Tool Box Organization Tips
Organize It! – Phase 8 of 8
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Now that your Toolboxes, Power Tools, Racks, Ladder Hooks, Containers, Bins, and Drawers are all in place, it is time to put everything into it’s proper place. In this post: Tool Box Organization Tips, I will first teach how to best Organize your Tool Box. Then, we will continue on to Organize everything else in your two Bases, until all of your Tools, Accessories, Parts, & Supplies have all been placed in their proper spots.
Step 1 – Setting Up Your Main Toolbox
Organize your Main Tool Box in a manner that feels comfortable for you to access the Tools that you store there. Keep like types in separate Drawers, or separated with Drawer Dividers. Keep frequently used Tools in the Upper Drawers, and those used only occasionally in the Lower Drawers.
How you setup your Main Tool Box is obviously personal preference, and will ultimately depend on the size of your unit and the available Drawer space, as well as the amount of Tools that you have. I will explain how I have mine setup, just to give you an idea, but set yours in a way that works best for you.
I have a 10 Drawer Upper Box and a 3 Drawer Lower Box with an additional large Storage area below the 3 Drawers. The Upper Box is arranged with my 3/8” and 1/2” Ratchets and Sockets in the Top Section in a Removable Tray, along with other miscellaneous Tools, like a Flashlight, Pens and Pencils, etc.; all placed in the Permanent Side Trays.
I have a deep, but small Center Drawer where I keep my Stud Finder, a 25’ Tape Measure, and my Electrical Continuity Tester. The Center Drawer is flanked by 3 small Drawers on either side. On the left, top to bottom, I have: Chisels, Allen Wrenches, and small Combination and Line Wrenches. On the right, top to bottom, I have: a miscellaneous Drawer for odds & ends, Razor Blades, Chalk, and Paint Sticks in Drawer #2, and a variety of Putty Knives in Drawer #3.
Below those Drawers are 3 Full Width Drawers, containing, top to bottom: Screwdrivers of all different lengths and sizes, Pliers of all types, and the Bottom Drawer contains: Files, Speed Wrenches, Nut Drivers, and Metric Wrenches, each type is stored in individually Pocketed Vinyl Containers.
In my Bottom Box, the Top Drawer is split down the middle. On the left, I keep my Automotive Brake Repair Tools, and on the right, I have my 1/4” Ratchet and Socket Set, a variety Bit Set for my Cordless Drill and a few other miscellaneous Tools.
In the middle Drawer, I have an additional, variety Pliers Set, a Rivet Gun with assorted sizes of Rivets, a couple of Hand 1/4” Specialty Sets for tight places, a long Flexible Magnet, and a long Pickup Tool.
In the bottom Drawer, which is deeper than the other two, I keep a large Combination Wrench Set, some large Chisels, a Tool and Die Thread Chaser Set, and a few other miscellaneous Tools. In the Storage area at the very bottom, I have an Anvil, a Router, and a couple of Electric Sanders.
This gives you an idea of how you might set up your Main Tool Box, but again, you must do what works best for you.
Take most of the Hand Tools from your Primary Base Staging Area, and place them in either your Main Tool Box, or on to your Pegboard, using the appropriate Pegboard Hooks. Store some of your duplicate Tools, such as: Screwdrivers, Pliers, Hammers, etc., along with any other appropriate Tools on your Secondary Base Pegboard or in a Secondary Tool Box.
Your Portable Tool Boxes will be mainly used to carry Tools to your various work sites, so I would store these somewhere close to your Main Tool Box and Secondary Tool Box.
Step 2 – Setting Up Your Pegboard
Organize and Hang the appropriate Tools on the Pegboard in both of your Bases. Keep like Tools together; hang Long Handled Tools and those used less frequently near the top, and those that are used often near the bottom. Hang larger Tools first, and fit smaller Tools in between.
Organizing your Tools that will hang on your Pegboard is simple and is easily changeable. If you discover that one arrangement is not really working for you, you can simply move your Tools around until you are satisfied. Take the Tools and Supplies in both of your Staging Areas that you wish to hang on your Pegboard, and organize and hang them as you see fit. If you have purchased Variety Packs of Hooks, you will have a good assortment to get started. You can always purchase additional individual Hooks on an as needed basis in the future.
