Tools are the lifeblood of any dedicated DIYer. However, the more projects you take on, the more tools you seem to accumulate. This is a good thing in that these tools enhance your capabilities. Having said that, it can be easy for your tool box or tool cart to get messy after a while. This can keep you from getting to your actual projects because you can’t find the right tools.
It is certainly worth the time and effort to properly organize your tools. This process does not even need to take that long if you follow one of the well-established methods of organizing tools. There are several popular ways to organize tools, many of which are laid out in the article below. Read on to learn more about efficiently organizing your tools.
Table of Contents
- Take Everything Out Before Sorting
- Sorting Tool Types
- Organize Drawers Based on What You Use Most Frequently
- Top to Bottom Tool Box Organization
- Use Foam Organizers Molded to Your Tools
- Wall-Mounted Organization Options
- Make Labels for All Drawers
- The Time Spent is Well Worth It
Take Everything Out Before Sorting
The first step to organizing a tool box is, of course, taking out everything. This might take a few minutes, depending on the size of your tool box, the amount of stuff you have in it, and how messy the tool box is. Even if your tool box is very messy, you should try to take everything out in an organized way. This will save you a great deal of time on the next step, which is sorting your tools. You can actually start to sort the tools while taking everything out. For example, put all screwdrivers together, make a pile of wrenches, and separate washers and bolts. You don’t have to worry about sorting everything thoroughly just yet.
Sorting Tool Types
No matter how you end up organizing your tools, you must sort them first. This may actually end up being the most time-consuming part of the process, but it is also one of the most vital steps. Thankfully, this step is fairly simple. You should start by organizing all tools according to their specific type. It’s important to be specific at this point in the process to ensure that you organize your tools as efficiently as possible.
For example, you should start out by putting all screwdrivers together if you did not already do this when taking everything out of your tool box. However, you shouldn’t stop there. You should further organize your screwdrivers into Philips and flat-head groups. This same process should be followed for other tools. Wrenches, for example, should be organized into Allen, socket, adjustable spanner, etc. You should also separate small bits like bolts and washers if you have them in your tool box, (which most DIYers do).
Organize Drawers Based on What You Use Most Frequently
This is one of the most common and effective ways of organizing a mechanic tool box. The immediate impulse that most people have when organizing their tool box based on what they most often use is to start with the upper drawers. However, it is best to start with the bottom part of the tool box. Many people like to put their nuts, bolts, screws, etc. in this part. It’s a good idea to put all of these bits into separate and clearly labeled Ziploc bags. Otherwise, everything in the bottom of your portable rolling tool box will be jumbled up. Next, put the tools that you hardly use in the bottom drawer.
Once you’ve finished doing this, fill up the tool box’s middle drawers with the tools you use on occasion. Lastly, put the tools that you use regularly in the top drawers.
Top to Bottom Tool Box Organization
While this method may sound quite similar to the previous method, the idea behind it is quite different. Top to bottom tool box organization is based more on the size and weight of the tools than on how often you use them.
You should put the lightest and smallest tools in the upper drawers. Some people actually like to put nuts and bolts in the upper drawers. However, it is common practice to put this stuff in the bottom space despite its light weight and small size. Whether you want to do things differently is up to you; it’s really a matter of personal preference.
Most people like to put their screwdrivers and wrenches in the middle drawers. If you have a large set of screwdrivers and wrenches, you may want to put the smaller ones in the top drawers and the bigger ones in the middle drawers. However, it’s usually easier to keep a set of screwdrivers or wrenches in one place.
The lower drawers, as you no doubt have figured out, are for storing the largest and heaviest tools. These tools often include hammers, mallets, and more. Depending on what sort of DIY projects you usually take on, you may even have large tools such as crowbars or bolt cutters in this part of your truck tool box.
Use Foam Organizers Molded to Your Tools
One of the newer and more innovative ways to organize your tools is to create molded foam organizers. There are two significant benefits of molded foam tool organizers. First, they allow you to easily see which tool is missing by simply looking at the empty bit of foam. Second, the foam will protect your tools to keep them from banging into each other when you are opening or closing your tool box, much in the same way of a tool box drawer liner.
