How do you keep your workbench organized

Discussion in 'Shop Talk' started by Wilbur, Jan 17, 2005.

  1. Wilbur

    Wilbur Well-Known Member

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    Taxachusetts
    Okay, I admit it- I am the worst combination of a packrat and a mess. :no: You never know when that little dohickey will come in handy when the thingamabob breaks off the whoozyflitzel! Then every so often I get a wild hair and completely clean off my toolbench and put things in places, organize everything and it looks great.. :D ..until I do my next project. Then stuff is everywhere again. I just can't help myself. :eek:

    I have coffee cans of screws, nails, nuts and bolts, old electrical fittings, plumbing fittings etc etc etc. You know the drill.

    So how do you stay organized? I envision something like a closet organizer for a tool bench that will help me keep stuff in places where it is easy to get to but also easy to put back! That seems to be the problem- I can find stuff after I have organized everything- but it never seems to make it back just as it was.

    I would love to hear your ideas or what you do that works!! Thanks!
     
  2. desdawg

    desdawg Well-Known Member

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    Discipline. It's just as easy for me to get something from where it belongs then put it back as it is to find it in the mess. And if I am working in a mess I am not a happy camper. My attitude sucks. My mind doesn't do jumble. But that's just me. There is no magic set of shelves, racks, bins or drawers. It's a mind thing.
     

  3. mtman

    mtman Well-Known Member

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    well when i take something out i put it back when done,i tell everyone else if you cant put it back dont touch it very easy im crazy when it comes to my tools
     
  4. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Ive got my carpentry box, Drill box, computer repair/install box SAE box, Metric box, and several misc boxes like plumbing parts, grinding parts, and so forth so when doing a job i know what box or boxes to grab..... i pick up tool boxes at auctions and second hand stores and pawn shops full of tools sort them sell a few off or give them to people in need of a tool or 2...

    I do have some big stuff hanging on the wall, and have many duplicate tools either ones ive worn a little and still good nuff to use for a project. All my nuts, bolts screws nails letric parts are labeled in jars, cans, boxes on shelves of 2x10 built onto the shop wall.... my bench usualy has a couple of small tool boxes on it so people know i at least work on things from time to time...not just keep things in boxes!


    anal retentive.... nah just like things wherei can quickly get them.


    William
     
  5. JWH123

    JWH123 Well-Known Member

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    USA
    I'm in the process of organizing my workshop. In the past week or so, I've picked up two large cabinets (7'H x 3'W x 2'D), plus five base cabinets 3' wide, and three fire-rated solid wood doors to use as a worktop for the base cabinets. (School was remodeling, I talked to the contractor to find anything that was being thrown out)

    So now I've got a ton of storage space, now I'm in the process of sorting out my 'stuff'. I'm doing what every good engineer does - I'm compiling a spreadsheet with the list of my tools, and then assigning them to a cabinet/shelf.

    I'm hopeful that having a lot more storage will help in my organization. We've moved to this house just 7 months ago, and a good amount of my stuff is still in the boxes we moved it in, stacked on the floor.

    I'm debating the merits of pegboard for small hand tools, versus a sheet of plywood with nails driven in it.... I think the economy of a plywood scrap has it.

    John
     
  6. Janon

    Janon 993cc Geo Metro

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    Obviously, the more you have the more difficult it can be to keep it organized. I know folks with so much "stuff" in their shop that there is no practical way to organize, no way to remember what you have and finding anything is almost impossible. Keep what you need and what you are likely to need... do not keep things just for the sake of having them.

    Cabinets, shelves, benches whatever... all fine, until you start loading into those cabinets and piling onto those shelves, then its just the same clutter in a different location.

    I too cannot work in a mess of clutter.
     
  7. CarlaWVgal

    CarlaWVgal Well-Known Member

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    My dh has this problem too, messy as can be until he can't take it anymore :rolleyes: He has helped some of the problem with large "totes" for things like plumbing, electical, guttering, drywall,... all have their own bin. Mostly he just throws stuff back in there when he's done, sometimes he will break down put that 3/4 inch copper elbow in the gallon bag I put them in, lol. Either way it at least goes into the right box.

    For smaller things, we took the "hutch" off the top of my desk and put it on his work bench. This holds, tape, boxes of screws, a box of all his drill bits, anything small that can go on a shelf. Some things, like roofing nails which we have a ton of, are in a bigger plastic container on another shelf. He has 2 or 3 tool boxes, one just for the car/truck, one misc (screwdrivers, razor blades, stuff I might use). His big wrenches he has hanging up, levels are hung up, masks and glasses are up.

    Seems like he is pretty organized, until he starts working. But he is much better. Having a place for everything helps, even if it is in one container.

    Carla
     
  8. Wilbur

    Wilbur Well-Known Member

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    Discipline? Hell you guys are no help!! :haha: I know I know- what I think I need to do is plan for putting everything away as part of my time mgt for each project.

    But I like the tote idea as well. That way I can have a storage place for those odds and ends that I just can't bear to part with but they won't all get in the way of my other stuff!!

    Thanks all for your comments!!
     
  9. Cosmic

    Cosmic Well-Known Member

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    Jan 19, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    The real key to getting organized is to sort and put everything somewhere by type or function.

    I use pegboards hung by function. Area for electrical tools, electronics, plumbing, etc. If you can see it is a large part of the battle.

    Did something that was bordering on genius. Built a rolling work center, parts bin on a steel cart frame welded from an old bed angle iron. The work center is about six feet high and has peg boards on both outside ends, holds the most common used hand tools.

    Inside the cart are mobile stackable racks built to hold 20 coffee cans each. Also has a lower bin to hold larger stuff like C-Clamps and socket sets, etc. One of the stackable racks is a 3 tray drawer box that holds 60 baby food jars. Real joy as it provides the mobility, visual sighting and compactness required for a good system.

    Also use a lot more coffee cans in more color coded stackable racks that I built myself. Each holds 20 coffee cans tilted out at an angle, 5 to a row, 4 rows in a rack. The racks have built in hand holds and are capable of being lifted by hand. Color codes the function, Red for Nails, Green for Screws, etc, etc. Racks can be stacked 5 high, use more simple angle iron dolly type carts to make a total stack mobile in the shop. Slowly doing labels for each can by color and contents. Avery has a good program for it, meaning to finish my database to finally top off the project.

    Just keeping the shop generally cleaned up is a big part of the battle. Organizing it by function is the major key. Then your looking and searching tends to be more manageable. I use the coffee cans a lot. Some cabinets and bins but again always organized by type item or function.

    Periodic get organized days are a must too. Something to do on a winter or rainy day. The work bench has this habit of always attracting too much trash.