8 DIY hacks for keeping your workshop tidy

Updated: October 28, 2019

Photo by Lorimer Images/Shutterstock

A well-ordered workspace means less time spent searching for tools and less money wasted on supplies — because you forgot you already had four copper elbows hidden in your messy shop. So let’s get tidy.

Step 1

Keep your tools at hand with a pegboard. Hooks will hang most stuff, but also include a few magnetic studs; they fit into pegboard holes and hold up metal items that won’t hang on a hook.

Step 2

If your shelves are crowded, you can gain extra storage by screwing jar lids to the underside of said shelves and then threading the container to the lid.

Step 3

Take advantage of the space between ceiling joists. Fasten a full length 1×10 board to the underside to store things such as electrical wire, oil, antifreeze, or cans of paint.

Step 4

There is a 42″ window in my shop, and just below the frame I built a narrow shelf where I put small, shallow aluminum candy tins with transparent lids, which are ideal for tiny items such as small wire terminals, plastic plugs, and specialty screws.

Step 5

You can hang screwdrivers in a commercial rack, but making your own is easy: one piece of wood, with suitably sized and spaced holes, fastened to a mounting piece and screwed to a workbench or wall.

Step 6

You can also hack those empty plastic five-gallon paint pails for storage with stacking systems like the Bucket Boss. Its round trays fit inside and hold screws, nails, nuts and bolts, plumbing and electrical supplies…just about anything, actually. Just grab the bucket and go.

Step 7

Metal shelf brackets take advantage of the wasted space between open wall studs. The brackets fit 1⁄2″ plywood shelves and are super straightforward to install. My shelves are 6″ deep, and I mitre the corners to reduce body-to-corner contact.

Step 8

I invested in two good-quality front-loading racks and placed them along two walls to store my lumber—one set for longer stock, one for shorter pieces. I positioned the former just far enough above the floor to clear sheet goods such as 4×8 plywood.

Illustration of an organized workshop
Illustration by Jacques Perrault

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