Tool storage ideas

Organize your tools. 

 

Tool storage ideas to try

Having the proper tool storage, like a simple tool belt or tool bag, can make all the difference for a handyman or hardware enthusiast. Tools and equipment come in various forms, shapes, and sizes and can be hard to distinguish, categorize and organize. 

Tools can have a multitude of components; most power-tools benefit from being well organized as it makes them easier to find and transport around with you. 

And with smaller tools, the chances of parts getting either mixed-up or lost is fixed. 

Today, we’ll be sharing with you some clever tool storage ideas to help better sort and manage your precious gear.

Tools on the wall

Why do you need to take pride in your tool storage?

Having a clearly defined tool storage helps make work faster as it reduces confusion when sifting through various tools that are placed together. It makes things appear neat and reduces clutter, protecting your equipment from part-loss and from unnecessary expenses related to replacement and/or the need for additional storage solutions. 

Who needs tool storage?

Anyone who has at least 3 or more tools can benefit from good tool storage. It’s never a bad idea to have your things well organized – this keeps your tools and possessions in good condition and makes it easier for you to identify the ones you need when you need them. Especially if you’re the owner of a hardware business, then good tool storage is also a good investment. 

Milwaukee rolling toolbag on bulding site

Different ways to organize your tools

  1. Custom-build boxes. A built box is basically a square-shaped container that has a lot of options on how to store your tools inside. The main advantage of having a custom-built box is that it’s customized to best fit your needs and preferences. If you want your tools oriented in a particular way, then that is just 1 of the many options available and that is to build your own custom toolbox, or design for a sheet metal maker to build.
  2. Using drawers/ cabinets. One of the simplest and most accessible ways to store tools and parts is to simply use drawers and cabinets. Incredibly straightforward to use, Aluminium drawers and cabinets are a common sight in most organized garages and sometimes even go unutilized. Coupled with labeling, these are pretty effective and inexpensive options. To organize your DIY gear – fixings, parts, or tools.
  3. Rolling toolboxes. A rolling toolbox is like a luggage bag with multiple storage spaces that are specifically designed to hold differently-sized tools. Rolling toolboxes are ideal for mobile workers and users and can cater to a wide assortment of hand tools, allowing you to work almost anywhere. Versatile and durable, these also double as your tools’ carrying case.
  4. Steel/ aluminum toolboxes. The classic tool ‘tin’, a steel toolbox comes in handy for a most assortment of handheld tools and power tools. It’s larger, more portable, and targeted. A steel or aluminum toolbox is ideal if you have many power tools you want to lock up more securely, on a job site, in your garage, or inside your vehicle.
  5. Using wall racks. Working mostly at home or in a shop benefits greatly from the use of wall racks, especially for some of your larger, less expensive, and heavier tools. It makes storage not only more organized but also easier as you simply hang your tools as opposed to having to open covers or drawers.
  6. Built-in van or truck storage. This is perhaps the best kind of tool storage for those who literally take their work and business with them. A built-in vehicle tool storage is like having your shop on wheels. An excellent power tool storage, not only can you bring with you your full repertoire of equipment, but you can do so with everything being secured and organized.
  7. Tool backpacks. Tool backpacks are more portable versions of the hand-carry tool bags in the sense that they are more convenient and easier to carry. Tool backpacks are also more professionally pleasing and can have more storage space with more specialized tool-holding options. Tool backpacks are a popular modern alternative to both tool bags and toolboxes. For managers and technicians on the go. 
  8. Woodworking aprons. Woodworking aprons cater to anyone who works with wood. These specialized aprons are made from different materials like leather or waxed canvas. And are among the most convenient ways to protect yourself from dust and hold basic measuring tools or markers. Do note that these are still aprons, so outside any woody business and they still function in the kitchen just as well as ordinary aprons, maybe even better.
  9. Carpenter aprons. Carpenter aprons are for carrying around your most needed hand tools and impact drill, more robust and shorter in length. Carpenter aprons are designed to hold these heavier tools and are more suited for those who engage in carpentry and/or related work. A carpenter’s apron will serve you better, especially when needing to constantly move within a large job site. TIP: Only carry what you need, and if you’re doing a job that doesn’t require changing your tools give your back a break and take your tool apron off.