On your Pegboard, it is best to keep the Tools that you use often, closer to the bottom for easier access, and those that are used less often, or those that have Long Handles, like Rakes and some Shovels, can hang from the top. Keep similar use Tools near one another.
I have an entire 17’ wall in my Garage that has Pegboard on the top half of the wall. I keep Yard Tools on the left side, and Automotive Repair Tools on the right. I have some common use Tools in the center, closer to the bottom. This is where I keep some Hammers, Screwdrivers, Pliers, Tapes, etc.
Due to the way certain Tools are configured, you may find that you have some small spaces in-between some of your larger Tools that you have hung. You can hang a miscellaneous Tool here and there in these spaces. Do this, as needed, to give you the best use of space, while keeping enough space in-between Tools to allow easy removal and replacement, without knocking other Tools off of your Pegboard.
Tip: It is a good idea to keep an extra set of a few commonly used Tools such as Screwdrivers, Pliers, & Hammer in a Kitchen Drawer for those quick Projects like Hanging a Picture.
The piles in your Staging Areas should be getting smaller.
Step 3 – Fill Your Spare Lumber Racks and Hang Your Ladders
Store your Spare Lumber on your Racks, keeping like types together. Store longer Boards on the bottom and shorter ones on top. Hang your Ladders on your Ladder Hooks.
If you have Spare Lumber lying around, store it in your Spare Lumber Racks. Keep like boards together, with longer ones on the bottom and shorter ones on the top.
Hang your Ladders on the Ladder Hooks that you installed, keeping the longer Ladders in the back if hanging multiple Ladders on the same Hooks.
Step 4 – Setting Up Your Shelving
Store the appropriate items on your Shelving in both of your Bases. Store Paint and Stains in a temperature controlled environment.
Shelves are a good place to keep items like boxes of Screws easily organized, along with providing a space to place other items that would not be easily hung on your Pegboard. Arrange your Shelves as you see fit, but it is always a good idea to keep like use items near each other.
Step 5 – Filling Your Drawers and Bins
Store your Spare Parts and Supplies in your Drawers and Bins. Mark your Drawers and Bins with stickers, noting the type of items that are stored within each. Keep like types together.
Drawers and Bins are ideal for organizing all of your Spare Parts and Supplies. Store your items in separate Drawers and Bins, by type and usage, marking each of your Drawers and Bins with a sticker listing the type of items stored inside.
Your Paint Brushes and Rollers in one Drawer, your Sandpaper and Hand Sanders in another, and Spare Electrical and Plumbing Parts, each in their own separate Drawer or Bin.
Step 6 – Filling Your Multi-Compartment Fastener Containers
Sort and fill your Multi-Compartment Fastener Containers. Separate by size and type. If you have a lot of loose items, you can sort and store over time, but you should at least begin the process now. If appropriate, you can mark containers with stickers.
Finding a specific Screw or Washer in a Coffee Can full of odds and ends can be a time consuming, and often frustrating, process. Yet, sorting out your Buckets or Cans of loose: Screws, Nuts, Bolts, Washers, etc. can be extremely time consuming in itself, especially if you have a lot of items on hand.
If you are like I used to be, and have multiple Coffee Cans and a couple of 5-Gallon Buckets filled with a variety of Fasters and Spare parts, my advice is: ‘do a little at a time, but keep at it until it all gets done’. A half hour to a couple of hours several times a week will get the job done quickly over time.
If you have purchased Multi-Compartment Containers with Hinged Lids, use one container for Screws, another for Washers, another for Nuts and Bolts, another for loose Nails, etc. Further sort these items by size and type, keeping small Flathead Wood Screws separate from small Machine Screws, and Flat Washers separate from Lock Washers, etc. Place shorter Screws in one compartment, and longer Screws in another.
Taking the time to sort all of this out may seem time consuming at first, but it will save you tons of time, money, and frustration in the long run, along with reducing the amount of trips to the store to purchase an item that you are sure you already have, but can not seem to find.
When Finished, You Are ORGANIZED! Nice Job!
Now the Key is to Keep It That Way.
When each Project is finished, take the time to clean up. Clean and put all of your Tools away, and put the Spare Parts and leftover Fasteners where they belong. Staying Organized will give you a lot of pride and satisfaction, along with you looking forward to the next Project on your list.
Please take the time to leave a Comment or ask a Question in the Comments section below. Let me know how your Project went.