Tips for Cleaning the Work Area
Since cleaning my work area I’ve been looking at materials and supplies to help me organize my tools. One of the things I’m really interested in is Kaizen Foam from Fastcap. I’d really love to lay out all my tools flat in my tool drawer and I found this stuff while looking for drawer liners. This stuff looks extremely versatile and easy to work with. It might even be a great solution for storing my models as well. Fortunately for me Lee Valley Tools, a local tool company, stocks a similar product so I can pick it up without paying for shipping. I tip my hat to Fastcap for their videos and products but my preference to shop locally wins out here. Lee Vally Tools carries two foot square sheets in two different thicknesses for less than $10 each. The smaller size will lead to more waste but the price and lack of shipping means I can buy enough foam to work on one drawer at a time.
Fastcap is obsessed with the concept of Lean or Kaizen (the origin of the foam’s name), a Japanese term which means “continuous improvement.” It is a business strategy where every process and action is continuously refined. This ranges from having the proper tools within easy reach to eliminating all waste. This is something that I’ve instinctively tried to do any time I’ve performed a repetitive task. I make a little game of trying to be more efficient each time I perform the task. For example, sleeving a deck of magic cards I arrange all the sleeves so that I can pick it up with my left hand and open it, pick up the card with my right and slide it in. When I paint a mass of troops I’ll paint all the same parts at once and each time try to develop a pattern of brush strokes that is the most efficient possible.
I’ve learned from Fastcap’s videos that Lean is more than just refining a repetitive task. Instead it’s a general smoothing of all the rough edges. Annoyances should be analyzed and eliminated, the possibility of making mistakes should be identified and eliminated from the process. For me this means finding the parts of my work area which I don’t like or don’t work for me and fixing them. There’s a lot of room for improvement and I have some ideas for fixing my work area.
I took some quick measurements of the largest furniture within my work area and modeled them within Sketchup. This allowed me to experiment with moving my furniture without actually moving my furniture. I think on of my first projects in the spring/summer will be to re-arrange things as shown in the central layout. It uses all the furniture I already have but eliminates the wasted space in corner between my two desks. It also has the advantage of being cheap.
Later I will replace my tables with new workbenches, starting with the old workbench. These workbenches will give me more floor space and I will like the depth better. The Alex drawers are on wheels so I will be able to clear the area directly in front of my shelves to access whatever I put there, although whatever it is should be very infrequently used. I’d also love to put new lighting in centered over each work bench and pegboard or some sort of modular shelving on the wall behind the desks on the left wall.
As my budget allows I want to replace more storage with drawers with layered foam inserts to keep everything stable. The goal is to have first order retrievability on everything in my room. I have more than enough models and miniatures to keep me busy. Better spend money to make it easier to build and paint them than it would be to add to my backlog by buying more. That’s not even considering the Dungeon Saga or Heavy Gear Kickstarters which will start arriving in the summer.
How about you? Have you heard of Lean or Kaizen and have you ever thought of incorporating it into your hobby? Leave a comment to tweet me on Google+ or google me on Twitter. Don’t forget to subscribe to learn how well my future improvements turn out.