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     Organizing Your Tools And Workshop

This is one of the hardest areas to keep organized because EVERYONE in the home uses the tools at one time or another. Dad may have 'his own system' set up and can't find his tools when he needs them because someone moved them. Then mom goes to the tool area and cannot find a hammer, even though she knows that they own four of them! The tendency at this point is to go out and purchase a couple of the fancy organizing products on the market to have everything organized -- once and for all! Nice idea and it looks pretty; but it won't work! Before you spend the money for this, your family needs to get organized in their MINDS.

Unless everyone in the family understands that once an item is taken and used it goes back to its proper HOME, all you will own is a fancy tool organizing cabinet. Organization begins with changing the thought process to understand that everything has its own 'home' and when taken, it has to be put back in the right place. You do remember your mother stressing this point when you were a child; right? How many times did she say, "Put that back where it belongs" or "Is that where you got it from?" She didn't know it at the time but she was instilling the first steps of organization in your mind. Close your eyes and think back; can't you just hear her saying those words?

Before you need an organizing receptacle, you have to know HOW and WHAT you are going to organize. The first thing to remember is that all 'like' items go together. You may have a tool room or workshop in more than one area (we do, one in the garage and one in the basement) but the same holds true no matter where it is or how many you have. Follow this handy little guide to start you off on the right track.

This would include things like hammers, screwdrivers etc. A PEGBOARD works the best for me, but the choice is yours as to what you want to use. Designate and area for hammers, Add pegs to hold the hammers, then drawer a picture of a hammer on the surface (with a magic marker) that you have decided to use. Wasn't that easy? Now go through all of the rest of your hand tools, screwdrivers, wrenches, handsaws, scissors etc. Also be sure to hang an extra hook next to the handsaws to accommodate the blades for that particular saw.

This is for nails, screws, etc. Yes, you will need a few of these. This is a good thing to put on your list for Fathers Day, Mothers Day, and birthdays. There are many types of storage containers on the market, make sure that you use one that has BIG enough drawers to get your fingers into and that it will easily hold the amount of nails and screws that you have to put in there. Double check before you go shopping -- don't accidentally end up with something too SMALL just because you didn't know how many washers you had lying around!

Put in the drawer the item that you want to store; let us just say that it is a type of nail. With a magic marker, LABEL on the outside (clearly) the size that it is (across the bottom of the drawer. Now, take a glue gun and ATTACH one of the nails to the outside of the drawer. You may know what the size means, but some people do not and if you want you mails to stay organized sometimes a visual guide is the best way to go. Do this with all of your nails, screws, nuts, bolts, ceiling hangers, washers etc.

There are storage containers that you can purchase at any local hardware or discount store for holding bits. The most important thing to remember is that you do not want the drill bits to hit or ROLL against each other. This can cause scratches, gouges and chips in the bit. If you are going to put it in a flat case it is a good idea to get one that you can put a piece of STYROFOAM in so you can make a groove for the bit to fit into, which will prevent rolling.

Some tools come with their own CASE, but are not practical since they do not offer extra storage room. I then measure the size of the tool and when toolboxes go on sale at the local hardware, I purchase a new home for my tool. I insert a piece of Styrofoam to hold the tool in place and I have plenty of room to add extra blades or bits that I want to have with me at all times. This comes in handy if you take your tools with you or loan them to someone else. I also mark what is in the box on the OUTSIDE using a magic marker, this way when I have it stored on the shelf I can find it fast.

With Fathers Day approaching, this would be a good time for you to check out your workshop and make a list of all of the handy little gadgets that you would like to have to organize your tool shop. After all, why not ask for something that you REALLY could use?


(c)2006 Jan Hayner -- visit her website at www.organizingyourlifetheeasyway.com.

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