Planning Workshop Space

Workshop space planning especially for small shops.


When setting up a workshop very few of us have enough room for dedicated workshop space for each machine. Most usable space available for a workshop is multi purpose. When it isn't being used for your workshop maybe it's being used for a place to park the car or extra workspace on laundry day. Even if you have a separate building it's normally being used for storage. Here’s a few ideas that may help:

Dedicate as much space as possible for your workshop. The space you have can be maximized by dedicating it as workshop only. If you have a garage workshop store everything not essential to your shop in a storage building or basement. The same goes for basement shops. If it isn’t essential for your shop store it some where else. Workshop tools and equipment only!

Eliminate unused stuff laying around. If it doesn’t belong in your workshop move it to where it belongs! When you’re looking for extra space to store something not shop related then make your workshop off limits. Always!

Find a home for everything. Assuming that the only things left in your shop are things that belong there, now you need a home for them. Keeping them close to the area that they’re used the most you can hang them on the wall, put them in drawers, portable tool boxes or anywhere handy. Just have a place for everything.

Store your extra shop supplies some where else. Bring your project supplies into your shop as you need them. Store extra lumber, hardware or finishes in another area outside your shop. You can also buy supplies in smaller quantities if it doesn’t cost more. Ideally your materials come in the door, are processed, then go back out the door with little to no storage in the work area. The more open space you can create in your shop the easier it is to get things done.

Store easy to move machines somewhere else. You can do the same with some of your machines. Machines that are easy to move and aren't used very often can be stored elsewhere and brought into your shop as you need them. Although this requires planning ahead it's a great space saver.

I found my shop ran much smoother when I cleared out the portable machines such as extra router tables and benchtop equipment. It also helped me learn how to plan ahead and set up all the equipment before the next day or before the next operation.

Lay out your shop for maximum efficiency. Another way to make workshop space is the way you lay out your shop. Machines that can easily be moved can be lined up against a wall and then pulled straight out to a open area while using. Plan your work flow through each area. Keep the support tools close so you ‘re not walking to other areas of the shop to get tools you need. 

One of the best sources of information about organizing space is Setting Up Shop offered at Amazon and other places.

Once you get your shop started you’ll find that you can very easily outgrow the workshop space you have. You can delay having to move into a larger shop by surrounding yourself with only the tools and equipment that you use a lot . When you do have to move into a larger space then these same tips will keep your larger workshop space safe and more efficient also.


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