734 days

#1 posted 01-29-2018 08:06 PM

Funny that you should bring this up…six years ago I moved from Spain to Colombia, there was no way I could afford to transport all me tools from a 120m workshop half way across the world, so I sold everything off for pennies, and had to start again over here from scratch.

Again I could not afford to replace everything I had sold, and I found out that I didn’t need to, I bought the essentials, a table saw, Band saw, compound mitre saw, and router, plus cheap hand tools, and then I researched the internet, and made jigs, clamps etc from wood.

I moved into a workshop of 20m instead of 120m, and found I could do just about everything I could do before, without the equipment or the space. It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it, and damn…It’s a hell of a lot cheaper!

-- If you want the rainbow, you got to put up with the rain - Steven Wright

View CFrye's profile


11002 posts in 2607 days

#2 posted 01-29-2018 08:42 PM

I admire your aspiration, Ed.

-- God bless, Candy

View Frustrator's profile


93 posts in 1816 days

#3 posted 01-30-2018 06:41 PM

Perfekt! Now i dont have to do anything with all My stuff. I can just sitt here and watch you do the work, and dream about me doing the same :)

View CO_Goose's profile


205 posts in 2558 days

#4 posted 02-10-2018 03:34 AM

I hear you Ed! I keep looking at my shop and wondering what I can get rid of, sell, or store to make room to move around and use the tools that I have.

By the way, let me know when you have your garage sale…

-- Just making sawdust

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