As I started doing more and more projects in my garage, I soon realized that I had a problem.
I had no idea how I should organize my garage workshop tools.
With a lot of trial and error, I found a couple of things that worked really well…and some things that didn’t.
Let’s take a look at some of them.
Clear up your workspace
One of the best things I did to my garage was to get it organized. That way I can find everything quickly. I’m not going to say it’s been an easy road, but hopefully I can help save you some time and frustration along the way.
The first and probably most important step towards a well-organized, clean, and hazard-free workplace is decluttering your garage.
If you’ve been storing old clothes, toys, sports equipment, and odd tools in your garage for years, it might be challenging to concentrate in such a chaotic environment. Once you have decided what area you are going to dedicate to your project, start by getting rid of all items for which you cannot find practical use.
Depending on how busy your garage is, start by dividing the useful and non-useful items into two separate piles: one to dispose of and one to organize later on.
This includes your tools!
If you’re like me, you’ve got tools that are broken or missing pieces. The easiest way to organize your workshop tools is to get rid of what you don’t need.
Once you know the quantity and nature of the things to sort out, it will be easier to design your workspace!
Create separate zones within your garage
Everybody needs a good place to work in your garage.
For smaller projects, you might only need a workbench. For bigger projects, you might need to use every square inch of space you have.
Regardless of how big your garage is, you need to think about how to divide up your space so you can make the most of it.
Here are some possibilities:
- A workbench – either foldable or mobile
- Closed cabinets – for chemicals, power tools, and hazardous materials
- Open shelves and drawers – for equipment and items that need to be readily accessible
- Wall organizers or pegboards – for smaller items
- Wires and cable organizers
- Separate storage for rechargeable batteries and power tools
- Extension cord reel to make sure you have power wherever you need it
It’s a good idea to use these suggestions as a starting point and adapt them to your needs and preferences.
Once you’ve got an initial design set up, you’ll be able to adjust the design of your garage from project to project.
Set up shelves and cabinets
Sturdy shelves and cabinets are at the core of your garage storage system. They’ll host the majority of your tools and power tools.
I use some heavy duty garage shelves to store the heavy items that I want to keep off my garage floor.
These include extra tiles for my kitchen and bathroom, as well as some extra floor boards for my bedroom. I’ve also dedicated a shelf to oversized items like air filters and extensions for my pressure washer.
The right mix of shelves will see some directly above the workplace and some floor-standing units. This way you can keep the stuff you use most at arms reach and keep the stuff you don’t out of the way until you do need it.
Cabinets are the centerpiece of your garage, so choose wisely here.
Cabinets with doors are an essential part of any garage because they’re a safe place to store chemicals other items that could be hazardous. They’re also a great place to store things that you want to keep away from kids or pets.
The smaller freestanding cabinet holds my garden supplies that I want to keep out of the way. This is things like fertilizer and week killer, but also sprinkler supplies and some tools that I use infrequently.
The larger freestanding cabinet holds all of my old paint cans, wood stain, drywall tools and supplies. It’s my miscellaneous cabinet for things that don’t otherwise have a home.
Garage cabinets range in price between $100 and $800, depending on the size and options. For more details, I recommend checking out my article where I list the prices for thirty different cabinet examples from different manufacturers.
Make the most out of the walls with magnetic panels and pegboards
Pegboards should be home to those tools that you will need every day. If you like having your tools on display, pegboards are a great way to keep them organized as well. Some of the most challenging tools to store are the ones that are the most in use.
Leaving your tools out after a day’s work makes your workspace look messy, which is what we’re trying to avoid, right? Yet, any drawer dedicated to them unfailingly becomes cluttered, making it challenging for you to find anything.
I’m not a huge fan of pegboards, but I will say that they’re the best of both worlds for many people. They’re perfect for storing screwdrivers, glue, adhesive tape, scissors, cutter, smaller electric tools.
If pegboards aren’t your style, magnetic panels or stripes are a great place to store knives, screwdrivers, or other small items like nails, nuts, and bolts overnight.
Use a mobile workbench as a tool cart
If working on cars or motorcycles is your thing, you might want to organize your workshop tools in a mobile workbench instead.
Large workbenches are great, but they take up a large amount of garage space. A foldable workbench can be stored out of the way against the wall or in a corner of your workshop.
But if you have a bunch of projects where you need to be able to move freely, a mobile workbench could be the answer. Some, like my Gladiator GearDrawer, even include closed cabinets and open shelves that make them perfect to follow you around the garage during the day.
When you start to organize your workbench, I recommend subdividing it into at least two compartments.
One of these should host the tools you are using more frequently. The second should store the other tools that you like to have at your fingertips.
Create a battery recharging station
Whether you use cabinet with a wire grommet like I did or build your own solution like Evan and Katelyn’s video below, having one dedicated place to keep all of your rechargeable batteries and chargers is a must.
Because there are so many different types and brands of rechargeable batteries, this is probably going to have to be a DIY solution. But a good looking garage (or anything else for that matter) doesn’t have wires hanging everywhere.
DIY tricks for wires and cables
Do you have any finished toilet paper rolls? Don’t throw away the inner carton tube, and you will have the perfect cable holder! Wires and cables are one of the most dangerous health hazards in a workspace as it is easy to trip over them while working.
Keeping cables organized and distinguished from each other has always been a DIYer’s challenge. Yet, it is easy to store them correctly by dedicating a whole draw to them and keeping them in place with paper clips.
Adjust as you go!
Organizing your workshop tools can seem like a big project at first. But by following these tips and tricks, it doesn’t have to be.
If you’re a weekend DIY warrior, every new project will have different needs.
By setting up your garage with mobile shelves, pegboard, cabinets, foldable workbenches or flexible panels, your workshop can change along with those needs.