As I started doing more and more projects in my garage, I soon realized I had no idea how to go about organizing tools in garage workshops.
With a lot of trial and error, I found some things that worked really well…and others that didn’t.
It’s amazing how much space you can save with a few good garage organization ideas. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Start With a Clean, Organized Garage First
One of the best things I did to my garage was to organize it so I could find everything quickly.
It hasn’t been an easy road, but hopefully, my experience can help save you some time and frustration.
Decluttering your garage is the first and most crucial step towards a well-organized, clean, and hazard-free workplace.
If your garage is stuffed full of old clothes, toys, sports equipment, and odd tools, there’s no room for your next DIY project. No matter what your garage’s dimensions are, you need to create dedicated space specifically for you and your tools.
Once you have some open garage floor space to dedicate to tool storage, start by removing all items that you don’t need anymore.
Depending on how full your garage is, start by dividing your stuff into two separate piles: one to dispose of and one to organize later.
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 a Specific Area For Your Workbench and Tools
Everybody needs a good place to work in your garage.
You might only need a workbench for smaller projects, but for larger projects, you might need to use your entire garage.
Regardless of the size of your garage, you need to divide your space into smaller sections to make the most of it. This is especially critical for small garages.
Here are some garage storage ideas to help organize your tools:
- A workbench – either foldable or mobile
- Closed cabinets – for chemicals, power tools, and hazardous materials
- Open shelves and drawers (preferably with clear plastic bins) – for equipment and items that need to be readily accessible
- A wall mounted organizer, wire shelving, or pegboards – for smaller items
- Heavy-duty steel shelves for heavy or bulky items
- Wire and cable organizers
- Separate storage for rechargeable batteries and power tools
- Extension cord reel mounted to your garage ceiling so 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.
Add More Storage Space with Shelves & Cabinets
Sturdy shelves and cabinets are at the core of your garage storage system. They’ll store items like long handled tools, gardening supplies, sports equipment, and other miscellaneous tools.
Take advantage of any open wall space that you have. This includes the vertical space directly above your workbench.
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, and some extra floor boards for my bedroom. I’ve also dedicated a shelf to oversized items like air filters, accessories for my pressure washer, and some storage bins.
Near our garage entry door, I have small wire shelving as a catch all area for car keys, hats, and umbrellas.
The right mix of shelves will see some wall shelves above your work area and some floor-standing units. For additional storage space, you can use overhead storage above your garage door.
This way, you can keep the stuff you use most at arms reach and keep the things you use less often out of the way until you need them.
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 and other items that could be hazardous. They’re also a great place to store things you want to keep away from kids or pets.
I use two freestanding Gladiator cabinets and several wall-mounted cabinets. I also organize my workshop tools in a Gladiator GearDrawer, which has Kaizen Foam inserts.
The smaller freestanding cabinet holds the garden supplies I want to keep out of the way. These are fertilizer and weed killer, sprinkler supplies, and some tools I use less frequently.
The larger freestanding cabinet holds all my old paint cans, wood stains, 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 check out this article, where I list the prices for thirty different garage cabinets from various manufacturers.
Create More Wall Space With Magnetic Strips and Pegboards
Peg boards should be home to those tools that you will need every day. If you like having your tools on display, pegboards are a great organization system with endless customization possibilities.
The area above your workbench is prime real estate to store are the ones we use the most. I use my peg board to hang screwdrivers, some cleaning supplies and open baskets with small screws and accessories.
Leaving your tools out after a day’s work makes your workspace look messy, which we’re trying to avoid, right?
Yet, any drawer dedicated to them quickly becomes cluttered, making it challenging for you to find anything.
Some people store absolutely everything on pegboards, which I’m not a huge fan of. I prefer using them in small sections of your walls. They’re perfect for storing screwdrivers, glue, adhesive tape, scissors, cutter, and smaller electric tools.
If pegboards aren’t your style, a magnetic strip or mat is a great place to store knives, screwdrivers, or other small items like nails, nuts, and bolts overnight.
Use Mobile Tool Carts to Keep Tools Organized on the Go
If working on cars or motorcycles is your thing, you should organize your workshop tools in a mobile tool cart instead.
Large workbenches are great, but they take up a massive amount of garage space. Foldable workbenches can be stored out of the way against the wall or in the corner of your workshop.
But if you have a bunch of home improvement projects where you need to be able to move freely, a mobile tool cart 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 tool cart, I recommend subdividing it into at least two compartments.
One should host the tools you use more frequently, and the second should store the other tools you like to have at your fingertips.
Alternately, you could mount a magnetic strip to your mobile workbench for easy access to hand tools.
Don’t Overlook Great DIY Storage Ideas
A dedicated place to keep all your rechargeable batteries and chargers is a must. You can use a cabinet with a wire grommet like mine or build your own solution like Evan and Katelyn’s video below.
There are so many different types and brands of rechargeable batteries, so this will likely be a DIY solution. But a good-looking garage (or anything else) doesn’t have wires hanging everywhere.
Do you have any finished toilet paper rolls? If so, save the inner carton tube, and you will have the perfect cable holder!
Wires and cables lying on the floor make it 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.
The Best Garage Organization Ideas Grow With You
Organizing your workshop tools can seem like a big project at first. But following these tips and tricks doesn’t have to be.
Every new project will have different needs if you’re a weekend DIY warrior. Your workshop can change along with those needs by setting up your garage with mobile shelves, pegboard, cabinets, foldable workbenches, or flexible panels.
Proper garage organization will ensure you have enough space for all the stuff you need for your next project.