In the automotive world, the most sacred place for all weekend warriors, speed junkies, and off-road Jeep freaks is the garage. Despite the different types of gearheads out there, each workshop has one thing in common: they get messy. Specifically speaking, the work area itself as well as the toolbox are usually the root of the mess. No matter how hard anyone tries to avoid it, even the pros, garages become cluttered. So, let’s review a few tips and tricks to help minimize the mess.
Invest in a Good Toolbox or Tool Chest
The centerpiece of any garage is the toolbox or tool chest. This is the heart of the operation and must remain functional to ensure proper workflow. The first and most important step is picking the right one for your needs. For example, let’s say you already have a toolbox with a number of drawers and storage compartments. That’s a great start! But remember, ultimately those drawers are wide open spaces that tools tend to get tossed into often. On that note, a few extra bucks can go a long way in keeping your tool chest or toolbox properly organized.
Basics That Go a Long Way
First and foremost, adding some material to the bottom of each drawer is a must. Not only will it protect the surface of the toolbox, but also will prevent tools from sliding around every time you open and close them. Sockets are a prime example of tools that easily become out of order when they’re just thrown into a drawer. So, a good socket holder will help keep that mess in line. Both products can be found at just about any hardware store or tool supply for just a few bucks. While you’re at it, look around for a magnetic tray to slap on the side of the toolbox, as its value in the battle to stay organized is limitless.
The Work Area
Now that you have a toolbox or chest that you know will improve your workflow, it’s time to think about your working area. The work bench is another place in the garage that becomes cluttered very quickly. Spare hardware and small parts often litter the work bench, thus a wise investment to pick up some hardware bins from just about any parts, hardware, or tool supply. You can spend upwards of $150 if you want a fancy setup. But, generally speaking, $20-$40 will get you a really nice set of bins to maintain an organized bench top and prevent catastrophe.
Large hand tools that don’t have a home in a toolbox also find themselves strewn across a bench top as well. So, while you’re out shopping around for bins, keep an eye out for a simple peg board. Depending on the size needed, you’re looking at a $50-$100 investment.
Get to Work
At this point, we’ve established a proper box or chest and a suggested work bench setup. There’s only one thing left to do, and that’s get to work. It’s easy to forget all that space in between the tool box, the bench, and your project of choice. Regardless of whether it’s a race car or a rock crawler, there’s a lot of open water for tools and parts to float around. Walking back and forth to grab what you need or setting tools and parts off to the side becomes tedious. And honestly, it gets easier and easier to start letting things pile up around you. So, it’s a good idea to invest in a cart. Now, you can spend a few hundred bucks for a tool chest to roll around with you as you work, but a re-purposed cart also does the job just fine. It’s nothing revolutionary. Though it makes a massive difference in workflow and prevents clutter.
There are literally hundreds of ideas to create a proper work space. Ultimately, apply your own personal method to keep things organized. More laid back workers may not need to arrange from biggest to smallest within a particular drawer. But if that level of attention to detail keeps you in the rhythm, then go to town. The goal is to focus more on the project at hand and less on where you placed that wrench.