The Best Tool Storage Ideas for an Organized Work Space

An in-depth guide for the best tool storage ideas for your garage. The Best Tool Storage Ideas for an Organized Work Space

When keeping your tools organized in any part of the house, but especially the garage, it can become challenging.  There is nothing worse than knowing you have a specific tool for the job at hand, but not being able to find it.  How many times have you gone out to your garage looking for that tool and end up tearing apart even more things to find exactly what you are needing?  Not all garages are the same size or shape, so keeping your tools organized can be challenging depending on the space you have as well.  In this blog, we are going to give you some simple ideas that could help keep you a little more organized.

Getting Organized

First, let’s look at what you need to do before putting all your tools away.  So many of us have the same tools or hardware that we keep for emergency purposes, but also just to have around in case something breaks or needs fixing.

Layout tools – Layout all your tools in front of you so you know exactly what you have.  During this process, you can get rid of ones that are broken, duplicates of one another, or are just not needed.  Some people will have three hammers and in all actuality, you only need one good one.  Keep a spare if you would like in case something happens, but don’t keep more than you need to.

Categorize Tools – Put all the tools together that are the same or close to it.  So put all your cutting tools together, wrenches, screwdrivers, and hammers.  This will help you determine how many you have of each as well as keeping them together in one area.  This will also help you determine what kind of space you need for storage.

Throw Away – I don’t think there is any person who doesn’t have stuff they can’t throw away.  This could be odd and end screws, nuts, or bolts that don’t or can’t be used for anything you have.  These could also include loose springs, washers and so forth.  Having miscellaneous things lingering around because you might need them in the future could hinder the organization process.

Placement – Decide where in the garage you would want to keep those tools that will make it easier for you to find them.  This could mean that you will have to wall mount something, buying a chest, or cupboard to keep all your tools in.  Placement of your tools will be essential if you want to stay organized and also be able to find something quickly in case of an emergency.

Storage Items You Purchase

Now that you know what tools you have and the number of them you have, it is time to set up the area you want.  Most stores will have an entire aisle filled with storage ideas and cases for you to purchase to keep your stuff in.  Here are just some of the items that you can purchase that will help you stay organized.

Tool cabinet/chest: Many steel cabinets come in various sizes and with many different options today.  When picking the cabinet that will work best for you, try to get options that will work for the tools you have.

  • Large cabinets will work best for in a workshop or garage
  • Deep drawers can hold bulky tools better and their accessories
  • Shallow trays for smaller items
  • Wheels on the bottom for easier movement of the chest
  • Locks on the cabinet to keep everything safe
  • Surge protectors built-in for easier access to electrical
  • Liners in the trays to keep tools from moving around

Tool Boxes: If you don’t have a toolbox or are going to looking for one in the store, keep these things in mind:

  • When you open the box, make sure you can see everything in it
  • Lockable boxes for safety
  • Lightweight and durable, for once you put tools in it, it will become heavier and harder to carry, so you don’t want an already heavy box
  • Removable trays or drawers for easier access to tools

Tool Bag: If you do a lot of work that requires you to move around, maybe a tool bag would be nice to keep the tools in that you frequently use.

  • Adjustable straps or padded handles for easier carrying
  • Zipper closure to protect tools from elements around you
  • Big main compartment to give you space for those bigger tools
  • Smaller compartments for the little things to carry with you

Pegboards: These have become more popular as of late for easy access and to keep the floors clear.  You can hang these on the wall of your shop or garage and use a hook system to put all your tools.  This will allow you to see all your equipment in front of you and just grab it, instead of going through each drawer looking for the item you need.

Now depending on what type of space you have in your area will determine if this would be the best fit for you.  Pegboards can take up a lot of space, especially on the wall, so if you have a small area, this might not work right for you.  You can make a smaller version for more of the tools that you use more frequently and then use a cart for those that you don’t.

Tool Foam Organizers: These foam kits have become popular to keep in your toolboxes so that the tools don’t move around and become clutter in your box.  The best part of this system is that they come customizable, so you can buy the size that you need.  Once you put them together and figure out the shape you need or size, you can place it in your box or chest and know exactly what tool is missing when opening the drawers.

