Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Unfinished Projects

I recently have been tackling a long backlog of unfinished projects (and starting a few new ones, of course). I've noticed a pattern in how I do projects that I suspect others have as well. You identify what you need (1-1/2" pvc pipe, a u-joint, two couplers, two elbows, and some pvc glue), measure a few things, and go to the hardware store. You come home and set the bag of parts down in the garage, next to...

...and here's the problem: you set it next to 7 other bags from the hardware store, each of which contains the exact ingredients (on a good day) to complete one project. But if you leave stuff in the bags, you'll never finish the projects. Seems obvious, but even if it's "just until tomorrow", there's something opaque and unnoticeable about bags from the hardware store. You just don't see them after a while, and you can't even remember sometimes if you actually bought the stuff or not. Once or twice I've come home with a *second* entire bag of the same stuff, months later, for the same project. I feel pretty foolish when I discover the original bag.

I've looked inside a bag from Home Depot, said, "aha! that's where those hinges and lag screws are..." then literally 15 minutes later, had to look for them all over again. "Which bag were they in? I forget where I saw them." It's amazing how good those flimsy plastic bags are at hiding things from you.

So I've learned to take things out of these bags as soon as I get home from the hardware store. Even if it means piling the stuff on the work bench. At least then it's in the way, and will get put away more quickly than a plastic bag sitting on the floor. Literally putting the ingredients away, even if the project will be completed tomorrow, is a good plan. File the 1-1/2" plumbing fixtures in your plastic box labeled, you got it, "1-1/2 inch plumbing". I say plastic box because I have come to believe it is the right way to store almost everything. You can see into the boxes. Nothing can hide from you. You can label them too, but you don't really need to: they're see-through! What a revolution in storage!

I'm a pretty organized guy, and I'm getting even better, since I'm focused on it. I'm setting up a new workshop and taking the time to organize it as efficiently and thoughtfully as I can. It's a challenge, but it's a fun challenge. It's amazing how much time it takes to think through and implement storage systems and workshops....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Totally off task - I'm looking for the next - and you are hard to get an email for (don't blame you). Can you suggest something? For Mac? Thanks.