Your tools are an extension of you. Whether they represent your livelihood or your passion you want to treat them with the care and respect they deserve, and more importantly you want to be able to find the right tool when you need it. Whether you use your tools in a garage or a workshop here are five methods that might work for you and your circumstances when it comes to keeping your tools organized.
1. By job type.
There are certain tools that are almost always going to get used together. Keeping crimpers, strippers, multimeters, wire staples, and a voltage probe together so that they’re conveniently located for any electrical projects makes sense.
Similarly, keeping crescent wrenches, pipe wrenches, pipe dope, cleaning brushes, etc. in one place can mean the difference between a manageable plumbing project and one that feels completely out of control.
2. By workspace.
If you have multiple spaces in your garage, basement, or workshop where you typically work on projects, it may make sense for you to group your tools by where they’ll be used. On a larger scale, this is easy to visualize. After all, it makes little sense to store welding tools in your woodshop, or gardening tools in an attic.
Taken at a smaller level, this means keeping tools typically used at your workbench close to that space, whether that means in drawers underneath the work surface, on hooks or magnetic bars above it, or on shelves or in cabinets nearby. Tools that are typically used out in the driveway could be grouped together in a rolling cart or stored in a closet near the door for easy access.
3. By size.
Nails. Screws. Bolts. Washers. AAA batteries. Staples. Individual LEDs. What do they all have in common? They’re all small, and will rattle around making a mess if stored in a space intended for larger tools. A drawer separated out into multiple segments can be the best solution for tiny objects, while a closet might be the best option for storing the bulkiest tools.
Cabinets, open shelving, and wall hooks can all be good solutions for intermediate sizes. One benefit is that this makes it easy for others to find their way around your tool collection, because the general location is easily discerned at a glance.
4. By frequency of use.
In the kitchen, you keep everyday dishes close to hand, while fine china and silver stays packed away until a special occasion arises. The same goes for your tools. If you use your favorite screwdriver nearly every day (yes, we know you have a favorite screwdriver, don’t act like it’s not true), why spend time digging it out of a toolbox that’s stashed in the back of a cabinet or closet?
Keeping it on a magnetic strip where you can grab it easily makes more sense. This also works for seasonal tools: in the summertime, gardening gear can go near the door, while snow removal tools can be stored in a closet at the back of the garage. In the winter, you can switch these out, trading trowels and bags of topsoil for snow shovels and bags of sand or salt.
5. By user.
Not the only handy one in the family? If you’ve got multiple people with their own sets of tools in your household, it can make sense to sort them by owner. This puts an end to conversations that start with “Hey, have you seen my drill bits?” and end in a fight about something totally unrelated.
If you have kids at home, this is also a great way to start teaching them responsibility. Nothing makes an eight-year-old more eager to learn how to tune up their own bicycle than their own tools to do it with, and there’s no better way to get them to clean up afterwards than their own cubby or shelf to put them in.
The best organizational system is one that works for you.
Most folks will use a combination of several of these methods, assembled in a way that fits their lifestyle. Not sure what that looks like for your home? Get in touch for a no-obligation assessment of your organizational needs. Together, we can design a storage system that makes your life better every day.