Use it, or lose it

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.



  • Alviti says:

    I had to allow a freezer into my workshop and that was only after much kicking and screaming. (in truth it keeps the frost at bay as it acts like a little heater, but dont tell the wife)

  • A.J. Hamler says:

    Ya know, come to think of it I had a small chest freezer in my Connecticut shop, too, for the first 10 or 11 years I was there. Forgot all about it.

  • Randy Walker says:

    A.J. I truly feel your pain. For the last 181/2 years my shop has been at the bottom of the steps, with my work table only a few steps away. EVERYTHING landed there on its way to wherever I put it. My shop like yours is also en-rout from the patio to the steps causing additional accumulations of stuff. Most recently we have had space invaders move in with us. Our adult children, there spouses, and their children have invaded our space. My office was reclaimed for a bedroom and deposited randomly in my shop and any other open space available. I am digging out but the holiday paraphernalia looms large as the season progresses.

    Randy Walker

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