The Best Ways to Keep Your Tools Organized

Once you've accumulated a sizeable tool collection, things can get a bit out of control. Stop rooting around in the bottom of your toolbox and instead try a few helpful organizers that will make your DIY life easier.

January 09, 2019

Organization Goals

If you're a seasoned DIY'er, you've probably accumulated a hefty collection of tools. You've also likely experienced the chaos that comes with not being able to find the tool you need when you need it. Here's how to start your workshop off on an organized note this year.

If You Don't Do Anything Else...

The non-slip drawer liner is probably the first thing anyone should do when they start organizing a toolbox. A liner will put a stop to your tools sliding around everytime you open a drawer or move your box around the shop. In addition to keeping your tools from rattling around, liners make it easier to clean dust, dirt and grime out of your toolbox. Just remove the liner, shake it out or wipe it down and toss it right back in.

An Easy Option: The Basic Drawer Insert

Toolbox drawer inserts are the quickest and least expensive way to bring some order to your tools. You can even leave one on top of your toolbox or workbench as a place to collect tools as you finish with them. Inserts come in a wide variety of widths and compartments, so make sure to measure your drawer dimensions before you choose one.

Top Shelf: The Screwdrivers

Your most-frequently used hand tool is probably a screwdriver. Almost nothing gets put together without a screwdriver at some point, so it's to your advantage to keep it handy. A magnetic screwdriver rack is ideal for keeping your drivers flat and neat inside your toolbox. If you're super organized, you can have one for Philips and one for flat drivers. Bonus points if you can keep them separated for more than a week.

Throw a Wrench in It

The worst thing about digging through a toolbox? Fifty wrenches all jumbled up like your parents' Christmas lights. A few wrench organizers will bring order to the chaos in the wrench drawer. And if you screw them down to some removable plywood trays, you can lift the whole set out when needed. Buy separate colors for metric and SAE wrenches so you can quickly tell them apart.

No Socket Left Behind

Sockets come in three different drive sizes, two different lengths and can be either metric or SAE measurements. That's a complicated way of saying that your sockets are probably all over the place and finding the one you need isn't always easy. Fortunately, there’s no shortage of great organizers out there to help you get your sockets straightened out. This socket organizer rail stands upright for maximum flexibility.

Pliers Don't Get Enough Respect

Shortly after prehistoric people invented the hammer, humans began longing for a more precise tool for prying, bending or cutting things. Thus, started the tidal wave of zillions of different pliers for every job in the known world. It's highly likely you have a few pairs lying around yourself, so treat them to a nice, magnetic organizer. Place a drawer liner underneath for any pliers that don't fit, and you'll end up with a neat home for your entire collection.

Drill Bits, Drivers + Assorted Small Parts

Small plastic organizers are great for sorting tool parts or for putting drill bits all in one container. They're perfect for Allen wrenches or anything else that's small and easily lost in the bottom of your toolbox.

Craft a Custom Insert

Nothing beats having a specific home for your tools, and pluck-apart Kaizen Foam is the best way to make a custom insert for them. It's excellent for oddly-shaped tools like drills and precision tools like stud finders or electrical testers. Measure a block of foam to fit your tool drawer, trace your tool's outline on the foam, then cut it to the desired depth. Simply pick the foam out, and it will leave a nearly perfect indentation for your tools to rest.

Store Outside the Box

Sometimes things just won't fit inside the toolbox, or they're so handy that you use them all the time. Those are usually great opportunities to employ a magnetic tool strip. You can stick two of them outside your toolbox, and they're strong enough to hold nearly anything you can throw at them. You can even mount them to the wall next to your toolbox, that way if you don't have time to return something to its proper place, you can hold it out for later.