After many years of working to the goal, I finally relocated from Connecticut to Maine. Now, I’ll be the first to admit that moving a household and shop in the dead of winter (late January, early February) in the snow-prone Northeast is probably not the wisest thing, but these days, when your house finally sells it hardly matters what time of year it is.

So, after more than 20 years in one place, I had to pack up everything for a 350-mile move north. It’s more than amazing the stuff you accumulate in two decades, particularly in the shop. I looked at a big pile of old jigs and fixtures that I hadn’t used in years. Out they went. Piles of hardwood offcuts saved for some rainy day when they might be just the right thing for a repair or small part. Into the wood stove they went. Look at all those portable power tools. Do I really need so many redundant tools? Some sold, some given away, some kept.
Wouldn’t I have been so much better off if I had culled through this stuff years ago? I like to fashion myself as an advocate for lean manufacturing, but all this “maybe I’ll need/use it someday” business is nowhere near lean. Guess I’d better practice what I preach.
Speaking of lean, I’ve got a new shop to organize, which presents all sorts of opportunities to make improvements in layout and efficiency. Of course, I’ll be a bit limited because I’m actually renting a home while we build our dream house and shop on land we’ve owned for about a decade. That means the shop I set up now won’t be perfect and nowhere near permanent, but as they say here in Maine, it’ll get ‘er done.
Moving is very stressful and exhausting. But the best thing about it is the chance to start over, reorganize, refresh and renew. I know there is lots of stuff we moved that we probably should have left behind, and we might find a few things we discarded that we’ll miss. But that’s OK. The shakeup is invigorating. Even if you don’t have to move, it wouldn’t hurt to take a look around your own shop and think about clearing out the old for a fresh start. But try not to do it in a snow storm.

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