Screw Loose? How to Organize Screws and Nails in Your Garage

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If you’re like me, you’ve probably been in the middle of a project, and you have to stop everything to find that elusive screw or nail you need.

You’re positive that you bought it but can’t find it to save your life. It’s the same thing with a 10mm socket, but that’s a totally different article. 

Don’t worry. I’ve got the solution. 

In this article, we’ll look at some great ways to organize screws, nails, and other small items in your garage. We’ll cover a whole range of storage ideas for nails and screws from simple, DIY methods to modular systems.

Whether you’re looking for portability or simply trying to use your garage space best, we’ve got you covered. 

How to Organize Screws and Nails: DIY Solutions

In this section, we’ll explore several easy, budget-friendly DIY methods for organizing screws and nails. This will help keep your workspace neat so every screw, nail, and nut is there when you need it. 

Glass Masonry Jars or Plastic Containers

Here’s a straightforward DIY way to organize nails and screws: use plastic containers or glass jars.

They’re simple, practical storage for your nails and screws. 

You probably have a few of these hiding in your pantry right now. 

Even those little items you might not think twice about, like pill bottles, can prove handy. They’re perfect as compact storage for tiny screws. 

I have a few to hold space screws for my RC cars. It helps me keep track of those tiny bits that seem to disappear when I need them.

Next, let’s shift gears and talk about labeling. 

It’s not the most glamorous part of garage organization, but trust me, it’s essential. 

Always make sure that each container is labeled with the type and size of the contents inside. All it takes is a piece of masking tape and a marker, and you’ll find what you need within seconds.

So, what’s the benefit of using glass or clear plastic containers? 

First, clear containers mean you can easily see what’s inside, so no more wasted time rifling through a clutter of fasteners. 

Second, they’re very convenient to access. Unscrew the lid, and you have what you need right at your fingertips. 

Plus, these containers are portable if your project takes you on the go. Just throw the container you need in your duffle bag, and away you go.

However, every solution has its potential drawbacks. 

Glass jars, while clear and sturdy, are prone to breaking. Though more durable, plastic containers may not provide the same level of visibility. And bear in mind you’ll still need enough shelf or drawer space for all these containers. 

Storing screws and nails in masonry jars Pin

Tackle Boxes

It might sound like we’re swapping drills for fishing rods, but stick with me. 

Tackle boxes have compartmentalized storage for fishing gear, lures, and other small items. That makes them perfect for segregating different types and sizes of nails and screws.

From traditional fishing tackle boxes to tool boxes or even craft storage boxes, there’s a vast range of options available in various sizes and styles. 

But here’s the secret to making the most of tackle box storage: it’s all in how you group them. 

Group similar types and sizes of screws and nails together in each compartment. 

Give those 1-inch wood screws their own suite. And the 2-inch drywall nails? They’ve got their VIP area. 

Don’t forget to label everything here as well. 

So, what makes the tackle box such an attractive choice? 

First, their compact design provides a space-saving solution for your garage. Plus, they’re portable, making them an ideal companion for tasks that take you beyond the garage. 

And let’s not underestimate their durability. Most tackle boxes are built to take a beating.

There’s a flip side, though. 

While tackle boxes ace the test for small to medium-sized assortments of screws and nails, they’re not that good if you have a large collection of screws, nuts, and nails you’re trying to organize. 

Also, finding a specific nail or screw might take longer than the jar method. But the tackle box could be a good option if you’re after a portable, space-saving solution. 

Ziploc Bags

Our next organizational tactic strips things back to basics: ziplock bags. 

Yes, the same thing you use to store leftovers or pack sandwiches. 

It may sound strange, but these everyday essentials can be real game-changers in wrangling your nails and screws. 

Let’s break down how.

Ziploc bags come in various sizes, making them perfect for different hardware. From standard sandwich bags for the average sizes to snack-sized bags for those smaller screws and nails, all the way up to a quart or gallon-sized freezer bags for the bulkier items. 

They provide a flexible and scalable storage solution that can match the size and quantity of your fasteners.

When organizing screws and nails in Ziploc bags, dedicate a specific type or size of screw or nail to each bag. Then, clearly label each one with a permanent marker. 

As with the jars and tackle boxes, this approach will speed up your search for the right piece. You can store these bags by hanging them on hooks or pegboards or tucking them into a box or drawer.

So, why bring Ziploc bags into your garage? 

First off, they’re affordable and readily available. You probably have a stash in your kitchen drawer right now. They’re flexible and transparent, so you can easily see what’s inside. Because they’re so light, they’re simple to move around and take with you on the go.

That said, while inexpensive, Ziploc bags aren’t as durable as plastic containers or tackle boxes. They’re easily torn or punctured, especially when storing sharp nails or screws. 

Also, if you opt for hanging storage and have a large collection, things could get crowded. 

Perfect example of how to organize screws and nails in a drawer Pin

DIY Hardware Cabinet

If you don’t mind a bit of DIY, this next method might interest you. 

Have you ever thought of constructing your own hardware cabinet? Now, don’t worry. We’re not suggesting an intricate woodworking project. Instead, we’re talking about a simple, customized storage system that’s specific to your needs.

It can take many forms, like an upcycled old cabinet, a customized set of drawers, shelves, or even pegboards. 

The result is a dedicated space for organizing screws and nails so they’re always within reach and easy to locate.

