There are times when a tool box needs to be perfectly organized, with foam inserts and dual-colors that make it easy to spot missing or removed tools. A tool kit on the International Space Station, or in aircraft maintenance bays, for example, require this.
Other times, if a tool kit isn’t changing, it might make for better organization, more secure transport, or simply more convenient access.
If you’ve got a mobile tool box and more delicate tools, such as aluminum layout tools, that can be damaged if they slide and bang around, foam can add much-needed protection and improve organization. It’s quicker to pull a ruler or square from well-laid-out drawer than a pile of stuff that jumbles-together due to drawer or tool box motion.
There are also times when you can toss your tools into a tool bag, case, box, or 5 gallon bucket. Who cares if a couple of screwdrivers are rattling around, they can handle it. A 25′ tape measure doesn’t need special protections and custom-cut foam.
When I was doing grad research, someone told me our electron microscope service contract was something on the order of a couple tens of thousands of dollars. Was that each year? I don’t remember. Other equipment also carried pricey service contracts or tech visits when calibration or repairs were needed.
Someone coming to service equipment that costs on the order of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars isn’t going to show up with a 5 gallon bucket.
A soda machine tech isn’t going to show up at a restaurant with a bucket of tools. They show up with technician bags, tool bags, pouches, or cases.
There are lots of different ways that tools can be organized and protected.
There are lots of reasons why tools might be organized in a certain way.
Admittedly, some people might take pride in doing so for the sake of doing so.
Desktop PC cable management used to involve zip ties. Then it involved sleeving. Then it became trendy to buy special high-density sleeving, remove factory connectors, and create a more seamless look before reassembling everything. Now, the big thing has been cable combs – here’s a Google image search. I don’t even want to talk about watercooling trends.
Some people might take things to the next level because they want to, and products have become available to support it.
Kaizen foam isn’t perfect, but it’s so much easier to work with than traditional tool foam.
Neatly organized and foam-protected tools isn’t done “to be instagrammable.” Well, maybe sometimes it is. Or sometimes extra care is taken.
I try to write clearly and carefully, even though I can convey information and express my information with fewer words. But, since I’m sharing it publicly, I put more effort into presentation beyond what I might put to paper for only myself.
If someone is showing off their tool organization, and maybe it looks more perfectly manicured than it needs to be, how is that a bad thing? Maybe they’re doing it for themselves. Maybe they put a little more effort because they want to be prideful of what they show off to others.
I’m not going to show off my workspace until all my clutter is sorted through and remedied. Things as they are kind of work for me, mostly because I don’t have a choice at the moment, but it needs to be cleaner and neater if I’m to show it off to others.
How’s this anything different?
It bugs me that a lot of people have become aggressively opinionated about tools and trends. Yes, it’s good to be skeptical, critical, and analytical, but one should also be open-minded.
I must be open-minded and consider all kinds of different tool users, pretty much all the time.
The needs of a finish carpenter is a lot different than that of a framer.
Neatly organizing a cordless drill and its modular tool heads in a drawer of a Festool Systainer tool box? Why not.
Let’s say a client just paid to have their entire kitchen refinished. A contractor is coming over to install drawer pulls, a special kick-out garbage bin drawer, and add cable stops to prevent a door on an end cabinet from banging into the wall.
What will be better, both from organizational standpoint and appearances – a contractor pulling a drill out of a milk crate that’s also filled with some other tools and loose boxes of screws, or a 3-drawer tool box with drill kit in one drawer, bins of fasteners in another, and a couple of parts and hand tools in the last one?
Different needs call for different organizational methods.
For home workshops, some people like pegboard, others like tool boxes.
With tool drawers or cases, some users will dump things in, others will line things neatly on top of drawer liners or in divided compartments, and some will line the drawers with foam that is then cut to fit a non-changing selection of tools.
Some people might be ostentatious with the tool organization they show off to others. How’s that different than anything else? But most share to inspire, to give back to internet communities that have shared with and inspired them.
Everyone needs to try to be more open-minded.
Just because one might not understand or personally benefit a tool, product, technique, or trend, that doesn’t mean it’s meritless. I see this all the time. New tool that someone personally has no need for? “Useless gimmick,” nevermind that retailers have have sold so many they have a rolling backorder. Open-mindedness takes practice and patience.