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Cheap Workshop Storage Solutions You Can DIY

Tame the clutter and work smarter with these ingenious (and inexpensive!) workshop DIY storage tips.

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Air Tool StationFamily Handyman

Air Tool Station

A 2-1/2-gallon bucket is all you need to cleverly store air tools and hoses on a wall right by the air compressor. Screw a 3/4-in. plywood shelf inside the bucket to create two storage areas, then attach the bucket to the wall with a couple of screws and washers. Load up the bucket with nailers, nails, tire pressure gauges and other accessories and coil the hose around it. This is one of our favorite clever storage ideas. Plus: How to find a small air compressor that's right for you.

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Sealed and StoredFamily Handyman

Sealed and Stored

Here's a slick shop storage tip to keep partially used caulk tubes well sealed and at hand in your workshop. Fold a piece of duct tape over the open tube to seal it, leaving a few inches of extra tape. Drive a nail through the tape and hang the tube on pegboard. Did you know it's recommended to caulk your toilet to the floor? Find out why here.

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String DispensersFamily Handyman

String Dispensers

Here's a great way to reuse empty CD/DVD containers. Drill a hole in the top for the string to slide through, then screw the lid under a shelf and snap on the string-loaded container. Pull down and snip off the desired length and never worry that your ball of string will roll away across the floor dragging its tail behind it!

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Drill HangoutFamily Handyman

Drill Hangout

Those big hooks that are often used to hang bikes also make slick drill hangers. Get them at any home center for a couple of bucks apiece. Take it up a notch and build this drill dock with plywood. Give this super-simple shop storage idea a try today.

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C-Clamp Paper Towel Rack

C-Clamp Paper Towel Rack

Have you ever seen such clever storage ideas? Create an instant DIY paper towel dispenser in your shop with two C-clamps. Position and clamp them a roll's width apart in a convenient spot, hold up the roll and push in the handles to hold it. Buy slick-looking C-clamps and install them in the kitchen, then fib to visitors about your chic designer hardware.

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Muffin Tin Hardware Bin

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.
Check out these other uncommon uses for common household items.

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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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Rotary-Bit Organizer

Rotary-Bit Organizer

This rotary-bit shop storage organizer may just inspire a renaissance of rotary tool use in your shop. Friction-fit a piece of 3/4-in. plastic foam in a snap-lid plastic food container. Then poke holes in the plastic foam with an awl to hold shafted bits, and slice crevices with a utility knife to hold cutoff discs. Using a spade bit at high speed, drill sockets for larger bits and tube-shape containers. Plus: Check out these 14 ways to use your rotary tool that will have people buzzing.

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Adjustable Bins

Adjustable Bins

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. Here's another seriously simple, space-saving storage solution for your workshop.

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Quick-Draw Hammers

Quick-Draw Hammers

This is probably one of the most cheap storage solutions you'll find! Here's an instant DIY rack for hammer storage in your shop. Drive 2-in. drywall screws into a board and tack it to a shop wall. Hook the hammers on the screws so it looks like they're ready to pull out a nail. The hammer claw's V-notch interlocks tightly with the screw threads so the hammer won't fall off, and the handle angles toward you for an easy grasp.

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Adjustable Drawer Partitions

Adjustable Drawer Partitions

You can restore order in messy workshop drawers with 1/4-in. plywood partitions and self-adhesive sponge tape weatherstrip (sold at home centers). These clever 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.

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Gutter Bins

Gutter Bins

Here are a couple of clever ways to use leftover gutter parts. Build small bins with the scrap gutter lengths, end caps and corner pieces. Mount the bins to a wall or workbench edge to hold parts and tools or serve as a dustbin. Or, screw downspout sections to a board and mount it on the wall to store wood dowels, bar stock and other long, thin items. Check out nine more uses for gutters that aren't on the roof.

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High-and-Dry PlywoodFamily Handyman

High-and-Dry Plywood

To keep plywood and other sheet goods off a damp garage floor, try this DIY wood storage solution: Cut some 2-in.-wide plywood scraps and screw them together to form T-blocks. If snow, slush or rain sneaks in on the car tires and gets the floor wet, the wood is safe and dry. Plus: What's the right plywood for your job? Find out here.

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Organized Hardware

Organized Hardware

In this drawer, movable partitions are held in place by strips of foam weather stripping at the front and back. The 44-plus boxes rest on edge, labels up, for easy grabbing and stowing. The labels are typed on a computer and printed on sticky label sheets. Think of never having to wonder where to find a 1-in. drywall screw or a 3/8-in. washer!

Shop for boxes at craft, tackle, office or dollar stores or online.

