Organize Tools

Organize tools to save time and to make working with tools more enjoyable. It also makes your projects, whether minor repairs or complex projects, hassle free. This way you are less likely to put off the projects that needs to be done and save money. You may also waste less money by not buying duplicates because you either cannot find a tool or are not sure if you have it.

To organize tools, start by gathering all the tools from around the house. 

Now sort them into categories like hand tools (tools that doesn't require batteries or electricity like screwdrivers, hammers, pliers etc.) and power tools (drill/driver, circular saw, jig saw etc.).  You can also make a separate category for seasonal tools.  For example, here in Minnesota, lawn and garden tools (pruning shears, loppers, rakes, shovels, chainsaws, hedge trimmers, pressure washer etc.) can be considered as seasonal tools. 

If the tools have accessories (like drill/driver bits, saw blades, sockets for the wrench etc.) keep them alongside the tools that they belong to.

Sell or donate tools that are in good condition but you no longer have use for or if you have duplicates of.  Discard the ones that are broken or damaged beyond repair.  Only keep the ones that you use especially when space is limited.

There are several different options and products to organize tools like tool cabinets, tool chests, tool boxes/bags/belts, peg boards, boxes, bins, drawer units etc. You can also reuse chest of drawers, kitchen cabinets and shelves to store tools and accessories.

Depending on the space, number of tools you own and how much money you like to invest, choose what best suits your needs.

A toolbox is a great option for your hand tools. They come in a variety of styles and materials (like plastic or metal) and are very economical. These boxes have leveled trays and different compartments to store tools and accessories making it easy to sort, store, see everything at a glance and quickly access what you need.

Another option is a tool bag. Like tool boxes, these bags have different pockets to hold tools and accessories. Here tools are usually stored vertically for quick and easy access.

Put the tools you use most often in the top/front compartments/pockets and those you use less often in the bottom/inside compartments or pockets of the tool box or bag.

If you only use your tools in the garage and don’t have to carry them from place to place, you can use a peg board and peg hooks to organize tools. Peg boards are very economical, space saving and  you'll be able to store all your tools out in the open where they are easy to see and access.

You can get shelves, trays and bins that can be hung on the peg board to store accessories. 

Use painters tape or paint the peg board different colors to create different sections. 

Designate sections for each type of tools like hammers, screwdrivers, wrenches, handsaws, scissors etc. Hang accessories in hooks, bins or trays next to the tools they belong to. 

Label each section with stickers or permanent markers so you know what goes where. 

Place the most frequently used items at eye level and others at the top and bottom of the peg board.  

Another option to organize tools that is similar to a peg board is a magnetic mat that hangs on the wall. Hand tools that don’t have holes to hang (like pliers, pruning shears, double open ended spanners) can be stuck to the mat.

A stationary but economical option to organize tools are plastic drawer units. Ones with several small drawers can be used to store accessories. Because these drawer units are usually made of clear plastic, you'll be able to see what's in each drawer or compartment without having to open it. They are also good to store hardware items  like screws, nails, washers, nuts, bolts etc.  

Assign drawers for tools, accessories and hardware and label them. 

Put a piece of styrofoam inside the drawer and press smaller items like diver bits into the foam to prevent them from rolling around or getting “lost” when opening and closing. You could also use plastic food storage bags or empty smaller jars (like baby food jars, yogurt containers, votive candle holders, egg cartons etc.) to sort and store small items inside the drawer. Line the drawers with non slip mats so that these containers don’t move around when you open and close the drawers.

If you have a lot of tools then it is good idea to invest in a heavy duty tool chest with multiple drawers, trays and compartments of different sizes to organize tools. 

Some power tools come with their own case. Otherwise they can be organized in big plastic containers used to store holiday decorations. They come in different sizes and colors, are stackable and are usually waterproof which will protect your power tools from damage especially if you are storing them on the garage floor. Label the contents using stickers or permanent marker for easy identification. Insert a piece of styrofoam to hold the tool in place inside the container. Also keep its accessories like extra blades or bits inside the container along with the tool (for safety, keep the blade/sharp side down and handles facing up). Keep sharper items (like saw blades and drill bits) in protective sleeves.

If you are storing more than one tool inside a container, put similar items (like saws together, drill/drivers together, painting tools together etc.) in the same container. 

You could also use a storage cabinet (wall mount or free standing) or a shelf to organize power tools. This is relatively inexpensive, but will require some handyman skills to install them. Put heavy power tools on shelves that are about waist heigh (not too high and not too low) for easy access as taking/putting back them from too low or too high could be a strain on your back.

You can also install hooks on to the studs to hang your power tools from. Just make sure the hooks are strong enough to support the weight of the tool.

Seasonal tools, even though they're often large, can be hung from the walls using heavy duty hooks or tool racks installed into the studs. Not only will this keep your seasonal tools organized and out of the way, but will also save space and keep them off the ground where they're more likely to get damaged.

You could also store them all in a tall bucket or special holders designed for them in a corner of the garage if you have limited wall space. 

When it comes to smaller gardening tools, you can either use a pegboard to hang them from or keep them all together in a bucket, garden tote with pockets to hold the tools or a container with handles (reuse a paint can). This will make it easy to grab and go when you need them. 

When storing seasonal tools that run on gas like lawn mover, snow thrower, leaf blower, chain saw etc., empty the gas and oil tank and clean it thoroughly at the end of the season. This basic maintenance could save you money in repair bills.

Store tools that are used on a regular basis around the house in a small tool box and keep it inside the house (like in the laundry room or craft room) for minor jobs.

Once you organize tools, maintaining the results of your hard work is essential. Return tools and accessories back to their designated location immediately after use.  Also, keeping your tools clean, dry and rust-free can prolong the life of your tools.

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