If you intend to spend any amount of time working on projects in your garage or home workshop then having the means to store your tools and equipment, and a good place to carry out your work is essential. A disorganised garage can be a pain to work in, and nothing’s a more frustrating time-waster than searching high and low for a tool that you have lost in the clutter. In this article we will cover off a few of the essential garage storage solutions that can really help you work out the best way to organise your garage.
The Basics - How to plan out your garage storage
The first thing to consider is how much space you have to work with - this will determine what type of storage you can use. The larger your garage or workshop is, the easier it will be to outfit, and you can often set up multiple storage areas for different things - such as one area to store hand tools, another for power tools, and yet a third area for consumables such as oil, fluids and cleaning products.
Next, have a think about what you intend to store in your garage or workshop. Will it just be tools and equipment for your car? Do you need to store your garden tools as well? What about other items such as fishing rods and gear, or bicycles? Depending on the types of things you intend to stow away in your garage, as well as how frequently you’ll need to access them, you may want to consider wall mounted hooks, lockable cabinets, or various types of shelving.
Finally, you should consider what kind of work you are likely to carry out most often, and build your workspace to accommodate it - it’s also a good idea to arrange your garage storage in a way that provides easy access to what you use most often.
What types of storage are there?
There are quite a few different methods for storing your tools (and hiding away your clutter) and we’ve outlined each category below.
How to create a good work space - Workbenches
Perhaps the “focal point” of your garage will be your workbench. You will need to consider the space you have available to comfortably work on projects, and also what kind of lighting is available. (We’ve covered off garage lighting options in another article, so check that out if you’d like some tips.) There are a few different options when it comes to the material your workbench is made of. If you are likely to be hacking, bashing, and hammering stuff at your bench, then perhaps consider purchasing a heavy-duty metal bench. This is also a good plan if you intend to carry out any welding at your bench, since you really don’t want to risk setting fire to your workspace every time you strike an arc! You might also like to mount bench tools such as a grinder, drill press or vice to your bench, so be sure that it’s sturdy enough to support whatever you mount to it. Consider how you’d like to position yourself whilst working - some benches require you to stand at them at a fixed height, whereas others will have adjustable leg heights, and clearance beneath them for your legs - allowing you to sit at them on a stool. Finally, think about whether you’d like your bench to have integrated tool storage - some have cabinets attached, or alternate tool storage methods, such as pegboards that allow for easy-access to your most commonly used tools.
How to create easy access storage - Shelving and Wall hooks
Speaking of easy access to your tools, shelving and wall hooks are both incredibly handy garage storage options. They aren’t limited to tools however, and both can be used to store almost anything you might want to keep off the floor and out of the way. Shelving is the more simple garage storage option of the two, and can come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, as well as being available with both metal and wooden construction to suit practically any application. When it comes to places to store thing in their garages people often overlook their walls, but with a wall hook setup you can store a surprisingly wide array of things with ease. The first thing to look into are the rails that your garage hooks attach to. These are mounted to the wall, and provide a channel that the hooks slot into. You can then outfit your garage walls with the means to store a ridiculously wide range of things using hooks, baskets, shelves, storage bin holders, bike racks, fishing rod hooks and more.
What about lockable storage - Cabinets
On the opposite end of the spectrum from easy-access shelving and hooks are secure, lockable cabinets. If you have expensive tools and equipment in your garage, the last thing you want is for them to go walkabouts. For that reason, it’s worth considering equipping your garage or workshop with the means to securely store your more valuable items. Another reason to lock things away is if you have young children in your household, and you’d like to secure toxic chemicals or dangerous objects from curious hands. Whatever the reason, you can’t look past sturdy metal cabinets for secure garage storage.
How to centralise tool storage - Tool chests and trolleys
One of the hallmarks of a well-equipped garage or workshop are versatile, multi-draw tool chests. They show up in movies, tv shows and adverts, and are a mainstay of race teams, professional workshops and even home handymen the world over. There’s a reason for their ubiquity - they are incredibly sturdy, practical and spacious, and allow for the storage and organisation of a huge range of the tools you might need in your workshop. When shopping for a tool chest, ask yourself a few questions: Do you need a built in cabinet? Would you like your tool chest to be modular, incase you want to expand your inventory later? Do you need it to be portable? What is your favourite colour? No matter what your requirements, with a wide range of shapes, sizes, layouts (and colours) - if you are looking for an all-in-one method for organising your garage, a tool chest is the perfect solution.
How to minimise garage clutter - Organisers and Storage
Once you’ve set up some shelving or cabinets, it’s a good idea to look into a few garage organisers and other means for storing smaller tools and equipment. It’s often handy to keep categorise your small odds and ends by their general use - for example, try to keep all of your electrical connectors, solder and spare wire in one organiser, and nuts, bolts and other fasteners in another. Many organisers allow for labelling, so you can remind yourself what’s in each one at a glance without having to search through a bunch of tiny drawers. Large storage boxes can be great for storing cleaning products, rags and other consumables, or simply spare parts or other things you might need for various projects. You can usually stack storage bins and boxes to minimise their footprint too.
Storeage Portability - Tool boxes and Bags
Another thing to consider when outfitting your garage or workshop with storage solutions, is how portable you’d like your tools to be. If you find yourself working outside your garage, even within your own home, then you’ll need the means to safely and securely transport your tools. A good toolbox or tool bag can store the essentials, and with a multitude of shapes and sizes to choose from, there will be something to suit almost any tools for any job. If you are worried about damaging things when you transport them, such as fine measuring equipment, or fragile specialty tools, then look into a safe case. These versatile cases aren’t limited to carrying tools though - with customisable foam inserts and pressure equalising valves, they are ideal for photographers, scientists, engineers and anyone else who may need to transport valuable and fragile equipment. While not strictly garage storage, a spare set of tools in it’s own dedicated tool box or tool bag can be invaluable to keep in your vehicle during long trips or in case of breakdowns and emergencies, and they make the perfect gift for the mechanically minded.
On the move - Ute and Site boxes
Similar to the above, sometimes portability is important. If you need to store tools in your vehicle, or on the back of your ute, then a dedicated tool box can be the perfect solution. A storage box can be mounted inside your work van, or on the tray of your ute, and prevent loose tools from moving around inside or on the back of your vehicle. Vehicle mounted boxes are tough, spacious and secure - you can store a whole lot of equipment and be sure that it’s safe from both the elements and from undesirable attention. Undertray boxes can save space on your ute tray for the bigger stuff, while still providing secure, watertight storage for your gear. Speaking of watertight, you can even get dedicated water (or other fluid) containers that are mounted in the same fashion - perfect for camping and emergency use, or to wash your hands at the worksite when the job’s done.
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