Shadow Board Tape:  This tape has the same advantages as the foam organizers.  You will always know what tool is missing when you go looking.  The tape is meant for pegboards but can be used in chests or boxes.  The tape is like an outline of the tool you need, placed on the pegboard, and then you put your tool right over it.  When you remove the tool, the tape will still be there to show you where it goe back to.  Basically, it is an outline of the tool.

Magnetic Tool Holders: In smaller workspaces, you can get magnetic holders that you hang on the wall, and you place your tools against it.  Viola, hanging on the wall and out of the way.  These won’t provide as much storage as a pegboard, but they will work great for smaller spaces.

Nail Caddy: There are caddies that you can purchase at the stores to organize all your nails, screws and washers in.  These come in a different variety of ways, from little drawers to open caddies that you just grab out of.  These are nice for someone who wants to have everything the same size.

DIY Storage Ideas

Now that we have looked at items that you can purchase to organize yourself in the workspace, let us take a look at things you can do for probably half the price and do it yourself.  These would be great for people who don’t have the money to buy expensive premade tool storage but are willing to put the work in and make them yourself.  Some of these projects might take some time, but in the end, they are worth it.

PVC Pipe: PVC pipe comes in a variety of different sizes and lengths.  The nice thing about these is they can be a cheap way of making different types of holders for your tools or equipment.  Here are just a few;

  • Calk tube holders
  • Holders for the calk guns or drills
  • Any marking tools like markers or pencils can make holders
  • Extension cord holders
  • Use two pieces and make holders for rakes, shovels, and brooms

Canning Jars: Take the lid and screw into a board, then fill the jars with screws, nuts, and bolts. Screw the jar back into the lid and this makes great hanging storage.  You can use any type of jars to do this, depending on what size you need.

Milk Jugs: Cut the tops off of these and use them to store just about anything, the nice thing is they are all the same size.  You could paint them to be a specific color if you wanted to code what you put in them.  Sometimes having an open container is easier and because these are plastic, they won’t break as easily as a jar would.

Pie tins or plates: Cut these in half, screw into a board on the wall, and you have a great way to store your saw blades or circular sandpaper.

Foam: In the craft section of the store, you can find foam balls, cones or even squares.  You can use these in order to store your smaller tools that have points on them.  Small paint brushes, Allen wrenches, Exacto knives, and even pencils can all be stuck into the foam.  You can layer the foam by drilling a hole thru the middle of them and stacking them on a dowel, this will, in turn, make them easier to get to and turn if you want to get really creative.

Cupcake tins: When is the last time you made muffins or cupcakes?  Those old tins if you are not using them, can be used to store smaller electrical pieces and then stacked on top of one another.  You could also use them for the hardware in your garage and be able to separate them by type.

2-liter bottles: Here is another item you could use when you are done with the product itself.  Take the top off the bottle, screw a hole in the middle of it, put an eyelet in it and secure it.  Now take the bottle itself and cut a hole in it towards the top.  Put the top back on it, hang from a hook, and place whatever you want inside of it.  This would be great for hardware as usual, and also wood dowels or chips, even if snacky, some candy for in the shop.

Lattice: Taking down a deck or porch in the near future?  Most decks and porches have lattice that is put on under it for a finished decorative look.  You can actually cut these pieces in half, hang them from the ceiling some few feet apart, and put odd and end small wood pieces that are too long to keep in a corner.  You can also use these to store your longer clamps if need be to keep them out of the way.

Coffee cans: Take the paper off of them, paint them if you like, screw a couple of them next to each other, screw a handle on it, and you have a makeshift carry case.  In this case, it would be great for keeping gardening tools in, to make it easier to carry them out with you and putting away.  You can also use these for handy jobs around the house for carrying tools with you if you don’t have a belt or the area you are going to be working in won’t let you wear one.

Whatever it is you decide to do in your workspace, remember that organization will help keep you focused and on task.  The minute you have to go hunting down one of the items you are looking for, it then becomes a chore rather than a project or quick fix.  Finding that perfect nail versus a screw, or even just the right size wrench on the first try and knowing where it is will make your life a little easier.  All of the above ideas for storing your tools are great ways to start to fix those issues, obviously, there are other ways and maybe you can come up with some of those on your own.  Take some of these ideas and add your touches to it for a great workspace of your own.


  1. Pinterest – Tool Organization
  2. Family Handy Man – Tool Storage Tips
  3. Makezine – Tool Storage Solutions
  4. NextLuxury – Tool Storage Ideas