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Care Force Tools Storage Project

For most of the service year, Team Care Force is constantly in event mode; we find ourselves creating documents for multiple events at the same time or traveling for multiple weeks back-to-back. It seems like we are always on the move. However, our winter schedule usually looks quite different. From December to March, the number of events we lead tends to drop, as outdoor physical service just isn’t quite as appealing when it’s cold out. This provides us with the opportunities to focus on capacity building projects while we anticipate our next wave of events. We spend more time on team building activities, developing skills in our coordinator roles, or volunteering in Boston.

In October, our team was tasked with revamping our tool storage. We had recently stopped using our off-site storage unit because we were given space within our office, and therefore had a large influx of tools that needed a new home in our building. Additionally, we wanted to create new systems for the inventorying and up-keeping of our tools and supplies. Our deadline for this project was February 14. Right off the bat, this sounded like a lot to tackle, especially since the guidelines were a bit ambiguous, but we were ready for the challenge. For the most part, this project was going to be completely our own.

We started by splitting up into teams based on supply location and taking inventory of everything. Our supplies were stored in three main locations: various cabinets and drawers in our office on the 3rd floor, large shelves in the basement hallway, and a section of a storage room in the basement that came to be known as the Cave. Over two days, Brittany and I took inventory of the Cave, where the landscaping tools and other supplies from the old off-site storage were being kept. Delaney and Ben took inventory of the basement shelves, and Molly, Johanny, and Nana inventoried the 3rd floor. After our inventory was completed, the next step was to figure out how to best organize everything. Brittany, Molly, and Johanny took lead on organizing the 3rd floor storage while Delaney and Nana organized the basement. This required moving tools between the two spaces, trying new ideas and often scrapping them; after about six weeks, everything finally found a home.

Various landscaping tools hang from two-pronged hooks against a brown wall.
Two-pronged “hooks” from Aramark Minneapolis that inspired my design.

In addition to reorganizing shelves and cabinets, our landscaping tools needed a better home, so they weren’t being piled into plastic tubs. During the Aramark Minneapolis event in September, we installed two-pronged “hooks” for a farm’s landscaping tools, which made storage extremely efficient. With this in mind, combined with a love for building and some experience in computer-aided design software, I took it upon myself to spearhead this particular task. After about six different iterations and receiving feedback from both team and staff, I completed a final design for a tool storage rack that could fit all our landscaping tools. Ben and I were able to construct the tool rack and organize our entire inventory of landscaping supplies on it. Surprisingly, this only took about two days to complete.

Various landscaping tools in a wooden storage rack. An orange wheelbarrow leans against the wall beside it.
The new Care Force storage rack for our landscaping tools.

On the 3rd floor, Brittany collaborated with Nana and our Deputy Director, Chris Farzner, to create a more efficient method to store our drills. In about a week, using a jigsaw and some plywood, they transformed an entire cabinet into a custom shelving unit. This drill cabinet and my tool rack are just two examples of the many solutions we came up with to streamline our inventory management and make it more efficient. We also created ways to help with overall organization. Molly printed and laminated a label for every item and teamed up with Brittany to organize all of our extra uniform pieces, Delaney created an updated master inventory list and a “Where Do I Store it?” document, and I made a series of maps and diagrams that will help people find where items are stored. Our team also came up with ways to make it easier for future Care Force teams to properly maintain and document the supplies and tools.

Open cabinet showing custom shelves for drills storage.
Updated storage solution for Care Force drills and saws.

While we’ve accomplished a lot already, there is still plenty more to be done to further improve our office storage systems. We are in the process of creating a system to replenish our disposable items, finding a better way to organize the rest of our cabinets and drawers, and creating designs to decorate one of our wooden storage structures. We look forward to sharing our future designs with you.

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