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the current state of the flammables cabinet

i am interested in cleaning up the flammables cabinet, not least for my own selfish ends: i like to use the solvents stored in there, and have a hell of a time finding what i want to use and putting it back when i'm done.

i like coming up with and implementing organization schemes, and i especially like throwing away clutter that annoys me. i would be more than happy to do as much of this as i can on my own, but since it appears that no small part of the flammable things are owned by people, it seems like a good idea to get general approval (or, at least, no vehement disapproval) before making any moves on this.

open questions

before the cleanup starts, these should be answered. italicized bullets are my own commentary, and bold bullets are answers.

should we move the cabinet to the loading dock?

  • once the cabinet has been emptied, can this be done with just a pallet jack or something?
  • no

what criteria should be used to determine ownership?

  • anything with a name on it?
  • anything with a name on it that isn't obviously dried up / empty?

what criteria should be used to decide disposal?

  • anything strictly empty?
  • anything nearly empty or dried up or otherwise useless?

where do we properly dispose of things which it is has been determined should be thrown out?

  • the household chemical & computer recycling facility, on goose island
    • website says they accept "residential waste only". does ps1's stuff count?
    • a 15 minute, 4.5 mile drive from the shop
  • the government doesn't let me drive; beg a member to drive a rented home depot pickup?

how should the cabinet be organized?

  • containers of different sizes have different shelf height requirements
    • can the cabinet's shelves be adjusted?
      • yes
    • should the determination of which shelf to put a container on be one purely based on size?
      • should there also be thematic shelves?
        • there are currently supposed to be thematic shelves, but that appears to be mostly ignored
  • within a shelf, how should the containers be separated
    • by type? e.g. solvent, coating?
    • by use? e.g. wood finish, paint thinner, cleaning solvent?
    • by container appearance?
      • only mostly joking
  • should owned, nonpublic containers be separated from unowned, public ones?
    • should owned, nonpublic containers be allowed in the flammables cabinet?
    • how is the cabinet's current population distributed, between owned & unowned containers?
  • regardless of organization, the areas (whether they divide the cabinet up by container size, container contents, or both) should be clearly labeled (with something better than the current system of handwriting on painter's tape) and physically separate (movable dividers?)

how should the reorganization proceed?

  • does it need to be done in one go?
    • can we stick red-ticket containers somewhere else, e.g. on a table nearby for people to see?
    • stopping midway through would probably make the thing much less likely to be completed, so we should probably strive for one-go
    • on the other hand, attempting it in a single stage raises the risk of it being abandoned halfway through
  • under what area's purview does the cabinet fall?
  • the general area
    • how much participation do we need from the relevant host?
      • approval, obviously
      • get deputized ticketing privileges for the scope of the project?
  • should we first take an inventory, note red-ticketed items, post it to the group, wait a few weeks, and then go through with the actual cleanout / reorganization?
    • would run the risk of the inventory getting out of date, tho probably not severely
    • yes, the approach should be staged

tentative plan

how i intend to proceed

the approach will be staged, to break the work up into more manageable chunks

low-hanging fruit and initial inventory

the first stage will consist of the removal of containers, in the flammables cabinet, that are obviously not doing anyone any good: things that are empty or full of dried-up or expired stuff. the contents of the cabinet will be picked through and the stuff deemed worthy of immediate disposal will be thrown out, either into the trash or into a box or something (if there's stuff in it that needs to be disposed of in some special way), and everything else will be roughly inventoried. containers that need to be disposed of at the city chemical disposal facility will be taken over there. hopefully there'll be sufficiently few that i can stick the box on the back of my bike and ride it down; else,

the initial inventory will be taken by grouping things into large categories (e.g. paint, solvents, lubricants, &c); these categories will be photographed, with special care taken for containers that are clearly owned (e.g., they have someone's name on them). the contents of the inventory will be posted to the mailing list (& persisted on the wiki) and the containers will be replaced into the cabinet.

further work

work beyond the first stage depends entirely on the membership's response to the inventory: if there's disagreement, then it will have (regrettably) to stay in the uncleaned state; else, consensus will have to be reached as to how to proceed.