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17 Ideas for Storing All Kinds of Tools

Having lots of tools is fun, but finding ways to store them is not. Here are 17 ingenious ways to keep your ever-growing tool collection in order.

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Bench-Top Tool Storage Tip

Bench-Top Tool Storage Tip

Here's a smart way to keep a vise or small bench-top tool right at your fingertips without cluttering your workbench: Build this slide-in base and mount the vise or tool on it so the entire unit can slide back in upside down and out of the way. Countersink holes into the underside of the base so you can recess the mounting nuts and washers.

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A Wrench Rack From the Clothes Closet

A Wrench Rack From the Clothes Closet

Are all your wrenches stuffed in a plastic bucket? Here's a better idea. Screw a tie/belt rack (available at discount stores) to a bare spot on the wall over your workbench and hang the wrenches—SAE and metric—where you can swiftly nab and put them away in an orderly fashion.

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Toolbox Liner

Toolbox Liner

Rubbery shelf liner works great in toolboxes, but there's a cheaper alternative. Cut a nonslip rug mat to fit any size drawer and keep tools from sliding around. For the ultimate in tool storage drawers, check out this handy tabletop cabinet.

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On-a-Roll Pegboard Doors

On-a-Roll Pegboard Doors

Maximize hand tool storage in a tool cabinet with this slick DIY project. 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. Find another pegboard shop storage solution here.
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Foam Ball Tool StorageFamily Handyman

Foam Ball Tool Storage

Here's a pointer on storing pointed tools for instant availability. Drill 5/8-in. holes through a few 4- or 5-in. foam craft balls (available at craft stores), and skewer and glue them along a 5/8-in. dia. dowel with construction adhesive. Screw together a 3/4-in. wood bracket, drilling a stopped 5/8-in.-diameter hole 1/2 in. deep in the bottom end and a 3/4-in. hole through the upper end. Screw the bracket at a convenient height, slide in the foam balls and load them with drill, router and spade bits; paint brushes; screwdrivers; Allen wrenches; awls; X-Acto knives; pencils and, well, you get the point.
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New Angle on Small Tool Storage

New Angle on Small Tool Storage

Find a bare spot on a wall or workbench and screw on a 2-ft. piece of 2-in.-wide, slotted angle iron available at home centers. It's the perfect hangout for screwdrivers, bits, safety glasses and sanding drums.

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Behind the Door Storage: Tool-Apron StorageFamily Handyman

Behind the Door Storage: Tool-Apron Storage

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.
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Storage Pockets for Skinny Things

Storage Pockets for Skinny Things

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 paint brushes, pencils, stir sticks and just about any other narrow paraphernalia in your shop. 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.
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Double-Duty Shelf Brackets

Double-Duty Shelf Brackets

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 are available at home centers and hardware stores. Small garage? Check out these amazing space-saving ideas.
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Cutlery Tray Tool Chest

Cutlery Tray Tool Chest

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.

One solution: Fit a large cutlery tray (about $3 at Walmart or Target) 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.

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Electrical Box ToolholdersFamily Handyman

Electrical Box Toolholders

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.

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Corner-on Pegboard Hooks

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.

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Pegboard Cubbyholes

Pegboard Cubbyholes

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. Build this compact pegboard storage container in an afternoon.
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Tidier Tool Trays

Tidier Tool Trays

A piece of short-pile carpet in the bottom of each tray in your tool chest will keep tools from shifting and knocking about. So the next time you open the tray, the tools will still be laid out nice and neat the way you left them. Another benefit: less noise.

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Circular Saw LuggageFamily Handyman

Circular Saw Luggage

An old bowling ball bag makes a great portable home for your circular saw. The saw easily slides in and out of the zippered opening, so there's no more coaxing it into that molded plastic case and fumbling with those stubborn plastic snaps. And there's plenty of room for spare blades, a rip guide and the blade-changing wrench. So, if you're spending more time building frames than bowling them, nab a secondhand bag for a couple of bucks at a yard sale or secondhand store.

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Cordless Drill Hangout

Cordless Drill Hangout

Here's a high and mighty way to prevent cordless drills from toppling off your workbench. Screw large vinyl-covered hooks (available for about $2 at hardware stores and home centers) to a convenient spot on a wall or exposed stud and hang up those drills for safekeeping and easy access.

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Panpipe Tool Storage

Panpipe Tool Storage

While this tool storage device may look like a variation on the Pan flute of Greek mythology, it's actually a great place to store tools that easily get lost—like chisels, files, pencils, scroll saw blades and hobby knives. For the fatter tools, use PVC cement to join short pieces of 1-1/4-in. PVC pipe side to side into a panpipe design, then add pieces of 1/2-in.pipe along the front of the flute for skinnier tools. Build a simple case around the pipes to create a floor and a back for hanging on a shop wall.