How to choose tool storage?

Brands

It’s important to look at brands for the different kinds of tool storage because they tell something about the product’s viability and longevity. Depending on what kind of tool storage you go with, certain brands will stand out. Hudson, for example, is a good brand for woodworking aprons, while Vetro and Klein are good for tool backpacks.

Material

Tool storage material is what contributes to its durability. You’ll want storage that’s both efficient and long-lasting. Most carpenter and woodworking aprons are made from leather and nylon, perfect for carrying a good amount of handheld tools. Bigger storages like rolling tool bags often have weather-proof, reinforced casings to support larger and heavier tools. 

Portability

Portable tool storages are more flexible and give you more options in terms of how you manage work to be done. Whatever kind you choose, consider how portable it would be for you given your current needs and capacities. You’d want a storage solution that can effectively carry your tools, but still, be easy enough for you to bring it along without experiencing fatigue.

Klein rolling tool bag

Sizes

Storage size can tie in with portability. Determining what is a good-sized storage depends on your project or work requirements. If you work generally with lighter and essential tools, on the go then you can go with storage solutions like aprons and rolling toolboxes.

If you often work with numerous and smaller delicate tools, then you’d want to go with storages that offer professional portability like backpacks and tool bags.

Usage

Usage can pertain to frequency and magnitude of use – how often and how demanding the workload you would use it for. As a general rule, lighter use and applications need only smaller storage solutions. For more frequent and heavy use, such as with the need to report to a job site daily, would benefit from bigger and more robust tool storages.

Lock and security

A storage functions both as a carrying case and as a protective case. Your tool storage should not only firmly hold your tools in place when working, protecting you and others from accidents, but also secure your tools when not in use, reducing the risk of theft and loss. Especially with backpacks and tool bags, they should have all the appropriate zippers and locking mechanisms to safeguard your tools.

Old and rusty storage lock

The best type of tool storage for the job site

While you can technically adopt any kind of tool storage to the job site, some are already optimally designed for use in such environments. A carpenter’s apron handles a heavier load of tools and is purposely made shorter for more mobility. A tool bag is a good overall option; so is a bucket if you’re really creative.

Professionals get the most out of rolling toolboxes; they’re great for carrying a full assortment of tools including hand-held tools and are durable enough to withstand the stresses of a bustling and spacious job site. Rolling tool bags are good and a lighter alternative, though fall slightly behind a rolling toolbox in terms of overall utility.  

The best type of tool storage for DIYers

Beginners can get a lot from a quality rolling tool-box. It doesn’t have to be a premium model, but even an entry-level or mid-tier unit from a well-known brand like Milwaukee can give you more than your money’s worth. Spacious and with customized holding compartments, a well made rolling toolbox is often all you’ll need for your tool transportation and storage needs.

A cabinet or fixed garage toolbox offers you more security and plentiful storage space, especially if you mainly work at home and with larger tools. These can house even the heaviest tools in your arsenal and keep them safe and organized.

Carpenter tool shelves

The best type of tool storage for project managers and technicians

Tool backpacks have become a popular way of storing and carrying tools, especially for the younger generation. Tool backpacks are easier and more convenient to carry than tool bags and offer more space without compromising portability.

A top-tier computer technician backpack is the Veto Pro Pac LT tool bag is a gem, one with its many pockets and rugged design. For project managers, a Klein tools backpack, or similar, with dedicated laptop compartments and made from water-resistant material is ideal.

What are the best brands to keep an eye out for?

It depends on what kind of storage you’re looking at. A woodworking apron, for example, is well made by Hudson. Milwaukee and DeWalt both have tool backpacks and rolling tool bags, while Occidental Leather is the top manufacturer of carpenter tool belts. 

