How to organize your tools

As we begin to delve deeper into home improvement we pick up skills, confidence and plenty of tools along the way. After awhile we find that we have a bounty of all three, but only one needs storage space. If you're an avid do-it-yourselfer, you may find that your tools have taken over a portion of your home or garage. Having a collection of tools with no place to call home can be very frustrating. Not to mention with every job comes a new stash of nails, screws, sandpaper and other such sundries. And who wants to rustle around in a duffel bag stuffed with screwdrivers, wall anchors and speaker wire just to find the right size screw? This kind of disorganization can make you frustrated with your project before you even get started. So, even if your garage looks like a major storm has just blown through, trust us, you can recover.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010

As we begin to delve deeper into home improvement we pick up skills, confidence and plenty of tools along the way.

After awhile we find that we have a bounty of all three, but only one needs storage space. If you're an avid do-it-yourselfer, you may find that your tools have taken over a portion of your home or garage.

Having a collection of tools with no place to call home can be very frustrating. Not to mention with every job comes a new stash of nails, screws, sandpaper and other such sundries. And who wants to rustle around in a duffel bag stuffed with screwdrivers, wall anchors and speaker wire just to find the right size screw? This kind of disorganization can make you frustrated with your project before you even get started.

So, even if your garage looks like a major storm has just blown through, trust us, you can recover.

Eliminate the excess

Your level of disorganization is likely determined by how many tools you have and whether or not you are a naturally tidy person. Before you begin, collect all of your tools together and assess the situation. This process is quite similar to a closet clean out.

Set aside the absolute must-keeps: the tools you love and will never part with. Then look at the rest of your tools and be honest with yourself. Make an "I don't need you anymore" pile and let the purge begin. If you are in any way hesitant about your decisions, walk away for a few hours and then pick up where you left off. You may decide that your old rusty jigsaw, while once a great helper, can either be replaced or is no longer needed, or you have project specific tools such as a wet tile saw that you don't anticipate ever using again-time to move it out.

Chances are you will change your mind about a tool or two in the discard pile, too. This is your chance to make the final call.

Give tools a second life

If your excess tools are still in good working order, consider donating them to Goodwill or The Salvation Army. You may also be able to get some money for your throwaways by hosting a garage sale. Any garage sale with the word "Tools" in the items for sale will send Janes like yourself flocking to your house. eBay or Craigslist are other good options for unloading your unwanted tools. Even if your tools are in pretty good shape, don't expect to get too much money for them. No one is going to pay $20 for your pre-millennium 12V drill when they can buy a brand new one for $30. Non-power tools may fair a little better with the age factor, but still, be realistic. The objective is to purge, not turn a profit.

Get ready to get organized

Now that you have the keepers all lined up and ready to go, decide where you're going to keep your tools and how. This is where a ton of options open up. It all depends upon on how many tools you have (or plan to have) and how much money you want to spend.

The toolbox

The toolbox is a great option for your non-power tools, but you can pretty much forget about getting anything that runs on electricity in there. The up side to these boxes is that they come in a variety of materials, from plastic to metal, and therefore have the potential to be pretty inexpensive (under $30). The leveled compartments make it easy to see everything all at once, and regardless of the caliber, they are a great resource for starting you down the path to organization.