Today was Workbench-Organization-Day. It’s amazing how cluttered my workbench can get over a few months. It took me a couple hours to toss all those forgotten scraps into the firewood pile, organize the pieces of When-I-Get-around-to-It projects, and–of course–collect and putting away stray hardware.
You know how it goes. Spare nails, screws, nuts, and bolts accumulate at an an alarming rate in the corners of workshops. Sometimes I think they breed there. I have a couple small dishes that I keep on my workbench for collecting these bits of hardware when I find them, but when the dishes start to overflow, it’s time to actually put things away.
I’ve tried a few different hardware-storage systems. Well, “system” might be too strong a word. Like most “handy” guys, I have nails, hinges, and L-brackets in some random coffee cans and jars, but little by little, I’m converting to a simple modular-storage system. It’s taken me a while to make the conversion, though, because I need to drink more tea.
Yes, I use the leftover tins from Twinings loose-leaf tea for storing hardware. They come in two convenient sizes, and the lids are made such that boxes of the same size will neatly stack on top of one another. Unlike mason jars or coffee cans, these rectangular containers can be packed next to each other in a drawer with almost no wasted space between them. And they’re totally flexible. Changing the contents is as easy as writing a new label.
The only downside is that, unlike glass or plastic, I can’t see what’s inside each one unless I open it. But I’ve cracked or broken enough glass jars and plastic containers that I’ll gladly put up with limited visibility. I usually just dump the entire contents onto my bench, pick out what I need, and then hold the box up to the edge of the bench while I sweep the rest of the hardware back into it. You can’t do that with a round jar.
I’m normally a coffee drinker, so it’s taken me some time to replace most of my mason jars and coffee cans with tea tins. I still have several to go.
So pour me a cuppa tea, guv’nor! I’ve got more hardware to put away.