For stationary tool storage brands, we recommend taking a peek at Rubbermaid and Shelterlogic for some of the best garden tool storage available.

The best material for durability

Aluminum or plastic tool chests

Aluminum tool chests are strong, lightweight, and naturally long-lived thanks to their resistance to corrosion. Reinforced plastic tool chests nearly match the durability of aluminum ones and are completely resistant to rust and are better protected against wear and tear. 

Rolling toolbox

Rolling toolboxes can be made of either composite material or steel, both of which are sturdy and protected. You’d want to go with rolling toolboxes that have fewer, and larger wheels as they run less risk of breaking off and are more stable when moving.

Milwaukee rolling tool bag

Hand-carry tool bag

Most heavy-duty tool bags are made from polyester or nylon. Waterproofing increases the effectiveness of a tool bag and you’d want those that feature extra padding for even more protection.

Vehicle-mounted toolbox

You’d want to go with aluminum or steel storage if you’re planning to mount a toolbox on your vehicle. These materials are better suited for rough travel and eventual bad weather conditions. 

Garden tool shed

A good garden shed is one that’s made of either treated wood or treated steel-sheets. Applying a special finish adds strength and makes them resistant even against extreme weather.

Carpenter’s apron

Leather is a staple material for carpenter aprons. It’s thick and sturdy, but is lightweight and not easily damaged by water. 

Wooden tool storage vs metal vs plastic

A few factors come into play when deciding what to pick among these materials. Location and climate are among them as not all are resistant to corrosion and atmospheric damage. Metal tool storages, properly treated and with an anti-corrosion finish, are generally the longest-lived as they won’t rust or degrade. Composite material such as heavy-duty plastic or aluminum is also lightweight, making assembly and transfer simple and easy. 

Wood is a good choice for open-ended storage and fits in well with a garden or backyard, providing you with an easy solution to store gardening tools and other garden essentials.

A woodworke tool chest

How to pick the best tool apron?

A woodworking apron is good for any application that produces large amounts of wooden debris. Designed to protect against sharp and fine particles from getting onto your clothes, woodworking aprons usually extend up to the knees and have an assortment of holders and pockets for wood chisels and accessories.

A carpenter’s apron is another kind of work apron that’s usually shorter but is designed to be able to handle heavier weight as it allows the user to carry around more tools. 

How to pick the best rolling toolbox?

The best rolling toolbox should have the size, capacity, weight, and mobility that are all appropriate for your needs and work demands. As mentioned earlier, you’d want to go with a model that preferably has large wheels. For your cordless power tools and as air tool storage.

Also, something like the DeWalt Toughsystem 2.0, with its multiple, separatable compartments has a big bonus as it gives you more control and flexibility over your organization and sorting options. Well-protected rolling toolboxes are also often spacious and can fit  your most common power tools as well .

How to pick the best rolling tool bag?

Again, think of a rolling tool bag as a sort of tool luggage. You’d want a husky rolling tool bag that’s durable and has plenty of storage space.

Much like a luggage case, they also have telescopic handles, making it easier to carry around heavier loads as opposed to standard hand carry tool kits which can cause strain and fatigue. Though not limited to just hard-case models, it’s better to select ones that have at least reinforced padding to ensure better tool protection. 

Tool bags do good as cordless tool storage especially when you bring cordless tools to service sites.

How to pick a portable tool bag?

No need to pick, you can just go with a plain bucket, it does a pretty decent job in holding stuff anyway. Kidding aside, however, picking a portable tool bag is preferential as they can either be rolled on not tipped over by other trades in the need for a bucket during a concrete pour.

Tool bags can reduce fatigue and effort, it’s better to get wheeled or rolling tool storages. But if those prove too big and impractical, then you can always go with standard hand carry toolbags or the more modern than a bucket.  

How to pick a wall cabinet for tool storage?

