Seems like I cant keep up with staying organized in spite of my best efforts to keep things clean and trying to find places for tools and parts.
I bought a new rolling cabinet for tools yesterday at Harbor Freight. Lots of fresh new drawers and after stowing away tools in it and organizing other smaller rolling boxes, the shop still looks like a bomb went off in there.
The problem is - it started as a 26x36 woodshop with two end rooms. One end room is open to the air for winter storage and summer working under cover and out of the hot son, and the other end room is 18x24 with a 7.5 foot ceiling that fills up with motors, rolling tools, and a cab.
How do you'all keep your tools organized for starters? Screw drivers are problematic. Do you organize your tool box drawers with the most often used tools at the top? and to follow up, what have you learned to organize parts and tools that I might not have given thought? Lots of small parts seem to collect in strategic piles on horizontal surfaces.
Ideas welcome. Of course, in the ideal world. a separate large room for truck work would be ideal rather than having a table saw, jointer, planer, workbenches, dust collection, oscillating sander, drill presses together and separate from the grunge of metal working and filler sanding.
I share your pain. My garage is 24’ x 24’ with a 13’ x 24’ attic where have a wood shop. The garage area, in addition to my truck, I share with my wife’s car, the 3-1/2’ staircase to get to the wood shop, a couple of 4’ wide shelving units, 5’ workbench, two roll around tool boxes, a 12” Lathe, 16” drill press, bench grinder, mig welder, welding table and all of my electrical, plumbing, homeowner tools and leftover supply's. I still want a hydraulic press, engine hoist and I would love a lift. In order to do any work on my truck, I have to remove my wife’s car just to have a little room.
The only thing that I can suggest is to cover your machines with old sheets. That will at least keep them separated from the grime. I cover my lathe and drill press to help keep them clean. Works like a charm!
Last edited by Phak1; Mon Jul 29 2019 03:07 PM.
1952 Chevrolet 3100 Project Journals ‘59 235 & hydraulic lifters “Three on the Tree” & 4:11 torque tube 12v w/ Alternator
I used to be “not too bad” at keeping things tidy. However, now with two projects simultaneously happening and two very young children,I have to drop things in the shop pretty darn quick and head inside! Needless to say, the shop gets cleaned infrequently!
Through my organizing efforts I am finding things I didn't know I owned. This morning I found a ball joint removal kit in a plastic carrying case. What the? When did i get that? I don't even know if I will ever work on ball joints. Add that to the yard sale pile...unless someone here can tell me some other uses for it ...to justify keeping it..
Last edited by tom moore; Tue Jul 30 2019 11:42 AM.
I have a brother -in-law that puts the tools back as I use them, talk about annoying! I spend half my time looking for something I just laid down. On the other hand when he's there I don't need to clean up the shop.
Come,Bleed or Blister somethings got to give!!! Q:"What yah runnin" A:"3/8 drive Black and Decker aquarium pump motor" (the movie HOTROD)
59' Apache 31, long term project (30 years and counting)
...ball joint removal kit in a plastic carrying case. What the? When did i get that? I don't even know if I will ever work on ball joints. Add that to the yard sale pile...unless someone here can tell me some other uses for it ...to justify keeping it..
If it's the big C-clamp kind keep it. Real handy for pressing bushings in and out of spring hangers on these old trucks, among other similar task.
I'm pretty good at putting things back as I'm done with them (which does noting for longer-term projects). My problem is more of collecting things. I keep getting, or keeping things I know I'm going to need ( some day ). Knowing that if I break down, and throw it away, or sell it. I'll need it the next day, or week. So I guess storage makes my shop messy. Am I alone on this? Bet not.
Just remember, if you are watching the shows on TV, they have a staff that cleans up behind the hosts. Along with someone else likely doing most of the work. It takes a special kind of OCD to keep a shop spotless that is actually doing work on a regular basis. And if you walk into a garage and everything has a place, and is in its place, they likely aren't doing much work. I find myself taking a 5 gallon bucket about once a month and gathering tools and putting them in their place, or attempting to. Most of the time, they just end up sitting in 5 gallon buckets around the shop, or under a project, or on a project, or beside a project. My wife is OCD, organized and all that. My shop gives her anxiety. Good thing is it keeps her out of it! I kinda know where most stuff is, or was. Do I spend extra time looking for a tool, yup! But my shop, my brain, and my life is semi-organized chaos all the time, so it is all still in line with the norm.
