Spring Clean

I find that a really good time of year to “Spring Clean” is actually at the start of the year. For those in the Northern Hemisphere it may be even more suitable, with short days, long nights and more inclement weather, but even so, starting a new year with a clean slat seems more inspiring than a bunch of rarely enacted resolutions.

So, that is what I have been doing. Yeah, a bit boring for an article, but it really adds to the whole shed experience when eveything in there is working with, rather than against you.

I had some less than favourable comments away back about my blue modular storage bins, but they still allow me to segregate out all the different consumables nails and screws, bright galv blued etc, and all the different sizes. How do others deal with them? Or do you not maintain a wide range of sizes, types and finishes?

For example, I have a whole range of steel screws, from about 16mm to over 75mm, in 4, 6, 8 and 10g (where appropriate). Another stack zinc coated, another in brass (and no, I don’t have a comprehensive range, but I’d still have at least 20 different varieties), and the same again in nails- bullet, flat, timberloc, in bright and galv finished. Am I the only one to maintain such a varied collection, and particularly to keep it as sorted? I was out there (The Shed), watching a couple of movies, while using a Dymo to properly label the different containers.

5 Responses

  1. I totally agree, Stu.

    Even a small workshop can feel much more spacious once you’ve swept up all the shavings and sorted through your piles of offcuts! Though, as soon as you start a new project, that feeling tends to disappear!!

    How do you store you finishes and flammable products?

    Happy New Year!


    • I don’t do anything particularly special with them – they are in the large lower cabinet of one tool chest. About the only thing I do try to do is have them all stored in the same location. That may sound like a bad idea, but instead I feel it is safer, because instead of having risks all around the shop ready to catch a stray spark, I know to keep all sparks away from that cabinet. Located near the door (and quite a way from the flammables storage), I have a dry powder fire extinguisher.

  2. Try screwing lids of glass jars(Vegemite, Peanut Butter etc) under a shelf or similar, and loading the jars with screws, or whatever. You could label the jars with Dymo or similar, but naturally, one can see what each jar contains. I have dozens of these critters; it is a trick my Dad used. If I knew how to take a photo, and email it to you, I would, but I can’t, so I wont.

    • My old man had them as well, and as a kid making billy carts more than one got undone, then slipped to shatter on the concrete floor!

      Not disagreeing that they are a good sorting, storing system, and widely used in backyard sheds around the world! (At least throughout Australasia!)

  3. I have some of those modular containers that I have mounted under the bench with about 8 sizes of screws for the instant ‘I need a screw’ moment. Having a few empty containers is handy for storing screws, nuts and bolts when you are pulling something apart.

    My main fastener storage is an old doctors surgery filing cabinet wall with 36 A5 size drawers. Inside the drawers I use the clear plastic fishing tackle boxes for nuts, bolts, washers, assorted screws and nails. The bulk screws are stored in plastic 1kg fruit salad/ two fruit containers which forces me to eat healthy.

    So if I am building a project that needs 32 mm chipboard screws then I go to the chipboard drawer and get a fruit container of those screws. If I am making a jig or fixing something and need some bolts then I go to the 1/4inch drawer and get a tackle box of nuts, bolts, tee nuts and wing nuts in that size. I have drawers for 1/4, 5/16, 3/8, one for washers and a metric drawer to make up the nuts and bolts column. A column of nails in tackle boxes. A screw column with chipboard, drywall, square drive and small brass screws. A few containers of old wood screws, brass, steel, stainless and bronze florentine in little cardboard boxes (inherited from my dad). The assortment of old school screws is really valuable when it comes to repairing old furniture or making things look old.

    It takes up a couple of meters of shop wall but I can walk up, open a drawer and put my hand on the correct fastener for the job. I spent a lot of money, probably $1000 over five years, but it is cheaper to buy boxes of 1000 screws online rather than small packets from the hardware store. Screws and bolts don’t have use by dates.

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