Getting your work space and tools organized is going to save you a great deal of time because you won't be rooting around for the Philips Head, and money because you will no longer buy duplicates because you either cannot find a tool or are not sure if you even own it. Tool organization is a lot like kitchen organization in that you have a lot of one-off items to sort and store. Follow this 5-step plan to declutter and then find the right home for every tool you own.
1. Commit to Organization
The trick here is be to commit to be “organized enough," meaning you have a good idea of what you have on hand, where things are stored, and the items you use most often are easily accessible from your workspace.
2. Clean & Declutter
Set a schedule to clear clutter and clean your work areas, either by event (“it’s a mess!”), or seasonally, monthly, or even better, weekly. The more often you do this, the less time it will take. Toss trash, and then recycle old instruction booklets, empty bottles of glue, lone nails and washers. If you’re not sure if you should hold onto something, put it aside in a box for 30 days and then reassess it’s usefulness. Do you still need it?
3. Organize Items Logically
Create a home for every item by choosing an appropriate storage space and ask the right questions. Should it hang on the wall? Is it better in a drawer? Does it make more sense on a shelf? Choose a layout that works for you, and use your prime real estate efficiently by placing your most-used items in the easiest-to-reach spots. These ares will be the waist-high drawers in your tool chest, the first level of your tool box, and the center of your wall storage.
4. Choose the Right Storage
You don’t need to invest in fancy storage options; a chest of drawers, kitchen shelves with the doors removed, or a kitchen cart on wheels are excellent sources of storage for tools and materials. As long as it’s sturdy, fits what you need, and is easy to access, virtually any piece of storage furniture can be re-purposed for your work space.
5. Create & Utilize Storage Spaces
Create a space for the items you use occasionally, but not often, by dedicating a corner of the basement or attic as a home storage area. You don’t want your occasionally-used items crowding out the tools you use all the time--especially if you’re working in a tight spot, like the corner or a garage. Again, you want this space working the way you work, by keeping what you use most often front-and-center.