Maybe when I am retired and have nothing better to do, I will have a tightly organized ship, but for now, I do what I can do, clean up when I need to, and just tell myself what I tell my real estate clients when they watch too much HGTV, "hey, they still live here too!". I still work here! It will be a mess. Grab a beer, find a empty spot, sit on an empty 5 gallon bucket, and lets do some fun work!
As a wise man said, "An organized clean desk is the sign of a sick mind, or someone who doesn't do much work!"
Moderator - The Electrical Bay and Rocky Mountain Bolters
I will usually put everything "away" when it start tripping over stuff. And It's already time to spend a day cleaning up again! I've got a 24 x 30 separate garage that has tool boxes, shelves, and benches all the way around from floor to ceiling. Plus two cars! I need to dispose of one of my vehicles asap so I can move the 67 'burb into the garage. My neighbor is the HOA president and they don't take kindly to my projects being outside. Besides that, it's too cold to work outside for long.
I recently bought one of the mid-sized rolling boxes from HF. I also bought the short hanging box that goes on the side, plus the tall box with the door for the other side. I put my flat tips in the top drawer of the side box, then the x-tips, then whatever. I use the top drawers on the big box for misc bs. then standard wrenches, metric wrenches with the sockets in the smaller drawer next to them. This keeps the tools handy and fairly easy to find (assuming that they are not piled up next to an ongoing project!!!!
Dare I start posting pictures of my tool box.....again?
The problem is, no matter how many tools you have, some never to be used again, you always need to buy more! I use be able to carry every tool I owned in a small tool box in the trunk, and fix almost everything on the car. Now you need a trailer to haul all of the tools you might need.
Last edited by 4100 Fire Truck; Mon Dec 23 2019 11:05 PM.
Years ago I quit saving that "leftover piece of wire" realizing that I never remembered that I had some when I needed it! Unless you have a system where you can inventory those "this and thats" I just tossed them. Yes, I threw away coinage but like I stated above, I never remembered I had the stuff to begin with let alone where I put it. I now have a new shop with ample room for storage and labeling of such. My OCD has been a blessing and a curse...now that I have space, it's coming in quite handy!
Back in high school, I worked as a gas station attendant at our local Texaco station. We attendants usually started at 5:00 p.m. and closed at 9:00 on weekdays. One of our jobs was to wipe down and put away the boss' tools...good training 50 years later!
After beginning the restoration process on my truck, I learned rather quickly that I would need to develop a system for keeping up with the parts and fasteners that would be organized and efficient. I am, like some of you, working out of my garage where my wife parks. There are also other various items, some actually related to this restoration process.
My solution, go vertical and mobile! I recently purchased a Slat Grid Panel rack that is a little less than 8’ tall, and it consist of three panels bolted to a base like a triangle. I found it locally and it is old and built like a tank. I cleaned it up, painted it, and placed HF Casters on it so I can move it around.
I have been taking pictures of everything as I dissemble each part. (My photographic memory now consist of, “Did I take enough pictures”.) Then, I am bagging and tagging the parts and fasteners along with a reference number to the disassembly picture. I download the pictures to my computer and I have organized the pictures into a file system.
Here are some pictures of my rack. Please do not judge my garage just yet; I am just now getting started. You can see parts all over the tailgate and probably in many other places.
I can also use the rack to hang some project specific tools.
My goal is to complete this project a little at a time without blowing the truck apart, but some things take a while. This is a work in progress and it will always be a struggle, but that is the fun part, figuring things out in the garage.
I also like the pegboard idea. That is where I keep most of my screwdrivers and open-end wrenches. If you do not put something back, you can tell.
1954 3100 w/Hydra-Matic
"It does not matter how slowly you go as long as you do not stop." and "To know what you know and what you do not know, that is true knowledge." - Confucius