When you're out shopping, you might find elaborate hangers designed to hold specific toys and tools. These specialty hooks are neat, but you don't have to spend $10 or more just to hang a bike or garden tools. With a little ingenuity, you can hang just about anything on simple screw-in hooks that typically cost only a dollar or two. You can place hooks anywhere on your plywood wall. If you don't put them on the plywood, be sure to locate them at studs.
Double-Duty Shelf Brackets
Those plastic hooks that plumbers use to support pipes make convenient hangers for just about anything. They're strong, cheap and come in a range of sizes. Find them in the plumbing aisle at home centers and hardware stores.
Label cabinet drawers with pieces of plastic laminate and a permanent marker. Hot-glue the labels so they're easy to pull off to relabel another drawer.
Overhead Rag Roost
Make a little nest for your disposable paper rag box in the ceiling joists. Anytime you need a rag, just reach up and grab one.
Muffin Tin Hardware Bin
Work surface cluttered with miscellaneous nails, screws, hardware, whatever? Clean it up and still keep that stuff at your fingertips.
Attach a muffin tin under a shelf with a single 1/4-in. x 1-1/2-in. flat head machine screw. The tin pivots out from beneath work surfaces to organize and serve up any little doodad you frequently use. And you store all that little stuff without using up a single square inch of workspace. For best results when installing your muffin bins:
- Use muffin tins made from heavier gauge metal.
- Drill and countersink a 1/4-in. hole in the shelf top, so the top of the screw is flush with the shelf.
- Place 1/4-in. fender washers above and below the rim of the muffin tin.
- Tighten two nuts against each other on the underside so the threads won't loosen.
On-a-Roll Pegboard Doors
Maximize hand tool storage in a tool cabinet with this slick tip. The key to this project is a 4-ft.-long by-pass sliding door hardware set (about $15 at a home center).You mount 1/4-in. pegboard onto it, making sure to provide enough room (2 in.) to hang tools on the pegboard and still allow it to slide by the door in front. The trick is to insert 1/2-in. plywood spacers in the roller hardware as shown. You can use the floor bracket that comes with the slider hardware to maintain the same 2-in. clearance at the bottom of the cabinet. For door handles, simply drill a couple of 1-1/4-in. holes in the pegboard with a spade bit. Now pop in the pegs and hang up your tools.
Overhead Storage in the Garage
Stow bulky items overhead by cementing together a simple rack from 2-in. PVC pipes and fittings. Bolt the straight pipe to the ceiling joists to support heavy loads, and screw the angled pieces from the 'wye' connectors into the cross brace to stabilize the whole rack. The PVC's smooth surface makes for easy loading and unloading.
Painting Gear Hangout
Organize your paint brushes, scrapers, roller frames, rags and paint cans with this shelf made from two 1x8 boards screwed together and reinforced with metal shelf brackets. We built ours 38 in. long to fit three brackets of sliding spring grips that we mounted under the shelf for tool storage. Build and attach this shelf to a shop or basement wall, and you'll enforce orderly storage on all your far-flung painting paraphernalia.
Here's a tool storage technique for all those slender tools and shop accessories. Cut short lengths of PVC pipe (1-1/2- and 2-in.-diameter pipes work well for most items) and slide them over pegboard hooks. Then load them up with files, hacksaw blades, zip ties, pencils, stir sticks...you get the skinny.
Recycle Peanut Butter Jars
Plastic peanut butter jars work better for storage than glass baby food jars because they hold a lot more hardware and won't break into shards if you drop one. Attach the lids of 28-oz. jars under a shelf with two screws (so the lid can't spin when you loosen the jar) and screw on the loaded jar. For quick access, cut away half of a 64-oz. peanut butter jar with a sharp utility knife, leaving the neck intact, then attach the lid and jar to the side of a cabinet. If you load it with lemon drops, we won't tell.
Stay-Hooked Driver Bits
A few magnets stuck on a metal shelf support in a hardware or tool cabinet looks random—but in fact it's a truly ingenious way to store your assorted driver bits. They're always right there when you need them, and it's an easy way to keep all those bits magnetized.
When unpacking a new tarp, write its size in all four corners with a permanent marker. When you sort through your tarps, it's easy to find the right size without unfolding them all.
Hang your wheelbarrow on the garage wall to free up floor space. Center a 2-ft. 1x4 across two studs, 2 ft. above the floor. Tack it into place, then drive 3-in. screws through metal mending plates and the 1x4, into the studs. Leave about 3/4 in. of the plate sticking above the 1x4 to catch the rim. Rest the wheelbarrow on the 1x4 as shown, and mark the studs 1 in. above the wheelbarrow bucket. Drill pilot holes and screw ceiling hooks into the studs. Twist the hooks so they catch on the wheelbarrow lip and hold it in place.
Yard Tool Organizer
Create a simple long-handled tool hanger out of two 1x4s. On the first one, drill a series of 2-in. holes along the edge of the board. The trick is to center each hole about 1 in. from the edge. That leaves a 1-1/2-in. slot in the front that you can slip the handles through. Space the holes to accommodate whatever it is you're hanging. Screw that board to another 1x4 for the back and add 45-degree brackets to keep it from sagging. If you wish, pound nails into the vertical board to hang even more stuff. No more tripping over the shovels to get to the rakes!
