Cold weather, warm weather, there's always an excuse for a project. So we thought it time to revisit the garage – namely how to get it into order.
Guys who like to wrench have their own way of setting up their garage. Some are fine with clutter because they know where everything is. Others want everything organized – a place for everything and everything in its place. But there are those of us who only wrench on occasion and for those of us in that category, here are some cheap ways to stay organized:
Muffin pans – great for small parts like screws, nuts and fasteners
Cookie sheet – oily parts, drip pan under a leaky engine, or a catch all for stuff you couldn’t put in the muffin pan
Paper cups – write on them, spit in them, store stuff temporarily, then throw them away
Ziploc bags – use them for larger parts, you can write on them or label with a piece of paper slid inside the bag
Rubber bands or masking tape – bundle parts that go together
Once you get yourself organized with these small items, below are some bigger elements that define a good working garage:
Bikestand — unless you’re the Hulk and can lift the bike off the ground with one hand and work on it with the other, you’re going to need a good a good bikestand. It should be about knee height and be fitted with tie-down hooks or a front wheel chock to keep your bike upright and from falling.
Pegboard — keep you most used tools where you can get them. Including combination wrenches, screwdrivers, hex keys, pliers, and hammers.
Heat – working in the cold is no fun. In fact, it’s a downright bitch. Get some space heaters.
Light – more parts have probably been lost and more time wasted trying to find them because someone didn’t have enough light to see where they went. Put up some big fluorescent lights overhead and get some drop lamps to light up the areas where you’ll need more illumination.
Ventilation – fumes created by solvents and fuel may not kill you right away…but they can do a number over time. Open a door, get some fans. Do something that will make sure you’ve got plenty of ventilation to reduce the smell and effects of those fumes.
Fire extinguisher – hell, no one purposefully starts a fire while working on their bike, but stuff happens. Keep it close.
Parts Tank — no this is not a place where parts magically appear. This is a tank you use to clean parts before you put them back on your bike.
Gloves — latex or blue nitrite gloves are the best for working around grease and oil.
Workbench – the workstand’s brother. Waist high and at least four to five feet wide.
Vise — mount it on the end of your workbench. It’s the tool with a thousand uses.
Trash can – seems like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised.
Sound system – break the tedium with your favorite tunes.
Fridge — where your favorite beverage lives until you put it down your throat. A snack or sandwich can go here, too.
Remember, fights with significant others or the danger zone created by mothers and daughters at loggerheads with each other is why God made garages in the first place. Treat them with respect.
Thanks again to The Motorcycling Manual for this issue’s Shop Talk.
Photo from www.petrolicious.com