Automotive tools are to a mechanic what surgical tools are to a doctor. Without them, the professionals would be very limited in what they can do. You may remember a time you could count all your tools on the fingers of one hand when you were starting out as an auto mechanic. Organizing and storing them was easy as counting to three. But, as time went by, new tools got added to your collection.
Now, keeping your tools organized and storing them properly becomes a massive task as you acquire more and more. You must have that new auto mechanic toolkit with SAE sockets. The latest edition of the hydraulic kit that’s so lightweight and portable-yes, please! And have you seen the stuff they’re coming up with for positioning devices? Marvelous floor jacks straight out of the science fiction – good enough to lift entire countries!
Here we’re going to discuss a few ingenious ways to help you organize your automotive tools by size, function, and portability, then add some tips on storage so that retrieval and subsequent organization isn’t a hassle.
Before you look for storage options, you should sort all your tools to have a rough idea of how much storage space will be required, what needs to go where, and what needs to go, period. Now that you’re all set let’s look at some creative ways to organize and store tools.
Six Creative Ideas to Organize and Store Tools
1. Tool Bags
Tools Bags are the modern-day equivalent of toolboxes. Like heavy-set suitcases have given way to backpacks, clever tool bags with loads of pockets have taken over boxy and heavy tool chests. These tool bags are rugged, lightweight yet sturdy, durable, weather-resistant, comfortable to carry, can be worn as backpacks, and have plenty of storage capacity to hold all kinds of irregularly shaped tools like funnels to impact wrenches.
Tool bags have customized pockets and attachments for specific and essential tools, so you always know what’s where. This helps in keeping your stuff organized even when you’re on the move. The most significant advantage of using a tool bag is portability. Unlike wooden racks, wall-mounted storage units, and pegboards, these bags aren’t fixed in your garage. If you need to carry your tools to different places, there’s no additional hassle of packing and unpacking. These bags also come in a wide range of shapes and sizes so that you can choose one depending on your needs. We recommend this guide to the 30 best tool bags to help you zero in on one pronto!
2. Tool Storage Unit with Pegboard
There’s no one-size-fits-all readymade storage solution for organizing tools. Every mechanic has a collection of tools that’s pretty much unique to him/her. The best way to store them besides using tool bags is to build a custom storage unit that will have dedicated space for all the tools in your garage. The good news is, you already have all the right tools to build this storage unit.
You can improve space utilization by using pegboards instead of regular wooden slabs. We don’t have to tell you about the versatility of pegboards when it comes to hanging hardware. Pegboards maximize vertical space as well as increase the surface area for hanging more tools.
3. Wall Strips
Perhaps you’re not the kind of person who likes cabinets and closets in the garage-ruddy exteriors and open spaces is more your style. Then ditch the storage cabinet and go with the bare-minimum wall strip. Wall strips will effectively use up all the vertical space in your garage. Each strip could act as a zone for a particular set of tools.
You can use anchor hooks to hang the heavier tools onto these strips or magnetic hooks for the smaller ones. Just make sure you organize the tools on these strips by a specific code like size or groups of devices that perform a particular function. Having a simple organizational theme makes it easy for you to retrieve your tools without looking for them for a long while; it can also help your garage look tidy. Just make sure there’s a method to the madness.
4. Mobile Workbench
Garage workbenches with wheels can be customized to hold all the power tools required to get the job done. You can add drawers for keeping smaller items like nuts and bolts, add wooden strips to the sides to store all the screwdrivers, attach pegboards on the sides, and back to hang tools like drip pans or tools that are in use. You can keep larger tools like air compressors, inflators, etc., on the shelves. Mobile workbenches can be hauled easily over long distances and help you work around the house with ease.
Another variation on the mobile workbench would be a tool trolley. These trolleys use high-quality ball bearings to allow users to slide the pull-out racks with ease, without causing much wear and tear due to the heavy storage equipment. Unlike the mobile workbench, a tool trolley doesn’t provide a work surface. Still, for the purpose of portability and having your heavy-duty tools organized and easily accessible, both have their benefits. A mobile workbench can also be one of the safest ways to transport tools.
5. Baskets, Mason Jars, Totes, and More
Every tool bench in the world gathers dust, although in some areas it’s a more sinister problem. Live in an area where open cabinets are simply not feasible? You’ll have to look for alternative storage containers that will protect your tools from dust-related damage, rusting, and wear and tear on similar lines.
We recommend open shelf cabinets to store large, transparent, plastic totes with clear labels for items like paint rollers, diagnostic tools, brake-bleeding kits, and so on. Small mason jars will do for things like screws, fasteners, nails, washers, bolts, etc. Paint cans, lubricants, and other sealed cannisters can go into open baskets as they’re already vacuum sealed.
Pro tip: Screw the lids of the mason jars to the undersides of open shelves. Now it’s easier to unscrew the jars and put them back when their work is done without losing their lids. This will also free up much needed counter space.
6. Readymade Tool Kits
This doesn’t sound very creative, but it’s one of the best solutions for those who struggle to stay organized. As a mechanic, you will end up owning a lot of specialized tool sets that perform dedicated functions: steering wheel remover kits, hex key sets, wheel nut locks, and more. If you have trouble organizing all your tools, then let these kits stay together in their standard packages. Just line a wall of your garage with open wooden shelves to place the kits on.
This is the least you can do to introduce some organization to your madcap garage! This way, all the small and large parts of a kit will stay in one place, although you might end up with many similar items that perform the same function. That’s nothing to worry about as it’s something that’s inevitable if you love working with tools.
Whether you’re a pro at organization and storage, or messiness is your middle name, you’ll find one of the above creative ideas to organize and store your tools right up your alley.