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Setting Up a Home Workshop

Setting up a home workshop is an excellent way to prepare yourself for any sort of remodeling or DIY project that might come up. A lot of home improvement and upkeep jobs involve a simple, hands-on approach by which you'll take a tool or two directly to the problem.

Some larger jobs and personal projects can best be addressed in a garage or workshop, where you can set up space specifically to do your work.

Part of that setup means making sure your home workshop is stocked with the right tools and materials. That in and of itself is a pretty involved process, but the following tips can set you on the right path to designing a useful, thoroughly equipped workshop.

Buy A Separate Toolbox
Most people who are interested in DIY projects and home improvement tend to have a toolbox stashed somewhere within the home. If you want, you can use that same toolbox in the workshop as well. But it can be more convenient to stock a separate, larger toolbox in the workshop, so you can easily address any needs that may arise during a project. There are endless options for toolboxes you can purchase fully stocked, though if you prefer to put together your own kit, Today's Nest has a handy list of 20 essential items to start with. Most won't be surprising, but it's nice to have such a list available just to make sure you don't forget anything.

Collect Larger Tools
A well-stocked toolbox will help with most repairs and projects that come up, but there are a few larger, more heavy-duty tools that are best collected and positioned permanently in a workshop or a garage. One that comes to mind is a bandsaw, which according to Screwfix can be a very handy piece of kit for jobs like cutting non-linear shapes in wood, or slicing through harder materials. This is a vital tool to have for some larger projects. Similarly, items like power sanders or power-washing equipment can be nice to stash in a workshop, even if you wind up removing them to use around the house.

Build In Windows
There's a common image of a home workshop as an enclosed space, almost like a little cave for personal projects. That's all well and good, and a lot of DIYers like to have that kind of separate area where they can focus exclusively on their projects. Furthermore, some would consider it polite and considerate to close off a workshop area in case a noisy repair is underway. However, it can't hurt to build in a few windows if you're designing your own workshop. It gets hot pretty quickly when you're working with your hands, and between that and air thick with sawdust and the like, it's nice to set up some ventilation.

Create Vertical Storage Space
Odds are you don't have too much space to devote to your workshop, and if you end up building things in the shop, you'll need every inch you can get. That means getting creative with storage, so as to maximise the floor space available. A few lockers and drawers might be necessary for storing equipment, but as often as you can, look up when planning storage. This might mean setting up hooks to hang tools on, building in cabinets near the ceiling, etc.—anything to open up space in the middle of the floor area. Family Handyman even suggests building a custom workbench with built-in storage above and/or below the table.

Treat It Like A Room In The Home
Finally, there's a certain tendency to think of a workshop like an extension of a garage, when in reality it should be designed more like part of the home. This is to say things like ample electricity, proper lighting, and even cleaning materials are all necessary if you want to keep this area as comfortable and convenient as possible. You may need additional power sources to operate tools; you'll need plenty of lighting to see as clearly as possible when working on projects; and you'll preserve the shop and make it more pleasant to work in if you have the materials to clean as you go. Respecting the area the same way you would a room you live in will go a long way.

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