How to Decide What Scrap Wood to Keep

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How to Decide What Scrap Wood to Keep

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How to Decide What Scrap Wood to Keep

Scrap wood can overtake your workshop making it feel crowded and disorganized. Here are some guidelines for deciding what cutoffs to keep and what to toss.

Scrap wood. It can be overwhelming. Should we keep it? Should we throw it away? If we throw it away we know we’ll need it! What should we do?! We often become paralyzed by indecision when it comes to scrap wood. Today we’ll explore “what to keep and what to toss” and develop some guidelines for dealing with scrap wood in our workshops.

How to Decide What Scrap Wood to Keep

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Originally published August 23, 2016

Raise your hand if you’ve ever looked around your workshop and felt overwhelmed by all of the scrap wood. This guy right here has both of his hands in the air and each hand is filled with pieces of scrap wood! Seriously though I have a love-hate relationship with scrap wood. I love to have it on hand for my DIY projects and I hate throwing it away!

And I’m not the only one struggling with scrap wood. Recently I received an email from Tony. His message read in part:

> I read your because I let google search for ‘Deciding What Wood To Keep.’ Any suggestions on how to decide what wood to keep? Thanks for any suggestions that you might have.”

How to Decide What Scrap Wood to Keep

Before I get to Tony’s question I love when you guys and leave comments on the posts. Your questions get me thinking and I love a challenge!

Throwing away scrap wood is a touchy subject for many DIYers. Why would anyone want to throw away scrap wood that could be used for another DIY project?

For me purging scrap wood is not just a choice but a necessity. My workshop is just too small to keep every cutoff. Lots of scrap wood hanging around my makes it feel cramped. Almost like the walls are closing in on me.

I hate to admit this but I’m guilty of letting piles of scrap wood accumulate on my , or any flat surface with some free space. This usually means I have to move the piles before I start building and that can be really frustrating!

Proper organization is one of the keys to making a small workshop feel bigger. Allowing scrap wood to pile up looks disorganized. And this disorganization makes my small workshop feel crowded.

How to Decide What Scrap Wood to Keep

I know what you’re thinking. You’re saying to yourself “Didn’t he just say proper organization is one of the keys to making a small workshop feel bigger? Why doesn’t he just create an area for scrap wood storage or build some cutoff storage?”

You’re absolutely right to think this and I have an area for scrap wood storage. But again, and I’m limited in the amount of space I can dedicate to wood storage. Having a small workshop is a constant balancing act.

Piles of scrap wood not only looks disorganized but can be a workshop hazard. If you’re like me and guilty of hoarding piles of scrap wood you already know what’s coming next. Constantly moving piles around means you’re guaranteed to drop those scraps on your feet or against your shins at least once. Or maybe you set the pile on the floor for “just for a minute” and a minute later you’re tripping over the pile. Piles of scrap wood are not only an organization issue but a safety issue.

By now you’re probably thinking I’m telling you to throw away all of your scrap wood. Not true! What we need are some guidelines so when we see a piece of scrap wood we can quickly identify what to keep, what to toss, where we’ll store what we’re keeping and how we’ll use the scrap wood we decide to keep. The quicker we can make decisions about our scrap wood, the quicker we can get back to building our DIY projects.

Before I received Tony’s question I had unwritten guidelines for dealing with scrap wood in my . In this post, I’m putting pen to paper, er, fingers to keys and sharing my guidelines for dealing with cutoffs.

How to Decide What Scrap Wood to Keep

How to Decide What Scrap Wood to Keep

These are my thoughts and guidelines on dealing with scrap wood in my . Please use your own judgment when dealing with scrap wood in your workshop. Only you know what cutoffs you’ll need and what you’ll use.

- Keep scrap wood that you’ll use based on the projects you typically build.

- Toss scrap wood that is warped, twisted, cracked or full of knots.

- Create a “spacers box” to use as shims to help with proper spacing.

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