Top Tips for Organising Your Workshop

Published Thursday 17th November 2016

Your workshop should reflect your work ethic. It should be tidy, organised and well planned to maximise space and enable free use of all tools and equipment.

A well designed workshop will reap benefits for productivity. The layout will undoubtedly change over time to meet your evolving requirements so don’t worry about it being set in stone once you have decided on an initial plan.

There isn’t a one size fits all layout.

The first step is to create a design template to visualise how you will set out each area based on workflow. Plan the space according to each section of a typical woodworking project and don’t forget to make sure you take note of considerations such as plug space and planning for new tools you may wish to add to your collection over time.

Space efficiency

Its paramount to invest in some decent storage, especially if you are restricted on space. Be organised and make sure you categorise your tools into functions. Use your storage as best as possible within your space constraints to minimise clutter and ensure the space is tidy and feels comfortable as a workspace.

Be aware that tools exposed to the elements may rust so chests and sealable boxes may be worth thinking about over shelves that are exposed.

Tools with similar uses should be grouped near to one another.

Make sure that within the map you group tools efficiently so that they are arranged by type allowing for dynamic workflow. However, if your configuration does not work out then using mobile bases can enable the moving of tools without too much heavy lifting.

It’s important to have the key equipment within easy reach. This might be a case of trial and error as you try out different arrangements to see what works for you in practice. As there can be a lot of overlap in between stages of the workflow, what works at the planning stage from a design perspective may not work in practice.

Another consideration is usability. Don’t compromise on lower quality tools and fixtures when these could provide you with issues further down the line. Tools need to be suitable for your height as you will tire of bending down in awkward positions when using them for extended periods of time.

Think about lighting

Natural light is an important factor to consider when looking at your workshop map. The presence of daylight will determine where you need to install lights. On dark days you will need good quality lighting so it’s worth the investment.

Minimise clutter

A tidy workshop reflects a tidy mind. Even with the best plans in the world, workshops will become cluttered.

Time can be wasted looking for tools in a cluttered mess. Use space to your best advantage by making sure all areas are optimised. For instance, you could use corners for tools like drill presses and band saws to work with longer lengths of wood without compromising on space.

Windows are not only a source of natural light but can be good for ventilation purposes when you are trying to dry toxic chemicals. Otherwise you could look to provide an outdoor space for this purpose, but make sure in the event of bad weather it is fully undercover to prevent damage to the design.

Is it a comfortable space?

As with any working environment, one of the key - and sometimes overlooked - considerations is the comfort factor.

Think about heating - look into affordable options which will ensure your shop is cosy all year round.

Anything else?

What are the main things you consider when it comes to designing your workspace? Share them with us on Twitter or comment below.