Ok, folks, I've been doing this for awhile and my shop always looks like a bomb went off.  I've got benches everywhere, and pegboard everywhere.  Everywhere I can put a bench or hang pegboard or cabs I have.  However, the one thing lacking was drawer space.


In the next couple of months I'm going to buy 2 or 3 of the cheapo Craftsman tool cabs.  I've already got one that sits right under and next to my main bench.


In the meantime, does anyone have any other suggestions on how to organize?


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pull away from the wall leaving access to the dust build up make an island work bench in the middle of the room if you need to go up against the wall in a small shop make sure it is easily cleaned with out any problems and make it as dust free as you may .my work bench is like a a mess all the time Ill wrap up cords that's about it ,high functioning shops never have the time to truly organize and any place is a good place to hang your Hat. sooo just about any Organization will be to your benefit as tools increase ,now I have a dust free zone in which ill dedicate to electronics frets nuts saddles ... tree cutting at the MGM mill ,wood drying at the MGM wood kiln nitro at the MGM spray Booth/ shop ,and I have my personal shop so I am guessing in order to cut the middle man out and be self sufficient you need 4 or 5 locations as big as a persons two car ,car port /shop My DAD always said if you GO .GO BIG.and my Grand Father always said if your gonna buy tools have enough money to buy two sets or nothing at all this is where I stand today go big or go home and build from scratch when I tell folks I build from scratch I am telling them I claimed these giant 6 foot diameter trees and made it into a musical instrument with aesthetics to die for may have taken 4 years to dry but heck more claro walnut for another 5000 sets I am covered. I had to think out of the shop for possibilities and people are willing to watch you succeed having said this there are others out there who don't I happen to ignore them and Know they do not know ME.and when confronted they don't even have a reason other than they are board .
Bus bins - those plastic tubs that restaurants use to clean up dishes. I have about 15, and I made a rack with rails so that they slide in and out like drawers. One has spool clamps, one has small clamps, one has big clamps, you get the idea. This can go under a work bench, or on a wall. Now my garage just looks like a smaller bomb went off...

I'm a fan of Marks system - I have all my stuff arranged in group functions -  I use tradesman tool boxes with lift out top trays to store and arrange similar items - all drilling/reaming /countersinking/ doweling items in one box...all soldering /wiring/electrical testing in another,......all fretting/nut filing/nuts and saddles in another- you get the drift.  These boxes stack and when required the tools needed for the particular job are arranged in the top tray and taken to the bench en mass.   I use the tray as a "use and replace" tidy all and when done it all goes back in one trip to the main tool box. The wheel about tradesman tool boxes with multiple drawers would do this function equally well and store stuff  vertically so the floor footprint is small.  

On my main repair work bench we have a 'most used tool tray'  which contains a set of the most regularly used tools for immediate access.  Another tip is to buy your tools with different color handles for different function and sizes of tool -  makes finding them and picking up the correct tool easier.   Stuff like this seems to help a bit.  Rusty.

I have used old filing cabinets that I buy at second-hand stores and garage sales for many years. They "work" for me and come in many different sizes, holding an amazing amount of tools, material, parts, and even small instruments. The first thing I do is to install casters on them for obvious reasons. Hope this helps you, Kevin.

Have a good day...

Organization has been my achilles heel, always ending-up with little boxes of god-knows-what.  One stroke of luck has been the acquisition of a public library catalog card file unit. It came from an acquaintance whose construction company remodels libraries.  This unit was (like many these days, so I've heard) obsolete because of newer electronic filing methods at libraries. Got it for a song.


It's double-sided, so there's a total of 120 drawers. The only drawbacks are (a). it weighs about 800lbs empty, and (b). the drawers are plastic and not flat on the bottom, limiting the storage somewhat. Beggars cannot be choosers, however. Here's a couple of shots just before renting the truck with a lift-gate to get it to my shop.

W O W   Mike -- where did ya get that storage system?? if I had a shop big enough to put it in then I would try to own one somehow--  I'm impressed--  Peace,Donald
Holy sweet mother of god, you are my hero!

Well, yeah, it's a fine unit.... but (not meaning to dismiss it's use) take a gander at the drawers themselves. The rod running down the center can be removed, but the sides are short and the bottom isn't flat by any stretch.

I've looked at inserting cardboard boxes to fit, but nothing comes really close and the pro box companies want a fortune to custom-make them... not to mention a minimum quantity in the thousands... so that's out. The next move is to try to put wheels on it, keeping a keen eye on the height and tip-over factors. It weighs a ton. 

Having said all that, it's better to have it than not.  Stop-by your local libraries and strike a conversation with someone behind the counter. If they've been there a while, they may know of a similar catalog file unit gathering dust somewhere. 



Mike, looks to me like you need to go into the box making trade for a little while. 


On the other hand, deeper draws mean more junk too while shallow draws will probably catch less junk and you could cut 1/8 in ply to get flat bottoms.


I have a (much)smaller steel index card cabinet that I setup years ago to store smaller computer components. Most if it's useless now. I really should empty it out and make better use if it now. Lots of small draws are endlessly handy.



As a librarian I love those old catalog drawers.  The nicest ones were solid oak.  Those fetch a pretty penny on the antiques market.  If that came from a smaller library it could have been their entire card catalog, but more likely for the shelf list.  Those same librarians you got that from might have empty card boxes.  They are slightly taller than the sides on the drawer and may work temporarily for ya. 

As far as what worked for me, retractable extension cords.  They're great, on those big spring loaded reels.  Other office products that work well, 4 level horizontal in-out box that I lined with cork for all the files and rasps.  Vertical organizers work great for sand-paper and discs.  I picked them up for $.25 each at a thrift store.

Take more things off the walls and put them in drawers. For years I had a shop with all the tools hung on walls and it was a dusty nightmare. Drawers (mine are made from odd building scraps) are far more efficient, and cleaner too.


Notice the vacuum in the corner?



North facing windows = no sun or heat problems. Counters are carpeted, and of different heights, to facilitate sit-down and stand-up kinds of work. This is what I did when I had a chance to start over about 25 years ago. I'd do it again. There's an adjacent room with concrete floors and big doors that holds the big messy power tools and compressed air.

That is a beautiful shop Paul - I'm kinda at a loss for words here.


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