Designing the Layout & Getting the Foam Boards
The first step to creating a foam tool organizer is to design a layout. This allows you to create the most efficient and sensible layout of tools before you actually start cutting the foam. Once you’ve created a layout, you need to pick the right foam board. Thankfully, many manufacturers make foam boards just for this purpose. These foam boards can easily be found at local hardware stores. Obviously, you need to ensure the foam board matches the size of your tool box’s drawers.
Cutting The Foam
Trace the outlines of each tool according to the layout that you created earlier. You may want to use a permanent marker to do this. Next, get a utility knife and cut the foam using the outlines you’ve just traced. You want each tool to fit snugly, so it’s a good idea to follow the outlines very carefully. When you’ve cut the outlines for each drawer, you should also cut holes around the handle of each tool so that you can pick it up more easily. This can be difficult to do with a utility knife. Instead, you may want to use a large hole punch that is designed for punching through leather.
Wall-Mounted Organization Options
While most DIYers use a portable tool box for organizing their tools, some use a wall-mounted system. A wall-mounted system can be easier to check visually. Also, you won’t have to bend down to reach the lower drawers of your tool box if you are using a wall-mounted system. Many people actually like to utilize a hybrid system that includes both their tool box and a wall mount. The people who use a hybrid system often hang up their heaviest tools and put the rest of the tools in their tool box.
There are three main ways that people will create a wall-mounted tool system. The most common way is to make a tool pegboard. Some people make a wall panel with mounted containers instead. Also, some people will hang their tools on wall strips.
Create a Tool Pegboard
Tool pegboards are easy to create and the materials are cheap. All you need is a pegboard and hooks. Of course, you will also need some nails to mount the pegboard. Simply create a layout and draw the layout onto the pegboard. Next, install the hooks at the top of the tool shapes you’ve drawn. At this point, all you have to do is hang up the pegboard and hang your tools.
Create a Wall Panel With Mounted Containers
The alternative way to create a wall-mounted tool system is to create a wall panel with mounted containers. This is a little more involved than setting up a pegboard, but it is still a relatively simple process.
First, you need to install a wooden wall panel like you may be able to find in hardware shops. Next, you need to determine how many plastic tool boxes, containers, and wire baskets you need, as well as the size of the containers. Once you have obtained the correct containers, place them on the wall in a predefined order. Many people like to put the containers with their most-used tools close to their workbench for easier access. Mounted containers offer one unique benefit over hanging tools on your walls, which is greater security. Tools are much more likely to fall off of hooks on a pegboard than they are to fall out of mounted containers.
Install Wall Strips
Another alternative way to hang tools is with wall strips. This option is often used by people who have a hybrid wall-mounted and tool box system in place. They can be installed by simply nailing them to the wall of your workspace. You can use the same hooks for a wall strip setup that you would use for a pegboard. Of course, you will not be able to fit as many hooks on a wall strip. People who do have both wall strips and tool boxes often put the tools that they use the most on the wall strip, where they are easily accessible and visible. The rest of their tools are packed away in the tool box.
Make Labels for All Drawers
The last step to organizing any tool box, wherther it’s a triangle tool box or made from wood is making labels for the drawers. Some people will just label the drawers with a permanent marker. However, there are two problems with this. First, you may end up changing the layout of your tool box. Even if you don’t, the permanent marker may rub off in time. It’s easier to write on masking tape instead of writing directly on the tool box. The labels will be semi-permanent, but they can easily be taken off and replaced.
The Time Spent is Well Worth It
While it may take a little while to go through this process, the time spent is well worth it. Simply think of all the time that you’ve spent rooting around in your tool box for the right screwdriver or wrench. You may have spent as much time on one of these searches as you could have spent organizing your tools instead. Once you have organized your tools, you’ll never have to waste time like this again. Not only will you be able to finish your projects quickly and efficiently, but you’ll also be able to easily transfer the right tools to a soft tool bag or a tool belt for projects you need to complete elsewhere.