Organizing Tools That Help You Finish Your DIY Projects

organized workshop with tools hanging on wall

If one of your New Year's resolutions is to be more organized and get more of those projects-in-waiting done in the upcoming year, this is totally doable. But start by getting your tools organized so you can get yourself really ready to do a lot more DIY stuff.

If you can't find the tools you need, or you don't even know what you've got to work with, you aren't going to get a lot of stuff done. Find ways to get organized and keep yourself on track with your DIY to-do list so that next year, you can start planning for a whole new set of resolutions.

Organizing Tools

Almost no one has their tools as organized as they want them to be. It's difficult to keep everything in its place and keep all your tools together in one area.

Difficult, but not impossible. If you want to start organizing tools to keep your New Year's resolutions and finish your DIY projects, start with the organization.

There are several simple DIY projects you can take on to get the gorgeous, well-organized tool area you've always dreamed of. And once you cross these simple projects off your DIY list, you will be ready to take on more and more projects to complete all that stuff you've been planning on doing for so long.

pegboard with organizer storage

Make Pegboard Cabinets

Even the most casual DIYers have seen those pegboard walls, which are easy to install anywhere and which look pretty great in any garage. Simple pegs can be added and just like that, you have all kinds of tool storage.

Take that up to the next level with pegboard cabinets. This is a great way to store tools and keep them safely inside cabinets rather than leaving them exposed to open air.

This is a simple DIY project that requires only a few basic tools and a little time. Any cabinet can be turned into a pegboard cabinet, and all you need is a table saw, measuring tape, and a hammer and nails.

Take any cabinet and remove all shelving, if present, to measure the doors and the back wall. Subtract two inches from all measurements and cut your pegboard to this size.

Secure the two pegboard pieces to the back wall and inside door of the cabinet with a hammer and nails. Definitely put nails in all four corners but for extra toughness, add an additional nail to the middle top and middle bottom and two more along all sides.

Now, you can store tools inside the cabinet and keep the cabinet securely closed to protect all tools inside from moisture and general exposure to air and dust.

Add Magnet Strips

This is a commonly-cited solution because it simply works. This is a hack that can actually add a little more storage to your bathroom or kitchen, as well as to your garage, basement, or tool shed.

Add magnetic strips to the ends of shelves or dead spots on the wall. Small metallic tools and items, such as drill bits, can be easily stored here.

This will make small items highly accessible and visible, which is very useful. How much time have you spent rummaging around in bags and boxes looking for those little items you know you have and can never seem to get your hands on?

Magnet strips make it much easier to keep track of all that small stuff, and it creates very practical, useful storage for all of that stuff.

Use Mason Jars

Nuts, bolts, nails, and other small pieces have a way of getting everywhere. You'll find them at the bottom of drawers, floating around in tool bags, and sitting on shelves.

Keep them all contained in mason jars, those ubiquitous jars that end up on literally every single type of DIY list you might go looking for. Add stickers to clearly label the jars, so you know where to find loose screws, nails, nuts, bolts, and other little items that need a place to stay contained and accessible.

empty mason jars

Mount a Long Handle Tool Rack

Shovels, shears, rakes, and other long-handled tools are incredibly useful. And darned impossible to store.

Make your own long-handle tool rack with some plywood and 2x4s, and you will never have to go searching for the rake again.

You will need three lengths of 2x4 and some sort of saw to cut one to 3 feet and two to 1 1/2 feet.

Next, cut two triangles out of plywood. Each triangle should have one long, straight side that is about 6 inches long at the straight edge and at least 3 inches wide across the bottom of the triangle.

Mount the long 2x4 to the wall vertically using a hammer and nails, securing both ends of the 2x4. It should be hanging vertically, and you should check your work with a level to ensure this piece of wood is perfectly even.

Place one shorter 2x4 about midway down on the long 2x4 horizontally against the 2x4, so that it is perpendicular to the first piece of wood. The outer side of the shorter 2x4 should line up evenly with the outside edge of the longer 2x4.

Hold one plywood triangle against the two 2x4s where they meet, with the bottom of the triangle sitting flush against the wall and the inner side of the triangle sitting flush against each 2x4.

The straight side of the plywood triangle should be pointed up, toward the ceiling.

Nail the plywood into place, hammering nails through the connection where the plywood meets the longer 2x4 and nailing more nails through the connection where the plywood touches the shorter 2x4.

Repeat this on the other side of the long 2x4 to create a half-T shape with two arms that come out from the central 2x4 with an open space separating these two arms. This is where you will add tools!

Turn your shovel or rake upside-down so that that business end is facing toward the ceiling and slide it onto the 2x4 arms along the handle of the tool. Turn the handle so that the spade of the shovel or the times of the rake, or whatever tool you're working with, is resting horizontally across the two support arms.

Now, you can place all your long-handled tools here. If you need more long-handle tool storage space, you can always build another simple DIY rack like this.

Wall Brackets

wall brackets supporting kitchen shelves

When you're storing items in a workshop, garage, attic, or basement, remember this: use the walls. Every inch of wall space is potential storage space, so start using it with some very simple DIY wall brackets.

