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How to Organize Tools – A Practical Not Pretty Approach

Are you constantly fishing through you tool box or tool bag for the right screw driver? Every screw driver you pull out is the wrong one. I will never be the kind of person that has all of their tools hung on the pegs in graduated sizes. You don’t have to have picture perfect tool storage. What matters is that you can find and use your tools.

I travel with my tools for work to hang drapes or assemble furniture. I needed a portable solution, and nothing too expensive. I also don’t have a work room or a large space to keep my tools. There are some great tool storage options if you have a large garage, but ours will barely fit the cars.

how to organize tools

If this sounds like your situation, follow these tips to organize your tools. I procrastinated doing this for a long time, but once I started it took me about an hour and $20.

Tip 1 – Empty the tool bag/box

Before you can organize your tools you need to know what you’ve got. Put all your tools out onto a table. I bet you’ll find you have too many of one thing. I had about ten Allen wrench kits and ten Phillips head screw drivers in different sizes.

tool box organization

Tip 2 – Sort like items into piles

Sort all of the screw drivers in a pile, all of the wrenches in a pile, all of the pliers in a pile, etc. Separate out the hardware. It seems like some hardware always finds its way into the tool bag/box. I had a random assortment of screws and nails in my tool box. Those don’t really belong in a tool box. See where I keep these below.

sort like tools together

Tip 3 – Let Go Of Duplicate tools

Tools are heavy and the last thing you need is to carry around multiples of something that you don’t need. Do you need a corded drill and a cordless drill? Probably not. Donate the extra tools you have. It also forces you to take better care of the ones you keep.

Tip 4 – Get a Bucket Organizer

I have a tool box and a tool bag. The problem is that all the tools are just piled in there and I can’t ever find the right one. I need to be able to see the tools but still travel with them.

Enter the bucket tool organizer. It checks all of the boxes. I can see the tools and take them with me easily. The one disadvantage is that the handle isn’t very comfortable, but I think I can solve that with a comfort grip accessory made for buckets.

The bucket caddy tool organizers come in so many different varieties. I got a pretty simple one, but it does the trick.

Tip 5 – Ignore the Photos

The photos of these products all show the tools face down. What! I can’t tell what these things are if I can only see the handles. I put mine in the bucket with the tops up. Fewer fit in each pouch, but I can see where the right Phillips Head screw driver is.

Do what works best for you even if it doesn’t look pretty. Tools are not artwork, they are useful.

Tip 6 – store hardware separately

I have a plastic suitcase that holds small things like picture hangers, screws, nails, picture wire, velcro, command strips, tape, etc. It’s light weight and allows me to separate things according to size and function.

hardware storage

We bought this thing to keep track of rubber bands, when rubber band bracelets were a thing. It turns out to be a great solution for hardware.

There are lots of ways to store tools, but what I found on Pinterest seemed very impractical for me. It’s like the pantry photos where you empty everything out and put it in a nice clear container. Who has time to do that? How do you store your tools?

Essential Tools Every Homeowner Needs

I decided to add this add this for anyone who is new to home ownership, or new to tools. I’m not a carpenter so I don’t make things, but I do use tools all the time for DIY projects and home maintenance.

These are the tools I couldn’t live without, and there aren’t that many.

  • A small and a large Phillips head screwdriver
  • A small and a large flat head screwdriver
  • Tape measures (you can’t have too many of these)
  • A hammer
  • An adjustable wrench
  • A level (although you can use your phone if you must)
  • A cordless drill
  • A cordless driver
  • Pliers, regular and needle nose
  • An Allen wrench set

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One Comment

  1. Great article. I sort of organized a year ago but could fine tune using your ideas. Thank you!

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