Portable Storage for Free
Easy-Mount Mini Bins
Electrical junction boxes can hold a lot more than wiring. You can nail or screw them to just about anything anywhere. In the shop, they're great for those tools that can't hang on hooks—tape measures, markers, chisels, etc. Plastic boxes are inexpensive and come in various sizes and shapes.
Stacked Recycling Tower
Five plastic containers, six 2x2s and screws, and one hour's work are all it takes to put together this space-saving recycling storage rack. Our frame fits containers that have a top that measures 14-1/2 in. x 10 in. and are 15 in. tall. Our containers were made by Rubbermaid.
If you use different-size containers, adjust the distance between the uprights so the 2x2s will catch the lip of the container. Then adjust the spacing of the horizontal rungs for a snug fit when the container is angled as shown.
Start by cutting the 2x2s to length according to the illustration. Then mark the position of the rungs on the uprights. Drill two 5/32-in. holes through the uprights at each crosspiece position. Drill from the outside to the inside and angle the holes inward slightly to prevent the screws from breaking out the side of the rungs.
Drive 2-1/2-in. screws through the uprights into the rungs. Assemble the front and back frames. Then connect them with the side crosspieces. Want even more space in the garage? Check out these DIY garage storage tips.
PVC Storage Hangers
It's true—we love PVC pipe. Or let's say we appreciate the way it inspires and accommodates tool and hardware storage. Here's the latest PVC gem. Cut 2-in. pieces of 3-in. PVC and saw away a 2-in. section so it looks like Pac Man. (Remember Pac Man?) Drill screw holes and attach the hangers to studs or shop walls. Space pairs for convenient horizontal storage of longer tools such as levels and glue clamps, and use single segments for ropes, electrical cords or anything else that you want securely stored yet easily accessible. Try this tip and you'll learn never to be peeved by leftover PVC.
Nail down the hardware organization in your shop. Build these bin racks with removable partitions to suit the size of the hardware you're storing. For one rack, you'll need:
- One 3/8-in. x 24-in. x 7-1/8-in. plywood piece for the sides
- One 3/8-in. x 24-in. x 4-3/4-in. plywood piece for the floor
- Two 1/2-in. x 4-1/2-in. x 4-in. plywood pieces for the ends
- Five 1/8-in. x 4-1/2-in. x 4-3/8-in. hardboard partitions
On a table saw, cut 3/16-in.-deep slots every 4 in. across the 24-in. x 7-1/8-in. piece of plywood. Make the slots just wide enough for the 1/8-in.-thick partition to slide in smoothly. Now saw the slotted piece into strips 4-1/2 in. and 2-1/2 in. wide. Use 1-in. brads and glue (predrilling for the brads) to assemble the sides and angled ends, then nail and glue on the floor. Drop the angled partitions into the slots, mount the rack to a wall, and go nuts sorting and organizing your scattered hardware.
Adjustable Drawer Partitions
You can restore order in messy shop drawers with 1/4-in. plywood partitions and self-adhesive sponge tape weatherstrip (sold at home centers). These drawer dividers will organize your tools, tape and twine, and you can easily inch them sideways to accommodate larger items. For the strongest grip, use spongy 'closed cell' weatherstripping.
Apply weatherstripping to the sides of the drawers as shown, then cut the partitions long enough so they squish firmly into the rubber on both ends. A good rule of thumb is to make the partitions 1/4 in. longer than the inside measurement between the weatherstripping.
To install a partition, hold it at an angle to the front and back sides, then rotate it into position.
Elastic cords can quickly become a tangled mess. Find the one you need at a glance with this handy rack made from 3- or 4-in. PVC pipe. Just drill 1/2-in.-diameter holes in the pipe to match the slightly stretched lengths of your cords. Keep it in your trunk or shop, out of the reach of children.
Corner-on Pegboard Hooks
Ever had a plane, level or square get dinged up after falling off the pegboard? Never again. Bend an 8-in.-long pegboard holder into a corner shape by holding it in a vise and pounding it with a hammer to make the series of right angles. Make one corner to hold the left side of the tool and another to hold the right. Now just hold the tool up to the pegboard and insert the corner peg so it clasps the tool's corner.
Purchase a large spring clip (about $3) from an office supply store and screw it to the wall. Clip notepads or gloves to the clamp and they'll always be hanging around when needed.
Hijacked Tackle Box
When the fishing urge stops biting, put that old tackle box to use as a portable hardware and tool tote. Load the nifty fold-out compartments with screws, nails, bolts, tape, electrical connectors—what have you. Stash your pliers, screwdriver, wrenches, hammer, tape measure and other frequently used tools on the bottom level. When chores and repairs start nibbling at your conscience, you'll have the right tackle handy for the job.
Pie Plate Storage Pockets
Screw cut-in-half pie tins and heavy-duty paper plates to a shop wall and you've got space-saving storage for the sanding discs, circular saw blades and abrasive discs that like to hide in a drawer. Be sure to tape the sharp edges on the cut pie plates to protect your fingers!
Spring Clamp Roost
Keep your spring clamps springy for a lifetime! Store them on a metal towel rod (about $3 at a home center) so the springs aren't tensed or stressed (or stepped on!). With the towel rod roost, you'll always know where to find these useful clamps in the heat of production.
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