Use these clever, easy storage tips to keep all your tools organized in your garage, workshop and utility room.
By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine
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Mount tool apron pockets to a wall or door
Tool aprons keep tools handy
Tool aprons can be modified to store nearly any household item. Just sew a variety of pocket widths in the aprons, then mount the aprons by screwing a wood strip through the top of each and into a door. For hollow-core doors, use hollow anchor fasteners to hold the screws firmly to the door.
Storage pockets for skinny things
Cut PVC into short pieces and mount on pegboard
Short PVC pieces keep things organized
Saw off short pieces of 1-1/2-, 2- or 3-in. PVC plumbing pipe with 45-degree angles on one end. Screw them to a board to hold paintbrushes, pencils, stir sticks and just about any other narrow paraphernalia in your garage. Mount them by drilling a 1/4-in. hole in the angled end, and then drive a 1-5/8-in. drywall screw through the hole into the board.
Double-duty shelf brackets
Mount brackets and bend hooks to suit your tools
Use clothes hanger shelf brackets to store long tools
Shelf brackets designed to support clothes hanger rods aren’t just for closets. The rod-holding hook on these brackets comes in handy in the garage and workshop too. You can bend the hook to suit long tools or cords. Closet brackets cost about $3 each at home centers and hardware stores.
Cutlery tray tool chest
Cutlery organizers come in many sizes.
Use cutlery organizers to store tools neatly in drawers
Be honest! Somewhere you have a tool drawer bursting with a combination of screwdrivers, nail sets, tape rolls, utility knives, scissors, scrapers, measuring tapes, files and knives. And often you have to dump everything out to find one tool. Here is a solution. Fit a large cutlery tray in the drawer to organize the tools so you can see and grab the one you want in a second. The tray is easy to lift out and carry to a job, and if you use a metal mesh tray, dust can’t build up between the tools.
Electrical box toolholders
Junction boxes comes in different shapes and sizes.
Junction boxes hold a variety of tools and gear.
Junction boxes can hold a lot more than switches and wiring. Nail or screw them wherever you need handy holders for small stuff. They come in different sizes and shapes and cost 50¢ to $2 each.
Cannery row hardware storage
Screw wood clips to plywood and put cans to work.
Recycled cans make great hardware holders
Mount cans using homemade wood clips.
Notched wood clips hold cans securely
Don’t recycle those steel or aluminum cans quite yet. Set aside a few months’ worth of fruit and coffee cans and put these cannery rows to work organizing all of the small hardware in your shop. All you need are some homemade wood clips and a chunk of 3/4-in. plywood screwed to a wall. To make the clips, rip a 3/4-in.-thick board into 1-3/8-in.-wide strips. Saw or rout a 3/8-in. x 1/4-in. rabbet along one edge. Drill 1/8-in. screw holes every 3/4 in. and then cut off 3/4-in.-wide clips. To mount the clips and cans on the plywood, screw on a clip, notch end down, then set a can on the clip and screw on a second clip overlapping the can’s rim about 1/4 in. That’s it! Keep adding clips and cans until every screw, bolt, nail and nut has a can to call home. Label the cans, and keep one loaded with surplus clips and screws for adding on.
Overhead garage storage
Mount this simple PVC rack
Smooth PVC makes loading and unloading easy
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.
Use a clear water bottle with a pop-up lid.
Clear water bottle keeps screws clean.
If you keep screws in a coffee can, you’re probably used to the screw points pricking your fingers. The can also collects dust and dirt. Instead, buy a clear water bottle with a pop-up lid and pour the screws into the bottle with a funnel. The screws stay clean, and you can shake them out of the bottle one at a time.
Mount a tool belt on your ladder.
Ladder pouch keeps tools where you need them.
There’s no need to load up your tool belt when you’re working from a ladder. Any type of hook, pouch or pocket made for a tool belt works just as well when mounted on a ladder.