Monday, September 23, 2013

Organize By Not Organizing

Photo courtesy Flickr

The in-house geek is reconfiguring the radio shack, a task that requires handling thousands of tiny parts and kit after kit of specialized tools. He bought my suggestion to store gear in one size of flap bin on standard coated-wire adjustable shelving units on heavy wheels. The wheels cost nearly as much as the shelves and are worth every penny. Label each bin with a list of contents, or number each one and keep an inventory on the computer. A computer will alphabetize automatically, and things can be stowed wherever there is space

Techie is considering a strategy I have found useful in the adjoining spaces I use as kitchen pantry and office/non-toxic graphics studio. Small artifacts and consumable supplies live in the pantry. The main kitchen workroom and the studio hold only essential worktables, lighting, waste bins, and a seat or three.

Stripping a work area leaves one free to produce. Each project uses slightly or radically different tools and supplies. It’s easier in the long run to pull out and accumulate the widgets and jugs needed for a given enterprise than to try to anticipate every need for projects unknown. Over time, the tool kit for a given space will define itself. I find it convenient to stage projects on designer cafeteria trays from the Great Big Northern European Home Furnishings Chain. I park the trays on the counters of the old pass pantry. 

A commercial baker’s rack would probably work well, but I have not had occasion to use one. Empty shelves are surprisingly efficient: they save horizontal space and allow one to stage work with a minimal number of steps.

The short version of this post is: put everything to one side in a defined dead storage area and pull things out as they are needed. Keep pushing unused things closer to the exit, and the enterprise will eventually define and organize itself.


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