Start by deciding on the style and size that works with your garage and your assortment of nails and screws. 

Some storage ideas for nails and screws include:

Why go the DIY route? 

A homemade hardware cabinet offers endless customization opportunities. You’re in the driver’s seat, designing a solution that fits your needs. Plus, it’s something you’ll be proud to showcase to your friends.

That said, building a DIY hardware cabinet demands a little more time and effort compared to other methods we’ve explored. 

You might have to pick up some woodworking skills, depending on how complicated it is. 

And while it provides substantial storage, it’s typically not as portable as other options.

What are Modular Storage Systems?

Let’s switch gears and delve into an off-the-shelf solution for organizing screws and nails: modular storage systems. 

You might also hear them called portable toolboxes. But basically, we’re talking about super-handy, connectable storage boxes that you can easily stack or use separately. 

Examples include:

  • Milwaukee Packout
  • DeWalt Tough System
  • Flex Stack Pack
  • Craftsman VersaStack
  • Ridgid Pro Box

They’re like the Voltron of tool storage: each unit can stand alone or combine to form the ultimate storage solution.

What’s really cool about them? 

Aside from making your garage look sleek, they’re tough as nails (pun intended) and can stand up to a lot of abuse. 

They’re also really flexible – you can mix and match units to fit your space, and if your needs change, it’s easy to add or reconfigure.

Need more room? Add another module. Working on a project at a friend’s place? Just take the specific module you need.

You’ve got plenty of options here. 

Modular toolboxes and storage systems are great for organizing screws and nailsPin

DeWalt’s ToughSystem is a popular choice, and it’s built like a tank. Then there’s Milwaukee’s Packout system, which is user-friendly, tough, and well-loved by tool enthusiasts. Flex’s Stack Pack system is a newer kid on the block but has been getting thumbs up for its innovative design.

But how do you pick the right system? 

Honestly, it’s a bit like choosing a new car. 

You’ll want to think about size – do you have enough space in your garage? How about capacity – do you need to store a few screws and nails or a whole hardware store? 

And don’t forget about compatibility with your existing tools and storage solutions. Mobility might also be key if you plan to cart your stuff around.

Think about your specific needs. 

Are you a homeowner with a weekend DIY habit? Or a contractor with a serious need for organization on job sites? 

Take some time to check out your options, think about your needs, and pick a system that will make your life easier.

Optimizing Your Modular Storage System For Screws & Nails

Alright, so you’ve picked out a modular storage system, and it’s sitting in your garage. Now what?

Let’s talk about some details to really make this system work hard for you.

Think of these systems as a new addition to your toolkit or your latest favorite app. 

You wouldn’t simply add it to your collection and leave it there, right? 

You’d explore its features, change a few settings, and mold it to fit your unique situation. 

The same principle applies to a modular storage system.

Prioritize your setup. Arrange your units with the tools and accessories you frequently use on top or in easily reachable compartments. 

After all, why should you have to maneuver past three boxes to grab your go-to screws?

And let’s not forget labels. Labeling is your friend, just like everywhere else in your garage. 

Put labels on everything. Trust me, you’ll thank yourself later. 

Have a variety of nails? Label them. Those tiny screws for eyeglass repair? Absolutely, label them. 

This simple step can save you precious time rummaging around later.

But organization shouldn’t stop on the outside. 

Inside the boxes, consider incorporating dividers or smaller containers. Many systems also offer handy additional accessories or inserts for greater customization.

For example, DeWalt’s ToughSystem lets you add an extra tote or two to categorize your screws and nails by size and type. 

If you’ve opted for Milwaukee’s Packout, it comes with convenient little bins that clip onto the inside, perfect for those small parts.

Most modular toolboxes let you combine units in different ways for a completely personalized setup. Feel free to mix and match!

Remember, this is all about making the system work for you. 

So go ahead and stack, label, and organize until you’ve crafted a storage system that would make even a professional garage organizer envious.

DEWALT Tough System Storage Organizer
  • Clear lid for full visibility of the tool storage
  • Includes 4 large and 8 small removable cups
  • Integrated IP65 water seal
  • Stacking side latches allow attaching additional organizers or other ToughSystem modules
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Wrapping It Up

There’s no shortage of creative and effective methods when it comes to organizing screws and nails in your garage. 

Whether you prefer the simplicity of Ziploc bags, the customizability of a DIY hardware cabinet, or the portability of a tackle box, the key is to choose a solution that aligns with your specific needs and the space you have available.

We’ve covered how to organize screws and nails with DIY solutions, cabinets, and drawers, but my favorite is modular storage systems. 

With their durability, versatility, and interlocking designs, these systems offer a simple, professional approach to organizing your screws and nails.

We looked at several systems, including DeWalt’s ToughSystem, Milwaukee’s Packout, Craftsman VersaStack, and Ridgid’s Tool Box.

No matter which of these storage ideas for nails and screws you choose, the best system is the one that helps you find what you need when you need it. Properly organizing screws and nails will save you time and frustration and help you enjoy your DIY projects more. 

Don’t be afraid to try out a few different methods to see which works best for you.

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Tim Wells

Tim Wells, the founder of Garage Transformed, has been featured in dozens of home renovation publications, including, Home Stratosphere, House Digest, Livingetc, and SFGate. Since 2018, he has helped over two million people transform their everyday garages into something they can be proud of. He lives in Central Florida with his wife and bulldog.

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