Reply by macatlin1

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Posted on Organizing and storing the extra stuff

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78 posts in 3505 days

#1 posted 04-12-2015 11:12 AM

As you can see Brett, there are many ways to arrange the shop but I think we have missed your question.

“How do you store things like nails, screws, towels, string, wires, sandpaper, sanding blocks, spare parts, glues, finishes, manuals, and the like? I’m not a very organized person and it’s challenging for me to figure out what to do with these items.”

I store stuff like nails and screws in parts organizers. My favorite being 40 Bin Organizer with Full Length Drawer Item #94375 from Harbor Freight. I sort the nails by size and for screws I devote a column for size (#8, #10, etc) with each drawer in that column for length. If the column is for machine screws I have the proper tap, die and drill bit at the top of the column (I also do machine work). I mostly use paper towels and those are stored by the other household cleaning supplies (SWMBO has space on one wall near the door to the house).

For sand paper I have a small file tote that hanging folders for each size of paper and my shop has a storage space below the planer where I keep sanders, sanding blocks and my belt sander. The ROS is on the wall in an space for air tools. My shop also has a small office nook with a 2 drawer filing cabinet with manuals and warranties. The nook also has hanging cabinets in which I keep boxes of screws and nails. If I empty out a drawer in a parts organizer and I have it “in stock” in the hanging cabinet I refill the drawer in the organizer. I have a white board hanging in the shop and I write down supplies I need or am running low on, so if I need to buy something I can avoid second trips.

For small parts like collets, spray nozzles etc. I put them in drawers in a parts organizer. Larger item go in “ziploc” bags and are placed in banker boxes. If an accessory is used often then it gets a wall hanging or is included in the equipment cleat (like collet wrench for router). Wall worts (accessory transformers) are labelled and either stored with the item or if “orphaned” they are placed in a “ziploc” bag and the bag labelled with the voltage and current. I have a banker box full of these “orphaned” items.

As for finishes, the latex ones go in our pantry since my shop can get below freezing in the winter and a small heater in the pantry keeps that small space from going too cold. Until I get a metal cabinet large cans of solvents are stored in a metal shed separate from the house (along with all the other junk that other members of the family try to store in my shop). Small quantities of solvents are stored in paint cans I bought from the hardware outlet. These include used solvents for cleaning paint brushes and soaking metal parts. For fresh stuff I refill small cans of acetone, paint thinner, and alcohol. For the time being, these cans are stored on a movable shelf unit I have designated as my WIP (work in progress) storage shelf.

The simple answer is to have a place for everything and put it back when your are done. Could be wall hanging, could be cabinets, could be drawers, could be boxes stacked on the floor. If it is out of sight in a box for example LABEL IT. Saves a lot of time, believe me. Keep it organized. For me, I clean up before starting a new project or after I find myself looking for something I just used. Avoid clutter. My “clutter trigger” is when something falls off a pile of other stuff. Think before you buy. Is that tool going to sit in a box unused and forgotten? For me, if I pick up a tool and it is covered in dust I give serious thought as to its usefulness.

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