Storing and Organizing Your Tools Like a Pro

tools organized on a pegboard
  • 3-5 hours
  • Beginner
  • 50-100
What You'll Need
Storage containers
What You'll Need
Storage containers

Is your garage chaos? Are your tools a mess? Is it impossible to find drill bits in bins of broken nails and old screws? If reading those last few sentences made you feel like someone took a picture of your garage, then we've got the tips and tricks you need to transform your tool storage.

Once you decide your method of organization, you may need to invest in storage containers. We've learned from the best (we're looking at you Home Edit crew and Marie Kondo) and when it comes to storage, out of sight means out of mind. What does this mean for you? Clear containers. You need to be able to see everything that you're storing so you know exactly what you have when you start a DIY project that requires a miter saw or nails.

If you're not boxing up your tools in containers, make sure that they are visible. Verticle storage is a great way to achieve this. Attach a pegboard to a wall and hang mid-sized tools up. And while you're unlikely to forget about a table saw, it's important to store that prominently too. The long and short of it is you need to be able to see everything, no matter how you choose to organize your tools.

workshop tools organized on a pegboard

Organize by Function

Get your tools in order by organizing them by function. Pull all your tools and accessories out and put them in the center of your garage or workshop. Discard anything broken and donate anything that you no longer need or use. If you need to earn a little cash, you can also sell your used items online to get a little green for more tools.

Once you only have tools and accessories that you need and use in your pile, start separating things into piles by function. Place all different kinds of saws together in one corner. Pile up boxes of screws and staples and nails.

Organizing by function makes it easy to find what you need, fast.

hardware pieces organized in numbered bins

Organize by Process

DIYers can be particular people, so if you've got a set process in your workshop, organize in a way that enhances that process. Even if your groupings don't make sense to anyone but you, walk through you're routine and make a spot of regularly used items where it is most convenient.

Now, this doesn't mean throwing things around and working in chaos. That's how people end up stepping on nails or tripping over a chainsaw. This means dedicating a specific place for items in your workspace that works for you and always returning those items to their specific location.

To knock this organization method out of the park, be honest with yourself and meticulous. And because this process of organizing is all about leaning into individualization, we don't recommend this organization method for shared spaces.

Organize by Use

organized tools on a pegboard

Once you have your pile out, separate everything into three piles. Make the first pile things that you use regularly, make the second pile things that you use semi-regularly, and make the third pile things you use rarely. Store the items that you use regularly where they are easy to see and easy to access.

Especially helpful for DIYers who use tools somewhat infrequently, this allows you to store away the alan wrench that you only used to put together a crib and keep the screwdriver set that you use once a week front and center.

As we mentioned before, storing things in clear containers is helpful — but for this method it's vital. You need to be able to dig into your stored stash and find the gold screws you bought six years ago when you need them.

workshop tools on a storage wall

Organize with Saftey in Mind

If you've got little DIYers helping out from time to time, or a clumsy novice looking to learn the trade in your shop, organize your tools with safety coming first. Keep dangerous items covered, stored, up, or away from people. This is another great case for pegboard walls.

This method of organizing can be used to modify other methods but is a pretty necessary modification for lots of DIYers.

As you store and organize your tools, make sure to properly maintain and care for them. This way they'll rest easy in storage, being ready as ever when you need them.