How to Organize All of Your Tools

Whether your tools live in your garage, a craft room, or a shed outdoors, organizing all of your tools and getting your workspace organized is going to save you a great deal of time.

Why?  

Because you won't be rooting around for the Philips Head, and you'll save money because you will no longer buy duplicates because you either cannot find a tool or are not sure if you even own it.

Tool organization is a lot like kitchen organization in that you have a lot of one-off items to sort and store. You need to find a good place for each of your tools to "live" and make sure they are easy to reach when you need them.

Follow this 5-step plan to declutter and then find the right home for every tool you own.

  • 01 of 05

    Commit to Organization

    A large selection of tools
    malerapaso/Getty Images

    The trick here is to commit to being “organized enough," meaning you have a good idea of what you have on hand, where things are stored, and the items you use most often are easily accessible from your workspace.

    There are two easy ways to accomplish this:

    • Organize your larger tools visually on a pegboard like this Wall Control Unit
    • And to organize the drawers closest to your workspace so that your smaller items are easier to find. 

    That's a good place to start, but first, you probably need to declutter and think about which storage options will work best for your space. 

  • 02 of 05

    Clean & Declutter

    A Schulte Freedomrail
    Schulte Freedomrail. Schulte

    Set a schedule to clear clutter and clean your work areas, either by event (“it’s a mess!”), or seasonally, monthly, or even better, weekly.

    The more often you do this, the less time it will take. Toss trash, and then recycle old instruction booklets, empty bottles of glue, lone nails and washers. If you’re not sure if you should hold onto something, then put it aside in a box for 30 days and then reassess its usefulness. Do you still need it?

    If you only use your work spaces and tools for special projects, then clean and organize these areas right before you begin working and then right after. This way you won't have to worry about walking into a big old mess when you just need to do an oil change on your car. 

  • 03 of 05

    Organize Items Logically

    A set of wall mounted garage shelves
    Wall Mount Garage Shelves. The Shelving Store

    Create a home for every item by choosing an appropriate storage space and ask the right questions. Should it hang on the wall? Is it better in a drawer?

    Does it make more sense on a shelf? Choose a layout that works for you, and use your prime real estate efficiently by placing your most-used items in the easiest-to-reach spots. These areas will be the waist-high drawers in your tool chest, the first level of your toolbox, and the center of your wall storage.

    Also, group like items with like items. Store paint brushes with staining brushes. Group nails with nails. Store wrenching tool with wrenching tools, etc. 

  • 04 of 05

    Choose the Right Storage

    Elfa garage utility shelving
    Elfa Garage Utility Shelving. The Container Store

    You don’t need to invest in fancy storage options; a chest of drawers, kitchen shelves with the doors removed, or a kitchen cart on wheels are excellent sources of storage for tools and materials. As long as it’s sturdy, fits what you need, and is easy to access, virtually any piece of storage furniture can be re-purposed for your workspace.

    A few good options:

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Create & Utilize Storage Spaces

    A rubbermaid fast track system
    Photo/Rubbermaid

    Create a space for the items you use occasionally, but not often, by dedicating a corner of the basement or attic as a home storage area. You don’t want your occasionally-used items crowding out the tools you use all the time--especially if you’re working in a tight spot, like the corner or a garage. Again, you want this space working the way you work, by keeping what you use most often front-and-center.