A wall cabinet is best for storing a plethora of tools along with all their related components. If you have a lot of small parts, fixings such as screws, nails, drill bits, and even paint, then a wall cabinet makes both storage and organization a lot easier. You can separate the small components from the actual tools by also installing a fixed toolbox, making it less likely for you to mix-up and lose parts. 

Tool racks for different tools

You can also leave space in your tool storage rack and use it as a corded power tool storage for your most common less expensive tools.

How to pick the best toolbox?

The best toolbox should be big enough to fit all your needed tools, but still, be lightweight. Since it will also serve as your primary means of carrying your tools, naturally, it should also be strong and durable.

Not only is an aluminum toolbox professional-looking, but it’s also resistant to corrosion, having a long life-span if taken care of properly. A plastic toolbox may not look as sleek, but at least it’s waterproof and also won’t rust. 

How to pick tool storage for a van or ute?

DIY’ers or casual users can simply use lighter aluminum toolboxes to save on gas and petrol use. For those who are seriously looking to install a ute tool storage, then it’s a good idea to start by measuring the space where it would likely be installed. Once you have this determined, then select appropriately-sized storage with the right capacity for the usual tools that you’d be bringing along.

How to pick a tool backpack?

Depending on the main nature of your work, a good tool backpack should be one that’s big enough to fit all your tools and should have a good number of pockets and sub-compartments to better sort all of your equipment. You’ll want a tool backpack that’s built for heavy use and does reasonably well even in rugged environments.

Always go with the ones made of tough and weather-resistant material with added features such as a phone charger dock and laptop compartment, and a solid waterproof base.

How to pick a garden tool shed?

You have to first take note of your available lot or garden area, you’d want your garden tool shed to be able to fit in it after all. Before heading into the build or material of the shed, consider 1st if you want one that’s either open-ended or enclosed; if you’ll frequent the shed daily, then you can opt to go with an open-ended model.

You can choose from either metal, wood, or composite materials, as long as you make sure that they’re weather-proof. 

A small garden tool shed

Some tips for storing power tools

  • Always go for the larger and more spacious storage solutions when wanting to organize power-tools – they are often bigger and heavier and take up more room than manual ones.
  • Stationary tool storage, like a tool cabinet, works well with power tools as it makes storing and management easier. 
  • If you want to go with compartments or cases, it’s best if you select the ones that have cushions or anything similar that will securely hold your tools in place, especially when in transit. 
  • We recommend utilizing smaller compartments or organizers, properly labeled, to store a power tool’s related accessories and components. 
  • Always manage cords of corded models.

Should you DIY your tool storage for the workshop?

If you are experienced enough, you can actually DIY tool storage yourself. Especially if you’re going with an open-ended storage idea, you can simply use plywood and create a custom wall rack for tools or fixings. In the same sense, you can build either a custom stationery storage or even a DIY garden/tool shed. It’s a bonus if you’re familiar with how to work with and fabricate metals like aluminum. 

Doing it yourself also gives you maximum control – you can even custom build aluminum toolboxes to tailor-fit all of your tools and gear down to the last millimeter. One big advantage of DIY’ing tool storage is that it’ll cost you less, but it will take up more time. Fortunately, if you don’t have much time to spare, you can always hire people to customize storage for you, that is fast and efficient at what they do. 

Organizing hand tool sets and bits

Conclusion 

There are a lot of options available if you’re wanting to have proper tool storage. The best thing is that you don’t have to limit yourself to just one; make the most of the variety and get those which you think will work with you best. Spend a lot of time with wood?

Get either a carpenter’s apron or a woodworking apron; got a lot of heavy tools? Use a rolling toolbox for mobility or a stationary one if you work most of the time at home. Got a boat-load of components? A tool cabinet will take care of all of that for you.

You don’t have to settle with stock models as well. Feeling a tad bit creative? Feel free to modify or custom-build your own! Including larger toolboxes or even fashioning portable tool storage that’s compatible with your car. Whatever the circumstance, there’s no denying that the right tool storage will make your building and DIY life easier and more fun.

A workstation with different tools

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