The theory that I do have is that small jobs make for more chaos. I have been carving Christmas ornaments, and doing some small maintenance things recently and my shop is in total and utter chaos.
That is not a storage area, that is my power tool area. In making 2 1/2 inch Christmas ornaments I seem to use every tool in the shop. I have to re-saw the basswood so I use my table saw, band saw, jointer and planner. Trouble is I am processing wood in small, small lots so I drag the band saw out and run it for a minute, or square up the wood blocks and use the jointer and planner for a minute each. Knowing that I will be returning to do that again soon, the machines are left out and ready. (filling the floor space).
This is a sanding station on a rolling cart, usually it is out of the way against the wall. When carving I often step up to this cart and spend less than a minute on one of the machines, so it sits out too.
So here are my work benches with knives, chisels, patterns and half complete carvings. Oh yes, and sanding stuff and a couple of clamps that I needed for a quick repair. In the background is another small bench piled up with more stuff, including coffee cups and sunflower seeds.
When I build furniture I set up a production environment use one machine at a time, finish the task, clear away the tools and move to the next task. Much more efficient and less chaotic.
I am not making excuses, or blaming anyone, I am just showing the state that my shop can get to before I attack the chaos. I know that the chaos will return but I will fight it.
I posted this mostly to show that not everyone is super organized and that there are shops that gradually move toward total chaos, but can be saved from destruction. Tomorrow is a shop day. This evening I will turn on some music, brew a pot of tea and after an hour or so the place will be unrecognisable. I'll post the photos to prove it can be done.
Tomorrow, the mess will begin again.
P.S. a couple of years ago Eva and I were in Barcelona and I saw this carvers workshop and bench. I also the wonderful work that he produced for sale, so from chaos can come good stuff.