Read these 9 Tool Organization Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Tool tips and hundreds of other topics.
Aubuchon Hardware Tip: When carrying a fully loaded tool bag or wearing a full tool belt, lifting and carrying the added weight with your legs and not your back is just as important as when lifting heavy objects with your hands. If you find that a tool bag is too heavy to carry comfortably, a combination of wearing some of the items on a tool belt will lighten the load. Why put all the weight on one part of the body? Spread it out with both a bag and belt for additional safety and comfort.
Do you have too many tools for one toolbox or chest? If you are constantly hunting through a large collection of tools, it's time to organize yourself in a way that will help keep you organized. If you have multiple uses for your tools such as automotive, woodworking, and home improvement, you should consider organizing separate tool storage kits for each purpose, and a "common box" for tools that can be used for anything. Hammers, screwdrivers, and drills can go in the common box, while putty knives, box cutters, drywall saws and other items would go into the home improvement tool box. The best way to get yourself organized in this way is to block out a day where you lay every single tool you own out. Then you can begin categorizing and putting away the tools by type.
Girlgear Industries is a company with a major innovation for tool-wielding women everywhere. Girlgear has developed an industrial-grade tool belt designed specifically for women's bodies. These lightweight, adjustable belts have 11 pockets, and two loops for hammers. This development is getting cheers from many walks of life, in spite of minor complaints about the hot pink suede color of the belt. This isn't the only innovation for women with toolkits. Search online for websites that offer many resources including tools for smaller hands, and tips for beginners.
When you get started with tools as a beginner, you'll probably outgrow much of your early hand tool storage solutions as your collection of tools gets larger. What to do with all the old storage solutions, totes, and other gear your collection is now too large for? For starters, you may be able to donate a pile of such equipment to a local charitable organization, church, or community improvement group. If you are trying to raise a bit of money for additional tool purchases, you can sell your old storage solutions on Craigslist.com or eBay. Of course, you can always hang on to these smaller items if you have teenagers who display interest in your work. Chances are an interested teen will need these smaller items for a growing kit of their own. The Montana National Guard has a unique tool recycling program where reusable items are distributed to those who need them. If such a program does not exist in your area, you could start your own neighborhood version, or work with a local body to collect and distribute tools to local high school shop classes who could probably use the donations.
If you must store tools in a high-traffic area, or are concerned that young, curious hands might find their way to your sharpest hand tools when you are away from the house, a locking tool box or storage locker is the best solution for peace of mind. Some on-line vendors sell a locking-type mechanism designed to be installed in the tool box, but your best bet is to purchase a box built with security in mind.
For a toolkit newcomer, long term tool storage is probably the last thing you'll worry about at first, but a bit of preventative maintenance can help you avoid hassle later on, and even prevent an injury. If you need to store tools in a workshop or basement, it's best to shelve them or mount them on a tool rack. If you shelve cutting tools, keep them with the blades pointed to the inside, or remove the blades altogether. When mounting cutting tools, remove the blades or hang them blades-down, pointing to the floor. It's best to hang heavy tools at the very bottom of the rack, and save the higher spaces for lighter items. Never store cordless tools with their battery packs inserted unless they are built-in.
Do you find oily residues at the bottom of your truck tool box or portable tool kit? Mechanic's tools are particularly subject to residues, oils, and other fluids, all of which can end up collecting at the bottom of the box. It's very easy to install a couple of pieces of cut-to-fit cardboard at the bottom of the box to absorb any gunk that might trickle down over time, and you can even make a U-shaped cardboard insert to protect the sides of the box, too. If you're tired of a perpetually grimy tool kit, cardboard is your new best friend.
Tool belts and totes can easily be loaded down with too much weight for prolonged wear. Ergonomically speaking, it is recommended that a full backpack, with weight evenly distributed across both shoulders, be only 15 percent of your body weight. Cut that number in half for a single shoulder tote, and its easy to see how quickly a bag can become too heavy. Tool belts, on the other hand, have a more even weight distribution around the body, but you should still pay attention to how much weight you carry around the waist. In addition to the ergonomic issue, balance can also be a problem if you aren't used to carrying the weight. The last thing a newcomer to the toolkit needs is to lose balance while operating a handsaw or nail gun. Lighten the load, bring only what you need, and make a second trip for the rest.
Aubuchon Hardware Tip: Men and women of different builds have different tool belt needs. A man with a smaller build may benefit from a tool belt designed for women, while a larger woman may be more comfortable wearing a standard "man's" tool belt. Some men with smaller hands may wish to invest in tools and accessories designed for women (such as those made by the Girlgear company) for a more comfortable fit. If you object to feminine colors in some models, you can always apply dark dyes to the tool belts, and cover the handles of smaller tools with duct tape.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|