Organizing DH's Tools

jen9August 21, 2006

Our garage is fairly organized with the exception of DH's tools, which are starting to spill out of his tool box onto the garage shelves, etc. Before this gets out of hand, I'd like to make it a project. He says just to buy him one of those metal tool chests from Sears, but is there something better? Options/thoughts/photos, etc. all welcome & appreciated.


Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mess with a guy's tools and you are messing with disaster!

He probably really has too many tools to fit his toolbox. Unless he has multiple tools of the same size, he just has a large wardrobe of tools.

When this happens, you have some choices:

  • Put pegboard on the walls to hang the ones that hang nicely.

  • Get a bigger toolbox with more drawers to store them in, usually in one of those big roll-around toolboxes (available many places for CHEAPER than Sears)

  • Get several smaller toolboxes and store them by function - I use this so I can grab the "plumbing" box or the "electrical" box. I also keep the sanders, sand paper, power saw, and saw blades in the same box because they are so often used together.

Sit down and talk with him to find out what will be most useful for him.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 2:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Okay... I am female and if someone messed with MY tools I'd be furious!

If he wants the Sears tool chest, get him one for Christmas. They are great.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 4:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Rest assured ...this is not some surreptitious project. He is on board with this & is, in fact, reading these responses to decide the best route to go. Thank you for your responses ...keep them coming.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 4:27PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I like shallow drawers for tools--one layer of tools, no more. I actually don't like those basic metal toolboxes, bcs stuff just ends up jumbled in the bottom. At least, not for tools you plan to use IN the main work/toolstorage area.

But I also like the "plumbing tool box" idea. I personally would happily have both--small "tool kits" for specific jobs--plumbing, and fixing hinges, and hanging pictures--EVEN if it meant having TWO or even three hammers, two sets of pliers, etc.

If it were *my* work area, I wouldn't do peg-board, mostly because then I wouldn't be able to reach my tools--my arms are WAY too short. Maybe if I had side walls on my work table but then stuff can't hang off the edge).

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 6:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a rolling tool chest that I really like: it has a separate, removable toolbox on the top and the remainder is a couple of drawers of varying depths that let me store things like my soldering iron/solder/flux, etc. -- things I don't need for the vast majority of home repairs/projects, but which would need storage even in the typical workbench. All of it sits on a pair of large-ish wheels, kind of like the luggage with the pull-out handle (which it also has). I don't remember who made it. It's heavy-duty plastic (if it's good enough for Corvettes, it's good enough for me) and I've had it for years.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 10:15AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ooohhh! This is timely!
I have the same problem with my tools - they're all over the house. But a tool chest is not enough, I've got a lot of power tools - couple of circular saws, table saw, miter saw, saber saw, reciprocating saw, several drills, etc. They take up a lot of space, and I have a small house, no garage. Anyone have suggestions?

I am thinking of putting a large shed in the backyard, but I don't know if it's a good idea to put power tools in there, considering there's no humidity control.



    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 12:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have the smaller tools in the huge Sears tool chest. The larger things are in a locked cabinet. It has two doors that swing open and shelving inside.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 1:10PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's the problem with peg board or slat wall.
The tools may be neatly arranged on the wall and taking up less floor space but they are still out in the open. When you walk in to the garage you will still see tools everywhere, this time they will be on the wall instead of a pile.
If you use the tool cabinets however, they are out of sight and it won't look cluttered. The downside is those cabinets take up a lot of floor space. See if you can find some to stack on top of one another to use more vertical space even if a step stool is needed to reach items at the top (items that wouldn't be used as frequently as those placed lower down. and heavier items at the bottom)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 1:53PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's the problem with peg board or slat wall.
The tools may be neatly arranged on the wall and taking up less floor space but they are still out in the open. When you walk in to the garage you will still see tools everywhere, this time they will be on the wall instead of a pile.

And handy persons see all those tools and say ... OOOOOOOOOOOHHH!!! They aren't clutter, they are TOOLS!

Having all tools visible (but tidy) in a workspace is something I personally like. It makes gettting things done easier.

I worked in a lab whose designers decided against the standard banks of open shelving in favor of enclosed cabinets. It was a PITA, because we then had to label the cabinets instead of doing a visual scan. And you couldn't grab a 500ml and a 10ml beaker without opening two cabinets.

Same thing in garages: I'd rather walk over to a pegboard and grab the screwdriver than open cabinet, then grab the screwdriver.

Amy - Various plastic crates, stackable, can corral your stuff. Drills and bits in one, grinder and blades in another, eack kind of saw and its blades in others. then label the ends and stack. I try to put a suitable electric cord into each box, too.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 2:46PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We aren't even handy around the house and we have quite a few tools. DH likes the traditional toolbox, but for all of those other things I have been putting them on shelves in the garage. We have the plastic Rubbermaid type shelves and I have been grouping the tools in cat liter pans. They are shallow and I can actually see what is there. Items aren't falling to the bottom of a box and I can find what I need. Saws just sit on the top shelf. One shelf holds the things like the jig saw and small sledge hammers.

I have a dresser in my dining area which hold most of the common tools like hammers, screws and nails/screws in one drawer. I don't want to have to go out to the garage and rummage around when I only need to tighten a hinge.


