A good deal of shop work can involve planning and designing jobs. If you have not done so, outfit your workshop with plenty of paper, drawing tools, tape and planning aids, plus a desk lamp and a comfortable stool. Such creature comforts will help increase your enjoyment of home and workshop projects.
Shop injuries often can happen when something is difficult to remove and excess pressure is applied. When using heavy force, especially with tools like a screwdriver or a needle-nose pliers, think ahead to what will happen if the tool slips off. If it could hit a part of your body, search for an alternative removal method.
A hot glue gun can provide an alternative when labeling containers of small parts. Glue a sample of what's inside to either the top or sides and you will immediately know which container to grab. Whether you use the glue method, labels, or just write on the container, repeat it three times equally spaced around a can. For square containers, identify all four sides. That way you will know the contents regardless of which way the container sits on the shelf.
You can use several plastic 5-gal. buckets fitted with tough nylon tool holders to help organize your shop. When not being used they can be hung up neatly on screw hooks to the side of your workbench or inside a special cabinet. Using several buckets will allow you to organize in various ways, like inside work, outside work, plumbing work or electrical work.
Keeping large handled tools, such as sledge hammers- and axes-, hung up on a wall surface keeps them neat and handy. To hang, drill a hole crosswise in the handle an inch or so from the end so the head will be flat against the wall. Since the hole is near the end, it won't weaken the handle.
Accessories available can turn your plastic 5-gallon buckets into handy tool carriers. Another way to put them to use is for storing extension cords. Cut a hole near the bottom. Feed the female end just through the hole from the inside. Then coil the cord into the bucket for easy carrying. You can also put small project parts inside of recycled plastic peanut butter jars and store them in a bucket. The jars are easy to carry around, won't break, and let you easily see inside.
Save time searching for your tools by organizing your workshop. Use your wallspace for good visibility and easy access. Open shelving is great for storing heavy tools and organizing shop hardware. Drawers are a good place for smaller tools and especially sharp ones. Make sure your working surfaces are large and free of clutter.
Small cabinets with plastic drawers are easier to use if you mount them at eye level in your shop. That way items are easier to see without pulling out all of the drawers to get what you need.
If you have a small air compressor or other machine in your workshop that vibrates, you can dampen it by putting special foot pads of corrugated cardboard squares under each of the legs. Make the pads about 2 in. thick by gluing several squares together. Glue so the corrugation of one piece lies at right angles to that of the next square of cardboard.
When rounding out your workshop tools, consider adding two of the handiest tools used in shops of old-timers: a drawknife and a spokeshave. For the occasional job a drawknife can be used instead of the router for beveling work. It's fast and it can make fine cuts without any chatter marks. A spokeshave is like a plane with handles, making it easy to control the depth of cut for a perfect surface.