5 Tool Storage Ideas to Organize Your Workspace

Designate a spot for your tools to keep them handy and in top condition.

organized pegboard in garage with hanging tools
Photo: Laurie Black

The tools you own deserve careful consideration when it comes to where they’re stored. They might have been passed down to you and hold sentimental value or they could have been an expensive investment. Organizing tools keeps them working well and prevents issues such as rust or dust from ruining them over the years. It also makes everything from screwdrivers to sandpaper simply easier to find when a task calls for it.

Try the following tool storage ideas so you can confidently tackle DIY projects with all of your equipment at your fingertips.

1. Set Up Slatwall or Pegboard 

Because garages tend to be short on floor space, installing shelves is a smart option that also works well for small spaces. Track shelving, drawers, and tall cabinets make the most out of vertical space. However, there’s another type of garage storage system to consider, especially if you like your tools in plain sight. Consider reserving some blank wall space for either slatwall or pegboard.

Pegboards contain small round holes on which hooks attach, while hooks hang off of the horizontal panels of slatwalls. There’s also a difference in what you might want to store each one. Pegboards are generally better for smaller to medium items, like wrenches, pliers, and open baskets of nuts and bolts. Slatwalls, on the other hand, are generally more spacious and ideal for hanging larger things such as garden tools and ladders.

If you have the room to place one beside the other in the garage, you’ll have everything you need within arm’s reach.

drinks supplies tools storage drawers bins
Paul Dyer

2. Use a Tool Box, Bag, or Bins

Only own the essential tools? Keep it simple for yourself and utilize either the box or bag they came in or sort them using some clear storage bins. Many tool kits already come in a box with predetermined slots for each item. If yours didn’t, a two-tiered toolbox or even a canvas bag with compartments can hold exactly what you need. Or make one box or bag for frequently used tools such as a measuring tape and hammer, and another for the less-reached-for items like a hand saw or mallet.

If using containers, look for clear bins with latched lids that stack on one another or stackable open bins if you prefer easier access. Even if you can see into the bins, be sure to stick some labels on the front, especially if more than one person in the household uses them. This way there’s no doubt about where to return something. These can be kept in the garage, basement, or even a shed so long as they’re protected from the elements.

3. Create a Charging Station

Power tools take up a decent amount of space, especially if you own a considerable collection. You can always place them on a workbench or table below the pegboard, but a safer alternative is to construct a combination charging and storage station that sits up high on a wall. 

Think of it like an appliance garage for your power tools. You can either buy or build one, but make sure to include “docking stations” for your power drill, sanders, and the like, as well as a shelf or two above for chargers and any tools too large to fit on the dock. Attach a power strip to the side for convenient charging. This not only keeps tools tidy and powered up but also out of the way of small, curious hands.

jars with screws and nails
Ed Gohlich

4. Contain Small Accessories

While it might seem like large tools are harder to organize, it’s the small parts that often prove most challenging. Keeping nails separated from screws saves time when you’re looking for something specific and prevents you from buying things you already have but can’t find in a cluttered pile.

One smart storage solution for this is to use a tabletop cabinet with narrow drawers for each type and size of hardware. Or try a DIY option using items you might already have around the house. Group small home improvement accessories by category into Mason jars for storage. Attach a magnetic strip underneath a shelf, stick the metal top to it, and simply unscrew the bottom when you need to grab something. Just like organizing anything into bins, clearly label each drawer or jar so you can differentiate your coarse- and fine-thread bolts.

potting bench drawer with gardening tools
Marty Baldwin

5. Divide Drawers

Lay small hand tools within drawers, whether in a large chest or just a drawer or two in a shed. Use drawer dividers to separate pliers from levels and inserts to contain drill bits and anchors. Make sure shallow drawers are used for flat items while deeper ones are used for bulkier things such as power tools. If you own a large number of tools, consider investing in a mobile drawer system so you can make the most of your space. Allocate one drawer for all of the screwdrivers, one for all the sockets, and so on. Label each drawer and find or replace your tools quicker than you can hammer a nail.

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