Tidy Space Policy

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Non-policy Notes

Computer Disposal

Chicago Recycling & Waste Management accepts computers on Tuesdays, Thursday, and the first Saturday of every month.

Being Excellent

Please don't strip parts from things that might be useful. If you want to strip a thing, please make sure to properly dispose of the rest.

Tidy Space Policy

What is TidySpace?

The TidySpace policy is designed to make the “space” in “hackerspace” easier for everyone to use. It introduces a visual system of marking and tagging to indicate when something is out of place, and gives people tools to help keep things orderly. It relies on participation from every member, but is administered by area hosts and officers. It is, of course, to be executed alongside the Pumping Station: One Membership Agreement and the overarching rule: “be excellent to each other.”

Parking Permit

What it is

This green tag should be placed on any item, project or materials used for personal or group projects, which are too large to store in personal locker or shelf space. Items with a properly issued parking permit must not be left on a Worktable or in a Walkway. Permits expire after 30 days, or on the date selected by the issuer, whichever comes first.

Who can issue

Parking permits may be issued or renewed by any officer, director, or area host, but renewals can be overruled by a majority vote of the same. Permit renewals follow the same process as new permits. The individual responsible for the material should be notified immediately of the date of issue so they can honor the term of the permit.

What’s on the form

The tag includes a brief description of the material covered, the maximum square footage taken up by the material, the name and contact information of the individual responsible for the material, the date the permit expires and the name and signature of the issuer.

Parking Ticket

What it is

This red tag should be placed on any item, project or materials found in the space without an owner or any indication how long it will be there or who owns it, or if the material is obstructing a walkway, common work areas or work surfaces, or is otherwise stored in a manner that is dangerous to the material or individuals passing by.

Who can issue

Parking tickets may be issued by any officer, director, or area host.

What’s on the form

The tag includes space for a brief description of the material in question, instructions for the owner of the item, the name of the individual issuing the ticket, and the date of issue.

What happens to ticketed items

The ticket can be struck by the issue of a valid parking permit, or in the case of space property, proper labeling and storage. Ticketed material may be moved out of the way or placed in a Wut Zone, but must not be moved to Limbo until the 72 hours after the ticket is issued. The issuer, and/or area host, accepts the obligation to make a good-faith effort to contact the person responsible for the material (if known) to let them know their material should be retrieved or marked with a valid parking permit. If the owner is legitimately unavailable to take care of their materials within the 72 hours, the issuer and/or area host may make arrangements with the owner at their discretion.

Parking Request

What it is

This yellow tag should be placed on any item or group of items that looks like it might be in need of either a parking permit or parking ticket. These exist so that any member can flag items needing permits/tickets and bring them to the attention of area hosts. A web form will be created for notifying area hosts of parking requests. Requests for a parking ticket may be removed by the owner of the items if the items are moved into personal storage or removed from the space.

Who can issue

Requests can be issued by any member.

What’s on the form

The tag includes space for a brief description of the material in question, check boxes to indicate the nature of the request (ticket or permit), the name of the individual issuing the request, and the date of issue.


What it is

Limbo is a clearly marked and well lit set of shelves dedicated to almost-trash. Everything brought into limbo is marked with a date. Date marking apparatus is attached to the shelf. Anyone may remove anything from Limbo at any time. Area hosts will periodically clear out the oldest items. If an item is too big to fit in Limbo, it is subject to disassembly or ejection from the space. In this case, if the owner is known, they shall be given two weeks to arrange for removal of the item from the space.

What can be put in Limbo and who can put it there?

  • Area hosts: Items with valid parking tickets issued more than 72 hours in the past
  • Area hosts: Items that have been in the lost and found for more than a month
  • All members: Items you own

Limbo rules:

  • Do not bring items to PS:One specifically to put in Limbo. [note: we need a space for incoming donations and a digital form for offering donations]
  • Items in the Limbo MUST be dated so that old items can be cleaned out
  • If an item is of a known level of brokenness, label as such
  • Items must fit on the shelves. You can make room by (re)moving or disassembling other items
  • Anyone may remove anything from Limbo at any time
  • If you take something out of Limbo for personal use, it must be stored properly

Wut Zones

What what they are

Each hosted area has a Wut Zone, a marked space designated for items in need of a home. The area hosts will sort through these areas as often as they’re able, but other members can also help.