It couldn't be simpler to add some wall brackets to the wall, and with these, you can hang up all kinds of stuff to get it out of the way and keep it accessible. Lawn chairs and other items that can be hung up can be stored this way.

All you need are two-inch lengths of 2x4s, which you can nail into the wall. Hang two along the same line, keeping them level with each other, if you're hanging a large item that needs extra support.

Otherwise, a single wall bracket can store lots of items. Nail the piece of 2x4 into the wall and into a stud behind it, which you can locate using a stud finder.

Once this is secure, use a drill to add an L-bracket right to this chunk of wood on the wall. Now, you have a secure place to hang up items of all kinds.

Use a Shoe Caddy

Hang a shoe caddy on the wall, nailing it into the wall where there are studs to provide support, and you will have a very convenient spot to store spray paint, caulk, rollers, paintbrushes, and any other type of tool that's no bigger than a breadbox.

Add Tie Racks

You may already have a wire shelf in place, but if you don't, mount one to the wall. Find the studs, drill through the holes in the wire shelves directly into the wall and the stud behind it and use a level to make sure it's straight.

It will only take you a few minutes to hang up the wire shelves and only a few minutes more after that to install a pull-out tie rack, which can be secured with wire right to the underside of the shelves. The pull-out rack can be used to store wrenches and other small hand tools.

Create a Rotating Rack

Cut PVC pipe into multiple short pieces using a standard saw. Use hot glue to attach them to a lazy Susan, standing on end, to create convenient storage tubes for drill bits, screwdrivers, and other long, skinny tools and tool accessories.

The pipes can be labeled by simply writing on them with a permanent marker. The rotating design makes everything quickly and easily accessible.

Hang a DIY To Do Board

Hang up a chalkboard, a dry-erase board, or a corkboard somewhere in your tool storage room or area. You can also get even more creative and hang up any type of board or flat piece of wood and tack pieces of twine into place horizontally across the board.

Add clothes pins to the twine to put up little index cards or hand-written notes, or use a chalkboard or whiteboard. You can also pin notes to a corkboard, along with pictures and ideas for DIY projects.

This is a great way to keep track of the DIY projects you want to do and keep track of everything you still need to do and what you're working on. You can add new items here when you have inspiration and easily stay on track to complete all of your DIY goals for the new year.

chalkboard with calendar

Keep Your New Years Resolutions and Finish Your DIY Projects

Get organized and get to work on those DIY projects that you know you want to complete. When you have tools that are well-organized and accessible, you'll find that it's a lot easier to get all sorts of projects completed.

Start by resolving to create one or more of the DIY storage solutions on this list. Once you've got that goal checked off, you'll be off and running and ready to take care of all your New Year's resolutions and finish your DIY projects.

Organizing FAQ

How should tools be organized?

If you're wondering how to organize your tools or how to get started, a lot of people will give you advice and tell you what you ought to do. The truth is, your tools should be organized according to your needs and your space.

The main thing is to organize your tools in a way that makes sense for you and in a way that is convenient for you, so that you have access to the items you need. Unless it's absolutely necessary, you don't want to put tools high up on the walls or hanging from the ceiling where they are difficult to access.

It's always best to keep tools somewhere you can easily get to them and in storage areas that are clearly marked, so you don't have to spend a lot of time looking around for the item you need.

No matter how you store your tools, always use some kind of labeling system to mark them, so you know what you have and where it is at all times.

Where do you start with tool organization?

If your tools and your tool area are super messy, you might feel seriously overwhelmed, and that could be preventing you from getting started on your organization. So where do you start with organizing tools?

By taking inventory. First, get a good idea of what tools you have first.

You want to visually look at your tools and tool accessories, so you not only know how much stuff you need to organize but also how large your largest pieces are.

Why organize your tools?

Many people have their own system, their own way of doing things...their own sense of what being "organized" means. So why organize your tools in a more standard way?

There are actually a few really good reasons why you should take the time and put forth the effort to organize your tools well enough so that each and every item has an assigned place.

For starters, tools are dangerous. They have blades, sharp edges, fierce points, and other elements that can damage your skin, your eyes, all your soft parts.

If you reach into a tool bag, tool drawer, box, or some other storage device for your tools and your tools are just thrown into this device with no organization, you run the risk of very seriously cutting your skin and damaging yourself. You don't want that.

If your tools are stacked somewhere or put somewhere without hanging on a peg or being supported, there's a chance that your tools could fall down. This may damage the tools and, depending on where you happen to be when this happens, it could seriously damage you.

Think about how bad it could be if your saws, your hammers, or even a screwdriver falls from somewhere and lands on your body. The images that come to mind are reason enough to organize your tools and tool accessories very, very well.

Further Reading

7 Organizational Tips for Basement Storage

7 Wall Storage Ideas to Keep Your Attic Clutter-free

Garage Storage Systems Explained

How to Build Basement Storage Shelves

How to Buy Used Tools

Safety Tips for Power Tools

Stop Rust on Your Tools: Storage, Prevention, and Treatment

Tools for Measuring And Leveling