Saturday, September 9, 2023

Another solution to a vexing problem

Older Daughter has been working very hard supplying wholesale customers with tankards. This is her busy season, so she's been putting in long hours. Last week, she packed up four huge boxes for shipment.

This cleared out a significant amount of chaos in the house, as you can imagine, but it also highlighted a persistently vexing problem.

Unlike our last house, our new place is vastly smaller in terms of square footage (3600 sq ft vs 1400 sq ft). This means finding nooks to stash things – especially things used in the woodcraft business – can be challenging. There are some things that can't be stored in the barn or shop because they can't be subjected to temperature fluctuations. This includes epoxy resins, wood glue, rubber hoses and rubber bands (both used in the assembly process), and other items. Additionally, some things are only used for indoor assembly or use (such as duct tape, paint brushes, etc.), so it makes sense to store them indoors.

Bottom line, we had no place to put them.

Now let's back up a bit. A couple years ago, I put up a post asking for reader input on what we should do with the gaping hole that would result if we were to remove the kitchen's dishwasher, which we never used and didn't want.

The result was a lively discussion of ideas for the resulting space. Well, we did end up removing the dishwasher (during last year's plumbing woes) and – since nature abhors a vacuum – the empty space quickly filled up with shop accouterments, including the list of materials mentioned above. The result was a jumbled chaotic mess that often required a lot of deep digging to find the necessary stuff, which in turn often resulted in a pile of materials in a high-traffic spot in the kitchen. It was a vexing problem.

Additionally, Older Daughter recently purchased a delicate piece of equipment for adding to her woodcrafting repertoire: a laser engraver.

For obvious reasons, she doesn't want this exposed to the sawdust-y conditions in the shop. However the dishwasher space is exactly the right dimension for storing it.

So Don decided to fix up the storage problem once and for all by making some beefy shelves custom-fitted to the dishwasher space. He measured carefully, cut the cleats and shelves, and got everything installed.

Now the laser engraver has its own shelf, and everything else fits more efficiently into this space. Doesn't seem like it made a big difference; but trust me, it did.

It's the little things, y'know? This simple fix resulted in a much more organized kitchen. Now I can install a pretty curtain to hide the woodshop items and we're golden.


  1. A cart on wheels that fit snuggly and could be pulled out to use as a work station. Also prevent any damage to the laser engraver due to transferring from one work place to another.

  2. Drawers would have been ideal :)

  3. A future possibility to add a room out in the barn to use as a workshop you can keep at a better temp/humidity and away from the dust and detritus?

  4. Second that cart on wheels. Slipping and dropping that bit of delicate equipment could be awful.

    I notice a kitchen sink nearby above that storage area. Just yesterday a bit of soapy water almost made me do the splits and If my hands were full of expensive and probably heavy equipment THAT would be Bad.

  5. Looks great! I’m sure the engraver will be a fun addition to the business, makes me feel giddy and it isn’t even mine, lol.

  6. I hesitated to comment previously when you posted about being slammed with orders and all those pictures were posted of obstacle courses all over the floor.
    Shelving, even floor to ceiling, doesn't take up much floor space and could be good temporary housing for all the unfinished tankards. Something movable since the business is still growing. A small wall or corner or build an alcove even. It doesn't have to be deep since you're space constrained. But you need to eliminate trip hazards.
    We don't think about trip hazards until it's too late usually, but the difference between my balance, dexterity, and reaction times changed drastically between 60 and 70, and I was fit and active. A trip here and fall there caused twisted knees, ankles, and sprained wrists, knees again, elbow and shoulder. Those things did not recover to their previous " good health". They're gimpy. You need to avoid gimpy if at all possible. Even a shallow wall of shelves in OD's sitting room could help. It's all going to outgrow your living space once she gets going with that laser.
    The shelving Don built is wonderful, as usual. But I have to second or third concerns about locating that piece of equipment there.
    Even if no pipes leaked around the sink, kitchens are moist areas of the house. Food is constantly being boiled or canned, heat fluctuations are going on, and even though I never fry foods, somehow the ceiling fan always seems to have some oil mixed in with the dust when I clean it. Plus the moist air cools and brings the dust down
    The kitchen is the last place I would store sensitive equipment, followed by bathrooms, windows, and outside walls. Again think moisture condensation when temps fluctuate.

    Poor Don. There are lots of shelving units in a box you can get somewhere like Lowe's or order to be delivered. Having very little space myself I bought one and installed wheels, then another, and now I have four...on wheels. One is about to be emptied of dishes and whatnot that can be packed up, and it will be wheeled to its new location easily to house fabrics and yarn for project overflows of knitting and sewing. I will never regret purchasing rolling racks. They're so adaptable. Just another idea.