When it comes to tools and places to store them, there are almost as many options as there are users.
For some, a hammer and a screwdriver in the junk drawer will about cover it. While those on the connoisseur side of the trades or crafts will want a tool-chest designed to keep their prized possessions in an easy-to-organize and-find place where they won’t get stolen, damaged or lost.
Do a needs assessment
First decide what you really need – not want. Can you organize your tools in a small drawer or do you need an industrial size tool chest to store all your valuable purchases?
One way to calculate storage space is to add up how much you have spent on the tools. For some it will run into the tens-of-thousands on the high end of the market. On the other end of the scale it might come in at $3.99 for those who bought a multiple-head screwdriver and a toy hammer at a garage sale.
Another consideration is how much space you need to house the tools in your collection. Again, for some it will be massive – think jackhammers and power tools – while others can get by with a much smaller tool chest that could literally fit in the glove compartment of the car.
Perhaps the most important consideration is “What can you afford?” Is it really worth while to max out your credit card on a tool chest that will, primarily, collect dust. Think about it before you put it on your MasterCard or Visa or Dinners at about 20 percent interest.
Research the market
Now that you have assessed what you need, where do you start to look? The options are almost too numerous to list. It is easier – and less frustrating – to start with on-line research rather than walking around massive shopping malls in the hope of finding what you want. You can also learn more here at DIY Tool Chests.
Once you have found what you think will work, get out your measuring tape — you do have one of those, don’t you – and figure out where you have enough space for your tool chest of choice. Always allow additional space, just in case. When it comes to tool chests, “almost” doesn’t fit into the designated space.
For apartment dwellers, available space might be the spare shelf in the bathroom drawer. For others, it could be custom build shelving covering two or three entire walls of the garage.
So, in this regard, you are better off to “over” – rather than “under” – estimate. Like many other fetishes – such as shoes – tools have a way of expanding to fill all available space. Plan accordingly as you don’t want to outgrow your tool chest in six months.
Decide on stationary or portable
This should be a no-brainer, but many times it isn’t. If you are going to be lugging your 200-pound tool chest around to various sites would it be a good idea to get one with wheels? When the macho-mentality – I’m a strong boy/girl – kicks in, logic goes out the window.
So, do yourself – and your back — a favor and preplan when and where you are going to be using your tools.
Then figure out the easiest way to get what you need to use from point A to point B. One method is to have a permanent tool chest is a specific place and to pack a smaller one with exactly what is needed elsewhere. Just make sure you get it right as having to go back for the one thing you forget is both annoying and time consuming.
Choose between wood and metal
For a state-or-the-art tool chest that takes up half the basement, splash out and buy – or even better, build – the tool chest of your dreams.
Metal is lighter, more portable and easier to move, particularly if it has wheels.
While wood and open spaces may look better, a metal tool chest might be more practical.
How to organize a tool chest
So how to you figure out a system of how to organize your tools so you can find them easily? A simple categorization is manual or electric. Another is how big the items are. If you are organizing screws or nails, for example, it doesn’t take rocket science to figure out that a box with compartments will make the job of finding what you are looking for substantially easier.
A logical option is to preplan. Before you transfer your tools from where ever they may be to the newly purchased tool chest, take some time to figure it out before you get lost and/or confused.
With a cup of coffee or glass of wine in hand, sit on a chair in front of the tool chest. Open the drawers and really calculate what would fit where. How many sections do you have? Which tools would fit best in the top drawer?