Cleanup in Aisle 8

November 3 2013.  While moving to the new house, a lot of the timber and tools were stacked in the original 3x3m shed on the property.  On that day, the shed was emptied and stored under the veranda, filling the entire area (covering all the outdoors furniture), and looked a mess, not to put too fine a point on it.  That shed was then taken apart and stored.

It has been almost exactly 5 months (minus a few days), and the cleanup of that area is finally complete.  Everything has been taken to their new homes (garden shed, main workshop, garage, and storage shed).  Not particularly neatly – that refinement will happen over a longer period as I work out various storage options.  At least progress each weekend is restoring a sense of normalcy to the place.

There is a small mountain of stuff now stored up on the mezzanine – crates and crates of tools and timber requiring sorting, storing, and disposing.  I really need some storage solutions for the shed – that is the next big ticket item requiring tick-off.  Whether that will be purchased, made, or a combination of the two is yet to be seen.  Fast will be the first order of the day. (The other big-ticket item needing resolution is installing a dust collection system).

As far as disposing is concerned – sure, that means there is some things not worth keeping that will be binned, but the majority of items in that category are ones needing to find a new home.

One thing I found I have a lot of, are Triton spares.  Bags and bags of components, from individual screws and red knobs with captive nuts, up to and including a Triton Router Table, Router Table Stand, a Bevel Ripping Guide, Biscuit Joiner, Finger Jointer and all sorts of other odds’n’sods.

So what I am thinking of doing is cataloguing it all, and sticking it on a tab at the top of the site, with a line number, photo and description.  Some items with a price tag, the others priced (cheaply) by weight.  I’ll work out something that gives a reasonable price scale.  I’ve become quite disillusioned with eBay.  Not because the items sell for a reasonable price, or the eBay fee structure, but simply because there are so many dickheads out there.  I don’t need the stress or hassle.  Some hassle is unavoidable – if I wanted to avoid it all, I’d simply throw all the metal into the trailer (along with the pile that is there at the moment) and run it to the local steel merchant.

Let me know if there is anything you are particularly looking out for – will see what I can turn up.  A good portion of it is new, and should be much cheaper than any Triton spares in the market.

Storing Tools

Being the start of December, it was time to get the Christmas decorations out, and given I was fully expecting the shed a long time ago, I had packed the decorations at the back.  So it was a full unload of the storage shed, and a first look at some of the boxes and items in them that I haven’t seen since they were packed in January/February.

Not everything has survived as well as one would hope, so there are some lessons here that may be of benefit for others.  So far, only one tool looks particularly bad, and it may be recoverable (but will always bear the scars, even if it is).

1. Pack as if it is for an indeterminable length of time, rather than an expected few weeks, or months.  Things have a habit of blowing out well beyond expectations, and if the tools are packed properly, any delay will not cause an issue.

2. Packing includes serious consideration that the tool will be exposed to moisture.  A light spray with WD40 (for metal tools) then wrap individually.  I started wrapping individual tools in bubble wrap when I started packing but stopped after a while when I decided I was being too pedantic.  Now I wish I had persisted after all (and see point 1).

3. Using cardboard boxes is asking for trouble.  I started with a bunch of removalists boxes, and although they stack neatly, they definitely do not last anywhere near as long as you’d want.  It depends on where you are using to store the boxes, but given workshop boxes are unlikely to be given the same inside-the-house priority as household supplies (and will often be emptied a lot later than the rest of the household boxes) they find themselves absorbing more moisture, weakening.  Even if they are in an ideal environment, in time the boxes start to compact.  If they are a bit heavy, this process happens a lot faster and the contents bear the brunt.

4. Boxes will get moved, and moved again.  Having a system that allows the boxes to be moved, stacked and restacked easily will be a real asset.

5. Label the boxes, and record the contents.  Consider keeping a photographic record as well – if it gets to a worst case scenario, it will greatly help in the insurance claim.

6. Sturdy plastic boxes with lid are much more useful.  Each stack of boxes should ideally have a wheeled base so the stack can be moved without having to load and unload the stack just to move it.

7. Whether you are storing boxes in a storage unit, a garage or a shed (especially a shed), get the boxes off the ground.  I bought a smallish shed instead of (and for about the same price as two months of a storage unit), but thought it would be fine with a heavy-duty groundsheet.  It wasn’t.  I should have purchased the shed base kit. Another alternative is to use pallets (plastic or wooden) as the shed base.  If you can get the pallets in and out of the shed or storage unit without unloading them, all the better.

8. When you do (finally) get to unpack the boxes, crates or whatever, make sure you are unpacking the tools into their final home.  Otherwise you planned pack and store will quickly turn into a shambles.

9. Sort the tools as you are unpacking them.  Any tool needing TLC, put them aside for treatment, rather than assuming you’ll get a round tuit.

10. Be prepared for some damage, and loss.  Hope for the best, plan for the worst.

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