    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 2:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Don't get me wrong...I don't think there's anything wrong with having stuff out in the open. It makes it more accessable for sure. So that stuff that is frequently used, goes on pegs or shelves and everything else can go in a tool cabinet. I suggested it as a comprimise to have a tide appearance for the OP while accommodating the storage needs of OP's DH. The DH seems willing to put stuff away after it's used so that's the only requirement.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 3:39PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Years ago we had a neighbor (Roy) with the cleanest, neatest garage. He used a combined system (boxes and pegboard). Each tool that was hanging on a pegboard was traced with permanent marker so that it was always re-hung on the same hook. I think I've even seen this tip in Family Handyman magazine. Roy's tools were hung in size order. This guy was anal -- but my DH was in awe.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lots of good ideas in this magazine

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 9:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


Thanks for the crate tip. I do have several empty crates that I could put my smaller items into.

I like the shelf idea, too. I have already implemented that, but not for tools, with the other stuff, all in bins, like a shelf for the electrical stuff (fishtape, wires, receptacles, electrical boxes) and plumbing (propane, flux, solder, connections), painting (brushes, rollers, caulk), wood stains, and tiling tools (though I can't fit my tile saw onto them). I think my problem is the big stuff that can't really fit anywhere. I don't seem to have the space for those.

I think it may be time to declutter my tools, though I'm still in the middle of a whole-house remodel. That's probably my biggest problem. (Sheets of drywall and concrete board take up a lot of space, too.)



    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 1:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

WQe used plastic see thru shoe boxes for DS's tools All screwdrivers in one pliers in another etc. And marked the outside with a black marker.
They all slide on a shelf uner the workbench.
Whatever you use make sure you label it someway.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 2:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Our tools are organized and located basically by what they are used for. Items used for the repair and upkeep of machinery are kept in a large storage shed - a good one that is watertight and *meant* to be used as a workshop. Tools that used in/for the house are kept in the laundry room (we don't have a basement). Small and tiny items are sorted into craft cabinets with transparent drawers -much easier to reach into one drawer for an S-hook or a woodscrew than to dig through a mixed collection of screws, bolts, etc. I think there are three of these cabinets -- but if you want an 0-ring for the hose, I can find it! He adapted a discarded file cabinet for larger items including the boxes of nails (which are stored in recycled plastic peanut butter jars), hammers, drill sets, and saws. One metal tool box holds all the plumbing necessities, and another holds all the wrench sets, pliers, and screwdrivers.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 8:22AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm not a fan of crates--they have holes in them, which means pokey things poke out, little things fall out, etc.

And the stuff in them gets dirty, and THEY get dirty and are hard to clean (crevices).

And if you stack them, you can't *slide* the middle one out; you ahve to unstack them all.

I don't have a garage either, so I keep my tools in rigid cases (the saber saw came w/ one, and I scrounged one for the drill--I used to keep the drill in its box, but after 18 years, the box was getting a bit soft).

And I have tool boxes, which I don't love but I can cope w/. Some other year I'll redo them, and switch to something else--drawers, probably. Or maybe smaller tool boxes.

I do have cardboard boxes labeled "hooks & picutre hanging," "shelf pegs," "gliders, feet & wobble wedges," "wires, electrical & phone." Maybe some others.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 10:25AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have a 3 car garage and my husband put a wall up between the two car section and the third stall. He wanted to keep the third stall for tools and other messy stuff, keeping the main garage neat and tidy. WELL . . . the tools and "stuff" in the third stall are just thrown in old dresser drawers and what a mess this whole side is. The two car side that is supposed to be neat and tidy is a mess as well. I just laugh every time (sometimes cry) I think of how he spent hours and hourse putting up this sheetrock wall and putting in a door and all for all this mess, not to mention that it's hard to open the car doors with both cars inside the garage on the two car side.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 10:44AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I use crates to corral things that aren't going to fall out - like all the sanders and sandpaper, or the power saw and its blades.

A printer paper box slides into a standard milk crate, seals the holes and keeps the pointy thinks where you need them.

I don't stack them, I slide them onto shelves just big enough for the crate.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 12:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

[I posted this on the Garage forum and can't figure out how to reduce the size of the picture. Sorry.] DH is a packrat when it comes to hardware. We share an 8' x 12' shed now and he has a walk-in closet in the house filled with office supplies and hardware. I'm tired of stepping over the lawn mower to get to my gardening tools. I've put together my ideas and DH's and this is the shed we want:

It'll about 16-18' long and 6' deep. It would have two bays, one 6-8' long with a wide (double?) door for lawn mower and bulky stuff. The other would be about 10' long with shelves on both ends and across the center with two doors, each opening into a 3' aisle with shelves on either side and pegboard on the end. [I hope this, with the attached drawing, will make some sense.] At one end of the shed there would be a covered area for my potting, etc. DH figures on having enough space between the storehouse and the cars for a workbench.

With pegboard and MANY feet of shelves, he should be able to sort nails, tools, and all and still leave me one wall of shelves.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 11:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I would love one of those large sears tool boxes.....the only way I would want the tool out in the open on the peg board type set up is if there was a lot of activity right there - like a wood shop or something.

    Bookmark   January 8, 2012 at 7:18PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Getting rid of part of an item- WWYD
Okay, here's the question: I have a larger, aluminum...
Organizing/de cluttering success (please share yours too!)
I cleaned out and organized the tool box! We live in...
Loved This Book!
I just (quickly!) read "The Life-Changing Magic...
Can I get rid of my wedding gown?
Hi everyone. We went to spend the weekend with my parents...
The ultimate organizer
Two words: WORKSHOP PEGBOARD !!!!!! :)
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™