March 30, 1995

A Little Bit Of Planning Can Save A Lot Of Headaches

Nick Harder Orange County Register
 

One of the best ways to increase your chances of completing any project around the home successfully is to do a little planning.

Wait a minute. I know what you’re thinking. This is another “Plan Your Project Properly” lecture. How boring can you get?

Well, you’re wrong. Take it from someone who doesn’t sit down and outline or list the steps for a project. It is possible to create a miniplan without a complex list of steps. You will, however, probably benefit from a list of materials.

With just a few moments of planning, a few minutes of getting your materials and tools ready, you can save yourself a lot of time and frustration.

Here are a few suggestions to get you going in that direction:

Estimate material needs

How many times have you had to stop in the middle of a project and go to a home center or hardware store to get something you forgot? You’re in good company. Take a look around the next time you’re in such a store, particularly on a weekend. Chances are you’ll see many in the same fix.

Just once, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to do a project without having to hit the store in the middle of it? Who says you can’t? All it takes is a list of materials. (OK, this isn’t going to work all the time. But it should cut down on most or some of those frustrating midproject trips.)

Clear a space

If you’re like most people, your workbench or worktable often is cluttered. Put tools and materials you won’t need back in their spaces and clean the area.

Often, just deciding how much space you’ll need to clear is one of the first considerations. If you have materials for your project that will take up significant room, plan to give yourself extra space - beyond the space those materials will need - so you can maneuver them and use tools.

Decide on tools

This sounds a bit simplistic, but things work better if you decide at the start what tools you’re going to need. This doesn’t mean you’ll have to have all the tools you’re going to need out at once. But deciding which tools you’ll need allows you to create space for those electrical cords, decide where you’ll use clamps if necessary and make other decisions.

For instance, you might need more than one electrical tool for the project, but it will have to be used in conjunction with other electrical tools. You don’t want electrical cords running amok over your project, but you don’t want to have to unplug one tool and plug in another constantly. Try an electrical service cord with space for three plugs. You can get that out ahead of time and plug it in.

Cleanup time

Whatever you do, plan time at the end of the project - even if you’re not able to finish - to clean tools and the area as much as possible. No outline or time chart needed - it’s just a step to keep in mind.

Allow more time for cleanup than you think you’ll need. You’ll be a lot

more inclined to continue with the project, repeat it or tackle something else if you don’t have to clean that work area before you use it again.


Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email