Keeping your lab organized isn’t always easy. When you or your fellow practitioner is in a rush tools end up getting scattered all over the lab. Disarray causes time to be wasted looking all over the place for tools, parts or worse glue spills as you search your workbench for missing parts. There are no guarantees that you will be able to get everyone to place stuff back to wear it belongs, but if you make it simple to put objects away at least you will have a fighting chance.
Peg Boards: Old school peg boards are still one of my favorite tricks to keeping things organized. Peg boards keep everything up and off the workbench, allowing the bench to be cleaned quickly and easily. Tracing out the tools profile onto the peg board makes it easy to return when you are done with it. Peg boards are also great for keeping track of inventory from socks to prosthetic adapters. The wide variety of peg board holders and hooks make setting things up easy.
Magnets: Magnetic strips and dishes make great additions to any lab. Magnetic strips can be placed in any tight spaced area. They are great over sewing machines so that you can quickly grab that pair of scissors or lighter that would always go missing. Near a riveting station makes a great place to hang your hammer and riveting tools.
Magnetic dishes have saved me from losing hard to find screws, pins, and springs. I keep mine on top of the anvil section of the vise.
Plastic Bins: Simple plastic storage bins are obvious, but effective. Small bins inside of cupboards or drawers makes it easy to separate a wide open space. Small part organizers (screw holders) are also obvious but also make it easy to store met pads, AFO joints, prosthetic pins and any other small party you might have. Labeling the bins makes the difference between a well-organized drawer and a cluttered mess.
Ceiling Hooks: Ceiling hooks and holders can make a great use of space. Hanging rolls of foam and brown paper up on the ceiling make them easy to get to and prevent them from becoming a mess.
Shelving: Placing simple shelves up in your lab can add a great deal of storage to your lab. We have a heavy duty shelve up over our oven to store our plastic and another over our sewing machine. When you start running out of room in your lab using vertical space is a great solution.
Hooks: Hooks are a great way to store brooms, safety glasses, and dust masks. I use command hooks for broom sticks to keep safety glasses next to our grinders. Having a couple command hooks around can help get things up off a bench or the floor.
Dry Erase Boards: Most of us already have one of these in our lab. They can be great for keeping track of jobs that need to be finished by a certain date to keeping track of items you need to order.
After intentionally keeping things organized for a couple of weeks, putting thing back where they belong will start to become a habit for most of us. Even if some of us aren’t able to put things back where they found them at least it will be easier to clean up after them.