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What is this?

Project Renaissance is a project started in July 2015 to clean up and revitalize our makerspace.

In order to perform to our full potential as an organization, we must continually take part in a process of renewal and rebirth, accurately deciding how we value our time and resources, and throwing out that which is no longer worth keeping. This process is important for all people and organizations, but it is especially valuable for an organization like Red Mountain Makers where we come together to augment each other's capabilities.

The word accurately is bolded above because often people do not consider the negative effects of leaving around unused equipment and unfinished projects. Yes, in theory the electronics and computers we've accumulated could be used to do interesting things. However, judging by the amount of dust on them, they probably won't be.

A couple of cognitive biases at play here (among many others) are optimism bias and the tendency to consistently overestimate our capabilities, mainly in terms of available time.

Before you say "but we can do so much with this computer/equipment/broken appliance", try to realistically estimate the time it would take, the chances that the necessary steps will actually be taken, and consider the negative effects of allowing disorganized piles of unused equipment to accumulate, often in whole rooms. Here are a few:

  • The space occupied in this way cannot be used for anything else.
  • The lack of organization makes it hard to maneuver, hard to work, and hard to find what you are looking for.
  • It is demoralizing to existing members to see parts of the space in a state of disrepair.
  • A lack of organization and productive activity turns away potential new members. This has been directly confirmed with multiple people and is not merely apocryphal.


When it's time to clean up the space again, you'll know. Here are some steps you can take:

  • Get a group of like-minded people together. This will be much easier with help and a common mindset.
  • Post Notices of Imminent Disappearance on various unused/unusable scraps and equipment throughout the space. These notices are intended to address the worst offenders in terms of taking up large amounts of space with no obvious purpose or goal. Where possible, dispose of this equipment in ways that benefit RMM, like selling computers and other electronics to Recycle USA so they can be scrapped.
  • Post signs throughout the space reminding us all to clean up after our projects and keep things organized. If you see ways to put a tool in a spot and label it, or put a common type of supply in a bin and label it, please take the opportunity to make RMM better for all of us. Organizing our work areas and finding strategies that work for us will be a collaborative process. Having said that, there are probably examples of well-organized spaces that are easy to work in.


We need a triage system for the hack zones and other areas where things tend to accumulate. What approaches work here and what don't?