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Saw Blade Roost

Saw Blade Roost

Here's a double-duty DIY holder for storing and cleaning table saw and circular saw blades in your shop. It features a slotted dowel to keep stored blades spaced apart so the teeth stay sharp. Using a handsaw, cut notches spaced at 3/8-in. intervals halfway through a 5/8-in. dowel. Glue the dowel in a hole drilled in a 16 x 12-in. piece of 3/4-in. plywood. Frame the sides and lower edge of the plywood with 2-in. strips of plywood and add a lower facing piece to create a basin at the bottom. When a blade needs cleaning, remove the other blades and line the rack with tinfoil. Then mount the gunked-up blade on the dowel, spray one side with oven cleaner, and flip it over and spray the other side. Any drips go in the basin, and the sides minimize overspray. Let the cleaner work for an hour or so, then use a moistened kitchen scrub pad to scour the dissolved gunk and burned sawdust off the blade. Then throw away the foil and store your blades. Check out this genius blade storage idea from one of our readers.

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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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Tape and Glasses Hanger

Tape and Glasses Hanger

A 1/8-in.-thick strip of steel or aluminum fastened to a wall with 3/4-in.-thick spacers makes a great holder for tape measures, safety glasses and other stuff that doesn't hang easily on hooks. Learn how to turn your safety glasses into night vision goggles here.

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Pegboard ShelvesFamily Handyman

Pegboard Shelves

Here's a slick way to store a whole cluster of tools on pegboard with only two pegs. Cut some 2-1/2 in. wide mini shelves; drill holes or slots for router bits, screwdrivers, chisels and files; then drill a couple of 1/8-in. holes in the edges for the 1/8-in. diameter pegs. With a vise and pliers, bend the pegs to about 85 degrees and hammer them into the holes. Be sure the pegs fit tightly in the wood so the shelves can't fall off. Build this simple pegboard storage area in your workshop or garage.

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Table Saw Basket

Table Saw Basket

Here's a clever storage solution for keeping all your table saw paraphernalia— push sticks, miter fence, extra blades, wrenches—in easy reach and free of sawdust. Attach a plastic storage basket under one side of the saw table with four pieces of stout, vinyl-coated wire. Table saw designs vary, but most have predrilled holes in the wing edges, and you may be able to temporarily loosen a couple of bolts under the table, like we did, to twist the wire on and retighten the bolts to hold it. For best storage, add a plywood shelf or two, drilled out with a large spade bit so it won't collect dust. Attach the shelves with 3/4-in. machine screws through the plastic into the plywood.

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Tabletop Chisel StorageFamily Handyman

Tabletop Chisel Storage

Here's a neat tabletop chisel storage idea that's a snap to build from scrap boards. It angles the handles toward you for easy reach. Start with a 4-in.-wide board. Using your table saw, cut stopped slots to match the width and depth of each chisel (plus some wiggle room). Screw or glue on another board to create the pockets, then run the lower edge of the doubled board through a table saw with the blade set at 15 degrees. Now cut three triangular legs with 75-degree bottom corners and glue them to the pocket board. If you like, drill a few holes through the boards for pegboard hooks so the holder is easy to store on the wall.

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Flip-Through Storage RackFamily Handyman

Flip-Through Storage Rack

Unless you live in an art gallery, wall space is always at a premium. Build this book-like storage rack, and expand your wall space exponentially. Grabbing a tool is as easy as flipping through a magazine. Mount two parallel 2x4s on the wall spaced 24 in. apart. Cut the leaves from 3/4-in. plywood and hang them from the 2x4s with 3-in. door hinges. Fur out the hinges with 3/4-in. plywood blocks so the pages can pivot without binding. Mount the leaves at least 4 in. apart to allow room for them to fold back. Let your imagination run wild creating holders for your various tools. For you pegboard fans, sandwich a 1x3 frame between two pieces of pegboard. Now your collection of hooks and holders will work with this tool storage system. Check out these other simple storage solutions for small spaces.

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PVC Pipe Clamp Rack

PVC Pipe Clamp Rack

Are your pipe clamps missing in action right when you need them? Never again, thanks to this slick snap-in, snap-out storage rack, made from PVC pipe. For 1/2-in.-diameter iron pipe, use 3/4-in. PVC, and for 3/4-in.-diameter pipe use 1-in. PVC. To make the rack, cut 2-in. lengths of PVC, and with a hacksaw or band saw, slice them lengthwise about 3/16 in. past the diameter's center line. This creates the gripping action to firmly hold the heavy iron pipe. Drill and countersink two holes in each PVC piece, then space and screw them along a pair of 2-in.-wide boards. Attach the upper board to your shop wall and snap a pipe clamp in either end to position the lower board for screwing to the wall. Plus: 28 secret clamping tricks from woodworkers.