Catchy Slogans for Keeping Tables/Workspaces Clean?


Hi all,

I’ve been thinking about what we can do to help keep the bench and workspaces clear for folks. As per the policy:


A Worktable is a surface to be used only for projects being worked on right now. Tidy Space Committee members 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 Tidy Space Committee members. Worktables must never be used to store projects not being worked on right now.

I think a big part of that is setting expectations, so I’d like to get some vinyl stickers made with catchy slogans to that effect.

For example:


What suggestions do folks have?


"If you say ‘fuck it’
We have the right to chuck it!"

But in all seriousness, this is much more of a deep environment psychology issue that no amount of vinyl stickering will fix if the person using the area doesn’t feel like it applies to them, personally.

From my observations at VHS there are roughly 4 basic types of users

  1. Users who clean up their area, and the areas of others because they see mess and like things clean. Mostly frequent users and leadership. These people have a wide array of knowledge and enough spatial awareness to spot things that are out of place. They are familiar with multiple zones and tools and can recognize when a tool is misplaced from another area and also put it in its correct home.

  2. Users who use the space, tidy up the space they are using, but nothing else. They have knowledge of other areas, but if they didn’t do the mess, they don’t take responsibility for it. It could be laziness, or burnout from cleaning up after others with no reward or thanks.

  3. Users who want to clean up, but don’t understand our systems of organization, or are unfamiliar with more than just their area (Maybe an infrequent user who does electronics, and would like to help clean the woodworking mess, but doesn’t know anything about woodworking and is afraid of making a mistake / breaking something / making it worse etc)

  4. Users who see VHS as their own personal garage where fairies cleanup after you and will not clean up anything regardless. Yes, we have these people, I won’t name names. These users are a big problem and are the highest cause of frustration and burnout with the more helpful users.

People 4 will never clean up no matter how many stickers you place in front of them because internally, they don’t see themselves attached to the space or the mess they have created. hey literally don’t see it as their responsibility, or a thing that needs to be done. They only want to get their project worked on, and screw everyone else. The only way to get these people to help out is to harass them in-person and try to get them to put in their fair share.

EDIT: As well, people 4 can sometimes suffer from a sort of spatial-blindness, where they can look at an area and genuinely think “yeah, this is clean” because that is their normal, and they are used to mentally ignoring clutter and waste. They literally don’t see the mess and it passes them by.

People 3 can be worked on, and I sometimes count myself in them. If I see an item that I have zero familiarity with and there is no obvious place for it? I will put it down and leave it because I don’t have a solution. The solution to people 3 is education.

Not just doing more workshops and area tours, but creating areas where the organization system is Obvious, Intuitive and Easy.

Organization systems should:

Be obvious at a glance. If I am holding a handful of misc screws that need to be put back, I need the “screw section” to be understandable whether I know anything about woodworking or electronics or nothing at all.

They need to be intuitive. The screw containers should be labelled not just with their name “robertson screw” but with a diagram showing someone who does not understand screws that the square one goes here.

The need to be easy to access. If an item is used commonly, its access should be easy, and at appropriate height. If you place the screw containers high overhead, no one will bother to put them away except very tall people. Same with floor stuff, people won’t bother to look. Common items should be placed at waist-shoulder height and labelled such that they are not mistakable.

This is the only way you are going to have a clean space. Why is the craft table clean? Because my tools are very obvious and visual where they go. They have a home on the board, and there are labels showing how things go together.

Really the only people you are going to effect with a vinyl sticker are People 2, and maybe not even that much, because they already feel like they are “doing enough” by only cleaning up the things they use and nothing else.


I’m all for signs! They are a good reminder, especially for new folks who don’t realize we have no staff and are a do-ocracy. Sometimes for example, people think opening keyholders will clean the joint after open night. (wat?)




Something like this?



Though i will admit, that slogan off the top of my head does not address people who purposely leave things out hoping that someone else will clean them up / throw them out


“Your mother isn’t here, clean up after yourself!”


We had a member proclaim “VHS is not your mother”.

That said… We REALLY need to have the bench labeled again, together with the (correct) location labels on the shoeboxes, so that we can also/at least point people to benches where things belong.

We used to have an “overflow” tote for the tables. It was more crud collection, but it helped keeping the tables clear. Though, having a wut zone again, this could also be a bin/tote, would also be helpful.


VHS ain’t your daddy either. (insert you are the father meme here).

I made a sign.



We used to have an “overflow” tote for the tables. It was more crud collection, but it helped keeping the tables clear. Though, having a wut zone again, this could also be a bin/tote, would also be helpful.

I know it might get abused, I would appreciate a designated space for “I dont know what this is / where it goes, but I would like to help clear the tables”


The “wut zone” is exactly for this, a “what is this and where does this belong?!” zone


It would probably help to have a seriously anal organizing system, with everything labelled with a storage location


The labels on the benches and boxes definitely helped!


It would probably help to have a seriously anal organizing system, with everything labelled with a storage location


I can’t tell if this is a variant Look of Disapproval or something else. :thinking:


Sheer unbridled excitement.

Here is my Pinterest page of inspo for the wood shop


oh! We discussed it a few years ago, I started to go a little hogwild with the software architect brain so of course it went nowhere. Lemme see if I can dig up some notes.


We discussed QR codes on the machines, but does anyone even use QR these days?


I think most camera software on phones support it nowadays?


I mean like, I literally haven’t seen one out in the wild, even on a bus poster.