To have a pleasant, functional garage, you must get organized with a garage tool organization system. It's no good to have the right tool if you can't find it amid all the clutter or chaos.
Make it a priority to take a weekend, purchase the organizational tools you need, and get your garage and your tools organized so there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. It will make your life so much easier when trying to work on a project in the future!
It's best to start with a system. You can purchase a ready made system from tool manufacturers or you can design one of your own. I recommend a combination of both.
Before you can configure any kind of system, you need to know what you have. So start by doing an inventory of your tools and assessing what you own.
Put your tools into categories. Do you have a lot of general tools-like hammers, pliers, screwdrivers, and the like? What about tools for automotive repair-such as sockets and wrenches and impact tools? Do you have tools for carpentry-for instance squares, chalk lines, nail guns, levels, and saws? What about metal fabrication tools such as welders, grinders, etc.? Don't forget about items you may use for multiple purposes-like air compressor hoses, drills, safety goggles, and ear protection.
You will want to arrange your tools-and the organizational system you create-according to zones for each specialty area so you can easily find everything. You will also want to consider how frequently you engage in each activity so that the tools for the activities you do most often are most easily accessible.
Consider how big your tools are-in each of the categories-and whether some of them are in a case or must be freestanding-such as a drill press or a table saw. You will need to arrange your system around the larger freestanding items so you can still use and access them without a problem.
Now that you have a good idea of what you have, how much is in each category, and the like, you can begin to put together a system.
For tools that are self-contained in a case-such as a rechargeable drill-you will want to keep those tools in the cases at all times because it keeps everything handy and all in one place and the case also protects your equipment from dust and moisture when not in use.
It's also a neat, ready made storage solution. You can easily line tools in their cases up on an open shelf mounted on a wall or a freestanding shelf unit. Alternatively, you can hide these tools away in a wall-mounted cabinet.
If you have large tools such as air guns or skill saws, wall mount cabinets, shelving units, or cabinets with deep drawers will serve you best for those items. For automotive tools and lots of small hand tools like screwdriver sets, wrenches, sockets, and chisels, purchase a toolbox or tool chest unit with lots of shallow drawers.
You can get units like this in many different sizes and price ranges, and you can purchase units that stack on top of each other to "grow" your garage tool organization system as you get more tools.
If you will be moving these tools periodically-or if you need to move your tools to a middle of the garage work area, such as when working on a car-be sure to select a tool chest on wheels.
For a garage with lots of small hardware, a bin storage system is an absolute must. You can select a system with open bins or small drawers that either hangs on the wall or is a freestanding unit, and you can purchase bins in different sizes to accommodate your needs.
A large pegboard with hooks is also an excellent way to organize tools you will access frequently so they are easily at your fingertips. Just be aware that these tools may accumulate more dust and debris when you are working on other projects. You may even want to consider a pegboard system with doors that close to keep the tools on the board hidden and clean.
Within your system, there are many smaller organization tools and devices that can help fine tune your garage tool organization system even more and make your garage or workshop a pleasant place to work.
Consider retractable compressor hose reels, retractable extension cords, drawer liners and dividers, socket holders, dust covers for freestanding equipment, hooks and pegs, and anything else that can help provide a neat orderly place for each and every tool you own.
We Americans should keep metric tools separate from conventional tools of the same type to avoid confusion.
And as a final part of your garage tool organization system, invest in a label maker and make labels for your tool drawers and cabinets so your tools are easy to find and put them back when you're finished with them.
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