Even if you’re not some hotshot designer or engineer, being your family and friends’ resident Mr. Fixit can be just as good of a title. But now it’s time to take it up a notch and get your workshop organized. Here are 10 storage tips on how to turn your garage into a streamlined workshop fit for any project.
1. Use magnetic strips for drill bits.
Stop leaving your drill pieces around for people to accidentally step on and toddlers to chew. By sticking some magnetic strips in high places such as your workstation walls or worktable, you now have a place to store all your drill bits without the hassle of opening a box or cabinet to put them back in. Heck, you can even make a fun game where you throw the drill bits onto the strip from way across the other side of your workshop!
2. Create different-sized bins for varying pieces of scrap.
While reusing scrap materials is well and good for the environment, rarely do you get spare pieces of the same size. Create designated scrap crates which allow you to segregate reusable scrap according to their material, make, and most importantly, size. Your future self will thank you when you easily find the piece of material you need to work on a new project.
3. Not enough storage space on the floor? Make use of wall cabinets!
Though a standard house garage is big enough to fit at least two cars, rarely can it hold a person’s imagination. You’ll soon find that not everything will conventionally fit inside your garage workshop.
This is where wall cabinets come in. Instead of taking up space on your garage floor which could otherwise store a car or two, you can instead attach some heavy duty wall cabinets on your walls. Unlike their mild-mannered kitchen brethren, heavy-duty cabinets can hold power tools and heavy metal parts which could otherwise be only stored on a ground-based storage container.
4. Make small holders for your hand tools
Just like drill bits, the hardest part of putting away small hand tools is opening the cabinet, finding the proper receptacle, and placing them in an orderly fashion. This wastes a lot of time which could otherwise be used for working on projects or taking a break from staying in the garage too long.
By drilling a series of holes into some wall or cabinet-mounted wood, you can easily store your tools in an orderly fashion without having to waste energy by opening a cabinet. This also makes it easier to find the right tool for the job when your hands are full.
5. While you’re at it, put even more stuff on the wall!
Why stop at small hand tools and wall cabinets? You can rack longer items and receptacles onto the wall using different-sized screws and racks. Step ladders, screw boxes, and other tools you find hard to reach can be made more accessible by hanging them on the wall. Sure they’ll pick up dust in the long run, but it’s worth the sacrifice if you can get the job done faster.
6. Use multi-CD containers as string containers.
This is a personal favorite of mine. Take a multi-CD container (the cheap kind you find in a digital store), drill a hole on the top, and run the thread through to make a string dispenser. This makes cutting specific sizes of string easier since gravity does the unrolling for you. As a bonus, the upside-down container prevents the string from rolling away and finding itself in the paws of a grubby cat.
7. Pringles cans make good receptacles for straight rulers.
To save yourself some money on storage containers, empty Pringles cans can be used to hold your straight rulers. They don’t fit as well inside a cabinet, but these upright containers help save some space on your desk (which is where you’ll be using rulers the most).
8. Use biscuit tins to store small screws, nails, and small objects.
There’s a reason your grandma uses biscuit tins as a place to store her sewing materials: it’s because they’re great for organizing small objects. If you have small items which you don’t immediately need for a project, take a page from your grandma’s book and use these babies to store your different screws, nails, and smaller pieces of metal (after you finish eating the biscuits, of course).
9. Keep heavy machinery on mobile stands for easy access.
One constant when working on any project is whenever you need something specific; it’s never there. This not only applies to small tools and objects but heavier tools like saws and drills as well.
Buying or making your own mobile stands with wheels may take some money or time respectively, but they let you wheel over the tools you need to whatever dark corner of the shop your project is sitting in.
10. Store dangerous materials in hard-to-reach cabinets!
After all these tips, it’s always good to remind everyone how safety takes priority in everything you do. While it’s cool to have everything you need within arm’s reach, this isn’t an excuse to leave your tools just anywhere before, during, and after a project.
You aren’t the only one who passes through the garage, so it’s a good idea to store buzzsaws, hammers, drills, and other dangerous objects in containers only an adult can reach. Keep long and sharp pieces of wood and metal in a shed and lock it tight when not in use. Not only will it save other people’s lives, but it will save you on hospital bills too!