The Problem of Storage: Where To Put Your Tools and Accessories
Since the dawn of time mankind has struggled with one major problem when it comes to DIY and tool work: where do you put everything? Even if you only practice DIY to a moderate degree you’ll have no doubt come across the problem of where to put all your tools and bits and bots; in fact it’s not just tools but a facet of life that we probably have way too much these days and not enough space to put it. The problem is even worse when you live in a small home where space is at a premium, such as a flat or apartment
You may initially have just wanted to fix a few things around the house, but over the years you’ll find that you’ve gathered a tool shop’s worth of stuff. This includes screws, bolts, fasteners, drill heads, 1,000 different types of screwdrivers, that router you never use before, a tube of glue you accidentally left open and now it’s stuck to the drawer, and a million other random things you can’t even remember why you bought. It all needs to go somewhere, but unfortunately there isn’t some secret place that can hold an unlimited amount of nails. So, what do you do?
Organise! Organise! Organise!
The first thing you should do before you start thinking about storage is organise what you already have. It’s worth going over all the tools and accessories - including all those random bits and bobs that you’ve collected from who knows where over the years - with a fine tooth comb and deciding what you don’t need anymore. It’s not always the case that the more stuff you have the better, you need to decide if you really need some of the things you never use. You may think along the lines of “In three years I might suddenly need it!” but you could always go and buy some more if that’s the case. Just to try to keep your tool collection to a sustainable level, something that is going to be easy to keep organised and maintain.
Stick your tools in one particular zone, don’t have them lying around all over the house. My dad used the garage, but if you live in a smaller home without such luxuries then a cupboard can be used. In my new home I store my tools under the stairs.
If you’re using power tools quite a bit then you’ll probably have a stack of user manuals and warranties too. Keep these altogether in a folder or drawer so you can quickly find them whenever you need them.
Storage Containers Will Become Your Best Friends
The garage at my dad’s house used to be a bit of a mess. We didn’t use it to park the car so instead it was home to the washing machine, dryer, freezer and a massive assortment of the various tools and accessories my dad had owned for what seemed like decades. Eventually, after getting irritated countless times trying to find something in all the mess, he took a week out and set to work getting the space organised. By the end of the week we had a neat garage filled with storage containers and storage bins, with bigger tools hanging off hooks and a clean workbench for the first time in years. Each of them had neat labels printed on them, made with an inexpensive label maker, so that my dad knew exactly what was in each container so he didn’t have to pull them all out to find that random drill bit he wants.
There are a multitude of storage containers available of all different shapes and sizes. Versions with tiny drawers are perfect for keeping things like random screws and nuts in, while larger drawers can fit screwdrivers, hammers and other hand tools in neatly. You simply fill the drawer with a specific type of item, stick a label on the front explaining what’s in there and you never have to spend 2 hours searching again.
If you’d rather be able to see what’s in there a little better then containers with open access drawers (or storage bins) can help you grab what you want even quicker, often without even having to slide open the drawer.
Other Storage Options
Aside from drawer based plastic storage containers or storage bins, putting up some sturdy shelving can give you somewhere to place the bins (we attached them to the wall instead) amongst other boxes and assorted larger tools. You can also attach a pegboard to the wall, a board with small holes that allow you to hook whatever you fancy on there.
For those more valuable tools that you don’t want getting stolen a secure storage box will hide them away from site and give you piece of mind. Better yet, if you have the space you could always get a tall storage cabinet that can also be locked.
If you need a set of tools ready to go, such as taking to other locations, then you’ll probably already have a toolbox. It’s a good idea, as long as you can spare the cash, to get a set of tools specifically for the toolbox and always put them back in there once you’ve finished using them. Doing this means you won’t be searching around for the tools to put in your toolbox when you need to take it somewhere; you’ll have a ready set of tools instead and can go on your merry way.
I know that some people like to embrace the chaos of a workspace, but if you spend some time and a little money keeping things organised you’ll get far more work done as you won’t be wasting time trying to find the things you need
This article has been written by Ant Langston for and on behalf of www.Toolbox.co.uk – A great place to buy tool storage and power tools online.
Words by Ant Langston