Imagine working on a project and having all the tools and parts you need right there. That's what you strive for when you storing and organizing your tool collection. Your tool storage equipment should provide you with these three important elements: Security from theft and loss. Protection from damage. Organization that allows for easy, fast access and mobility.
Over the coarse of a few projects, you can accumulate quite a collection of small screws, nails, and other small parts. There are several ways you can store these items; baby food jars, small paper bags, soup cans, or even a multi-drawer small parts organizer. The trick is to be able to quickly see what is inside each container without having to waste time searching. Using your hot glue gun, attach a sample of the small piece on the outside of the container. This will give you a quick, visual reminder of what's inside.
When making repairs or taking apart equipment, be prepared for the occasional dropped part. Clean off a section of your workbench and spread out a smooth shop or dish towel. The towel will keep errant small parts from rolling around on the floor and getting lost. For small jobs, even square shop rags will work; for larger jobs cover the bench with salvaged carpeting.
Once a small part gets lost in grass or on floors, you can waste a lot of time looking for it. To find it quickly, put a nylon stocking over the end of your shop vacuum hose and fasten it with a rubber binder. Turn on the vac and play it over the area where it might have gone. If the part is there the vac will suck it up and hold it on the nylon so you can just pick it off.
A good deal of shop work can involve planning and designing jobs. If you have not done so, outfit your workshop with plenty of paper, drawing tools, tape and planning aids, plus a desk lamp and a comfortable stool. Such creature comforts will help increase your enjoyment of home and workshop projects.
Shop injuries often can happen when something is difficult to remove and excess pressure is applied. When using heavy force, especially with tools like a screwdriver or a needle-nose pliers, think ahead to what will happen if the tool slips off. If it could hit a part of your body, search for an alternative removal method.
A hot glue gun can provide an alternative when labeling containers of small parts. Glue a sample of what's inside to either the top or sides and you will immediately know which container to grab. Whether you use the glue method, labels, or just write on the container, repeat it three times equally spaced around a can. For square containers, identify all four sides. That way you will know the contents regardless of which way the container sits on the shelf.
You can use several plastic 5-gal. buckets fitted with tough nylon tool holders to help organize your shop. When not being used they can be hung up neatly on screw hooks to the side of your workbench or inside a special cabinet. Using several buckets will allow you to organize in various ways, like inside work, outside work, plumbing work or electrical work.
Keeping large handled tools, such as sledge hammers- and axes-, hung up on a wall surface keeps them neat and handy. To hang, drill a hole crosswise in the handle an inch or so from the end so the head will be flat against the wall. Since the hole is near the end, it won't weaken the handle.
Accessories available can turn your plastic 5-gallon buckets into handy tool carriers. Another way to put them to use is for storing extension cords. Cut a hole near the bottom. Feed the female end just through the hole from the inside. Then coil the cord into the bucket for easy carrying. You can also put small project parts inside of recycled plastic peanut butter jars and store them in a bucket. The jars are easy to carry around, won't break, and let you easily see inside.