How to Organize My Shop Tools & Equipment


The shop can be one of the most productive places for a person with the tools, equipment and skills to build and repair things. But if you can't get your hands on the right wrench, your screwdrivers are piled in a corner, and the air compressor is buried under a mountain of lumber scraps, nothing productive is going to be happening. Getting things in order may seem intimidating because some of the equipment is so big and unwieldy; the truth is, though, once you get the big stuff sorted out, everything else comes together and soon you'll be done with organizing and on to getting things done.

Things You'll Need

  • Toolbox
  • Pegboard
  • Hammer, nails
  • Sort into piles: Put all the power tools in one corner, all the hand tools in one spot, all the yard and garden tools in another spot, all the hardware (nuts, bolts, nails) in one pile, and so on until you have basic categories in place.

  • Evaluate how much space you need for each category. Your specialty, skills and interests will influence the kind of tools and equipment you have, and you want to organize according to what you actually do. Do you need a big toolbox for all your hand tools, or do you need more space for garden tools to hang, or do you need to clear out a corner for an air compressor, paint sprayer or generator?

  • Clear out anything that doesn't belong in the shop. In order to have space and organization, you need to get rid of those old Christmas ornaments, broken swings and flat tires that have piled up. Have a garage sale, haul stuff to the thrift store or get it to the recycling center.

  • Designate the space for each category: one wall for hand tools and power tools, one corner for paint supplies, one closet for garden equipment, one rack for hardware, one shelf for manuals and how-to books.

  • Use all available space in your organization. For example, you can hang pipes and long pieces of lumber from holders installed high up on the walls or from ceiling beams. Think corner to corner and floor to ceiling.

  • Install pegboard and use hooks for the tools and supplies you use most frequently. Trace the outline or write the name of each tool and supply on the space where it belongs, so you always remember where it goes.

  • Use recycled bins, containers, boxes, and jars to corral little items such as pieces of wire, twine, loose hardware, spray paint cans, plumbing pieces and the like.

  • Label everything. Once you have your tools and equipment in place, use a label machine or make homemade labels to designate where things go. That way you will remember and you'll know when something is out of place, and if someone else uses your tools, they can put them away properly.

  • Maintain your system. Clean up after every project, wiping down tools and equipment and putting them back in place. If you keep things cleaned up at the end of every day, you'll never find yourself in a huge mess again.

Tips & Warnings

  • Barter or sell old tools and equipment you never use so you have space for the stuff you will use in your projects.
  • Never let children play around while you're organizing your shop tools and equipment; there are far too many dangers with all those sharp edges and pointy objects.

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