Friday, September 15, 2017

De Cluttering the Closet O' Lead

The Dumpster: the contents of a 20 foot long dumpster after a week's worth of throwing things out.

With the Heiress off to college and having lots of time on my hands, I thought that now was a good time to start decluttering the house and throwing things away. So I hired a 20-foot long dumpster and parked in my driveway for a week and filled it with things in the garage and basement that were either never used or not currently needed. I used the one year rule: if it hadn't been used over the past year, then I would throw it away.

Once this part of the project was finished, it was on to decluttering the dreaded Closet O' Lead, which was a disasterous mess.

The "Before" picture. It's almost embarrasing to show this.
As you can see, the room was a complete mess and it was getting difficult to find things. The righthand side was full of wargame armies in the long plastic bins, and lots of unpainted figures that I've collected over the past dozen years, and never used.

The lefthand side shelves hold my Minden and Fife & Drum inventory. The pile of bags on the floor are from a new shipment of castings from Griffin Moulds that need to be put away. The grey double box thingy is my indoor paint spraying booth (note the fan on the left side). I only use this on days that are too humid, so as not to get Fuzzy Primed Figures. The back table, now cleared, held my workbench, which was never used because it was too small and I didn't like working in a cave.

My plan was to put a new shipping and packing table inside the Closet O' Lead so that I could be closer to the figure inventory of Minden and Fife & Drum figures. I did a little measuring and found that I could put the 6-foot packing table in the room while still having space for the four other shelves that hold my painted figures and unpainted castings for project.

The problem is that one can't move the shelves with all of that lead weight, so I had to remove EVERYTHING from all four shelves. That was an exhausting chore in and of itself. I was reluctant to do it, but once I pitched into the work, it went fairly fast.

First I had to remove all of the boxes of figures from each shelf so that I could move them around.

Next, I started the assembly of the work table. I bought the 6-foot table from ULine and they delivered it this morning. I had ordered the attractive maple top and this weighed a ton. I had to put it on a hand cart and carry it around to the front door. At this point, it was a two-person job and so Mrs. Fritz helped me to pick of the table and nudge it through the front door and into the hallway. We slid the table on a rug, which was Mrs. Fritz's idea, and then let gravity do the work of taking the table top down to the basement.

The assembly of the legs was easy enough, but attaching the table top was a monster of a job. I had to turn the surfac upside down and then screw 16 wood screws into pre-drilled holes in the underside. I started with a large screw driver, but eventually each screw needed a wrench to finish the job. This was very tedious and difficult. However, after about four screws, I had the method down and the job became easier.

I bought a new shipping/packing table from ULine and began to assemble it. The maple top weighed a ton and nearly did me in trying to move it from the driveway to the basement.

With the table all assembled and upside down, I somehow had to turn it rightside up and shove it into its final place. Recall that the table top weighs a ton, add to that the weight of the legs and supports, and you can see that righting the work bench would require Olympic Weight Lifting prowess. I was able to turn the table onto its side, don't know where I got the strength for that, and then placed some shims (in this case, a couple of hammers) under the table edge. This gave me some leverage to lift the table onto its feet. Again, I don't know how I found the strength to do it, but I did.

Now it was just a matter of sliding the table into its place. I used the cardboard sheet that the table top was shipped in as a means of sliding the table around the floor. Take a look at the picture below - can you spot the problem?

The shipping table is now assembled an in place. Can you spot the problem with this picture?

Yep, the backside of the table was facing out and so I had to turn it around 180-degrees, a chore, but not too difficult.

I did a little more fine tuning position of the figure shelves and then began refilling the shelves with all of my figures.

Finally, everything was finished and I ended up with a very clean and useful storage and packing room in the Closet O' Lead. It was hard work, but well worth the effort. The work bench is really great because I can now store my shipping supplies underneath the table on a shelf. And because it is higher, I no longer have to bend over to pack figures or bag sub-component parts into finished goods bags.

The Closet O' Lead is now cleaned up and reorganized and I now have a nifty packing table right next to all of my figure inventory. The higher table (30-inches) is much easier to work on because I don't have to bend over to pack the figures.
Then to top things off, I place a framed poster of the uniforms of the Prussian army, post Seven Years War, atop the bench so as to fill up the cold looking concrete wall with something more cheerful and colorful.

After taking a couple hours of well deserved rest, I started clearing off the old packing table, outside of the Closet O' Lead, so that I could move my finished goods bagged inventory closer to the packing table. Now I can pick an order and carry it a few steps to the packing table and get the order packed and ready to ship. I feel sort of professional now.

Finished goods inventory bins.
But there is still more work to be done.

My Game Room
Some of the clutter in the game room is stuff that I removed from the Closet O' Lead and so it needs to be stored away in the garage, probably, now that I have lots of space in the reorganized garage. There is still a lot of clutter underneath the tables that I would like to deal with, but that is a job for later. I deserve the rest, I think. The tables have a game set up for Reichenbach, which I still need to play.


  1. Every little bit helps as they say, That new packing table looks like it might withstand Armageddon though. Very nice poster by the way. ;-)

    Best Regards,


  2. 20' dumpster... wow.

    As always, Love that games room!

  3. That is a job well done! Enjoy a rest now before tackling the next phase!

  4. 'Life laundry' - always worth the effort; All tidied up and organised (?); have a well earned rest


  5. Congratulations Jim.
    This has to be a big satisfaction.
    Bill P.

  6. Great set up Jim. It's good to have a clean up!
    Now, how long before you realise that there was something important in the dumpster after all!

    1. I'm already regretting pitching out the Connoisseur British Light Dragoons in Tarleton helmets.

  7. Marvelous job, Jim. Now I feel guilty ... my cave is a troll's lair! Cheers, Rohan.

  8. We're moving house, so I had to pack up my hobby room. Talk about a soul-draining exercise! However, in the end I'll have a larger and more organized hobby space in the new house. Good job on the re-org!

  9. Great stuff! Can't wait to see the cleaned wargames room... wargames rooms are SO nice when they are clean... even a bit of clutter really drags them down, which we sometimes don realize until AFTER we clean them up! Good luck!