8 Ways to Store Tools

Tools hanging upside down.

Garages, workshops, and tool sheds can all get a little messy over time. If you are handy and like to putter away on projects you know how frustrating it can be to work in a disorganized area. Looking for tools can delay work and waste time. Get back on track with these creative ways to store hardware and tools in your workshop.

1. Label Old Containers

It’s easy to get a pocket full of random fasteners, especially in the sides of a tool belt, and it doesn’t help that drywall screws look a lot like flooring screws. Do yourself a favor and empty out belts and pockets and organize things like nails, screws, washers, nuts, and bolts after each job. You don’t need to buy a storage container as many household items will do the trick. Consider using mason jars and discarded plastic food containers for easy stowing or used coffee tins for larger items. Label the containers with a magic marker for quick and easy retrieval.

2. DIY Pegboards

A pegboard with tools on it.

You can organize almost anything with a pegboard and it’s especially useful to have one in the tool shed. A 4x2 foot board costs less than $40 but the mounting hardware sold separately that makes them so handy can be expensive. To cut down on costs, substitute the angled hooks with metal shower rings for hanging things like wrenches and washers. Strong zip ties will hold up the heads of hammers; golf tees stuck into the pegboard holes will support upside down screwdrivers; and wooden dowels glued into the holes will support small shelves or hold wires. You can easily make your own straight or angled metal hooks with a vice grip, an unwanted clothes hanger, and some wire cutters.

3. Organize Your Cables

You don’t have to be a handyman or woman to have a bunch of random bunched up cables and wires somewhere in your home. Organizing them is as easy as collecting the cardboard paper towel holders or toilet paper rolls that your home uses and placing them in a drawer or box with the holes facing up. Wrap your cords and cables nicely and use one roll per cable to keep them separated in an orderly fashion.

4. Magnetic Tool Holders

Tools hanging on a magnetic strip.

A lot of hand tools are made of metal so utilizing magnetic power makes sense. Consider installing a magnetic tool strip above any counter or work table space that wrenches, screwdrivers, drill bits, or even paint brushes can easily clasp onto. Look for deals online and make sure they can hold some weight (30 pounds per inch is sufficient). These are really easy to install and will make your hand tools ready and accessible.

5. Make a Charging Station

Another common problem with tool organization is being able to charge tools that run on batteries. Many drills, circular saws, and other power tools need charging throughout the day causing chargers and outlets to be strewn across the job site in an unruly manner. Take the time to dedicate a specific charging area with an old shelf or cabinet. You could custom build your own. Old shelves are often found on the side of the road on garbage day. Place the shelf close to an outlet and perhaps mount a power bar for more charging options. Drilling holes through the sides of a cabinet for cables to run through is a slick idea, as is placing Velcro at the bottom of the shelf and the chargers so they stick together.

6. Give Lawn Tools a Proper Home

Just when you thought you saw every DIY wooden pallet idea, someone comes up with a new way to use them. This time, simply bolt or screw the flat side of the pallet to a wall about a foot off the ground and place shovels, rakes, and other long-handled tools in the space between the wooden slats for a convenient and secure holding of lawn tools. Spruce them up with a coat of paint and use smaller sized pallets for any smaller hand tools.

7. PVC Pipe Holders

If you work with PVC and have odd bits and ends lying around make use of the material by cutting it into sections to hold screwdrivers, pencils, paint brushes, and other thin items. Use a chop saw to shorten them into 6-inch sections or longer depending on your particular storage needs. Cut them flat if you want to use them like a pencil holder on a table or use angle cuts if you want to attach them to a wall (so items won't fall out). You can use glue or drywall screws to keep them in place.

8. Re-purpose Old Kitchens

Kitchen cabinets used for storage.

If you’ve been thinking about a kitchen renovation, chances are your garage or workshop could benefit from a face-lift as well. Use the old kitchen cabinets if they are in decent shape and affix them to workshop walls for a free storage system. Otherwise, shop thrift stores and used furniture shops for deals on old cabinets that could have new life holding your tool boxes, saws, and hardware. Give them a custom coat of paint with a spray gun before putting them up or leave beat-up looking wood for a rustic, distressed look.

Don’t let the stress of mess stop you from being productive. It might feel daunting to clean out some space to work in, but making headway can help get you back to the projects you love.