What to put in a Wut Zone

  • Things that probably belong somewhere nearby (have a look around first)
  • Things that aren’t obviously useful, but aren’t obviously trash
  • Things that bear no indication of where they belong

What happens to things in Wut Zones

Things found in Wut Zones will be sorted by anyone. If you encounter a populated Wut Zone, do this:

  • Put the item where it belongs (if you definitely know where it goes)
  • Designate a new home with a labeled bin, shelf, pegboard outline, or similar (let the area host know, chances are they’ll appreciate it)
  • Take item to lost and found
  • Only area hosts are allowed to
    • Issue parking tickets
    • Throw items away
    • Take items to Limbo

Lost and Found

Small personal items (cell phones, wallets, multitools, hats, etc.) should be placed in the Lost and Found.

  • Label found items with date and location found
  • Items must remain in Lost and Found for a minimum of one month before they are moved to Limbo
  • Try to inform the owner
  • Communicate privately if possible
  • Post to the list when the owner is unknown
  • Include "[found]" in the subject line

Area Hosts

Because the TidySpace policy relies heavily on area host intervention, it also requires that areas be visually well-defined, that area hosts are easy to contact, and that they’re able to recruit help and delegate administrative tasks as necessary.

Every square foot in the space falls under the purview of an area host. In each area, the following information should be clearly visible:

  • name of the area
  • name and contact information the area host

Area hosts may, at their discretion, recruit other members to help them manage parking requests, parking permits, parking tickets, Worktables, Walkways, and Wut Zones. Area helpers agree to communicate all administrative activities to the area hosts. Area hosts may revoke administrative permissions at any time, but should avoid this by selecting their helpers carefully.


A Worktable is a surface to be used only for projects being worked on right now. Area hosts designate Worktables in their area at their discretion. Worktables are marked either with spray paint (using a stencil like this one) or with other markings devised by the area host. Worktables must never be used to store projects not being worked on right now.


Walkways are specially marked areas which are kept free of obstructions so that individuals may pass through them unhindered. Area hosts designate walkways in their area at their discretion. Adherence to ADA width requirements* is strongly encouraged where possible.

Designating “walkways” is an excellent way for area hosts to keep floorspace clear and are recommended for areas around stationary tools, shelves, and anywhere else where obstructions are unacceptable.

Although some large projects may inevitably encroach on a walkway while they’re being worked on, this should be kept to an absolute minimum. Materials should never be left in a walkway.

Standing Projects

If you need to leave a project for a short time (less than 24 hours), you are expected to put a note on your project. If other members encounter your project while you're out, the note will communicate to other members how long the project has been there, how soon they can its owner will be back to take care of it, and how to contact its owner in case it needs to be moved. “Standing Project” forms will be available but other media may be used.

Standing projects should be tagged by their owner with the following

  • name & contact information
  • date & time the items are being left
  • justification (examples: "wet paint", "home depot run", "dinner")
  • when you intend to retrieve the items

Make sure your tag is visible, legible, and securely attached to your items. As a courtesy to others, and for the protection of your project, do not leave projects on a Worktable, in a Walkway, or anywhere it will be in other people's way. Projects left in people's way may be respectfully moved.

Standing projects with notes over 24 hours old are automatically subject to ticketing. Projects with notes past their stated time of retrieval are also subject to ticketing.

Moving Other People’s Projects

If you encounter what appears to be an abandoned project in a Walkway, Worktable or any place where it obstructs your activities, take a moment to assess the situation. The project’s owner might be somewhere in the building or outside. Try to find them. If they’ve left the building there should be a note nearby. After looking for a note and verifying that the person is not at the space, proceed while keeping the following in mind:

  • Respecting other people's property is, of course, part of Being Excellent.
  • If possible, carefully place the items in a container so that they don’t get scattered.
  • Put the project somewhere nearby, such as the nearest Wut Zone.
  • If items are drying, painstakingly arranged, or susceptible to damage from gentle touching, avoid moving them. If the owner is known, communicate with them.

You might feel frustrated when other people's projects are left in your way. That's understandable. But remember the rules. Be respectful and non-confrontational. Keep in mind that nobody's perfect, and that lapses in policy cannot be blamed solely on one individual. Use the opportunity to improve the space’s operation through communication.