Troy wrote in with a question about how to best organize his home workshop tools.
Do you or your readers have any opinions on the best way to organize power tools? I’m having trouble storing the odd shapes, batteries, and chargers in such a way that they are reasonably accessible.
I have big storage shelves in my shop, but things get cluttered and laid on top of one another on the big shelves. It seems like a cubby system is more appropriate.
Along the same lines, do people set up “charging stations” in their home shops? If so, how? Right now my work bench is littered with the various chargers I need for my tools, which is adding clutter and taking up valuable bench space.
My setup has changed, and will be different given the sheer number of tools that come in and go out for testing, but the best storage configuration I had involved wire shelving.
I used to keep power tools in their cases on the shelf when not in use, and on or under my workbench when in use or active for a project.
Wire shelving is cheap, it’s free-standing, and it offers a good level of adjustability. I tossed out all of my blow-molded tool cases in recent years, in favor of L-Boxxes, Systainers, and Tough System cases. A lot of tools also come in soft cases these days, which makes it more difficult to find a place for every tool.
For my use, I would avoid a cubby-type system for three reasons.
First, a cubby-type system is an invitation to get chips and sawdust everywhere. More enclosed surfaces means more nooks and crannies to clean.
Second, tool boxes makes it easier for me to keep a couple of accessories with each tool. Things like edge guides and basic bits and blades can get more easily misplaced if left out of a cubby is sized just for a tool.
Third, if a cubby is sized for a specific tool, there’s not much flexibility to move tools around. Let’s say you upgrade from a 6-1/2″ cordless saw to a new 7-1/4″ brushless model. There might not be room for the larger saw in a cubby built for the smaller one. I suppose the same could be said about a modular tool box that is purchased for the smaller saw.
Cubbies do work for a lot of people though. I like tool boxes, which I guess could be considered as stackable and portable cubbies.
As for batteries, I keep ’em in stacked plastic containers, but then again I’m a different case. The batteries I use most often are in a small wooden cabinet. I keep maybe a dozen chargers on a shelf in a closet, and others I keep in a huge bin. The one or two chargers I use most often are on the floor near an outlet, or on the workbench.
One of these days I’ve been meaning to mount my chargers on a shelf above my workbench, but I too haven’t come up with an ideal arrangement. Many chargers have key-hole mounting points on their undersides and/or rear.
When I move to a larger workshop, I will plan for a narrow power tool station, either free-standing or above a workbench, with a row or two of chargers, and an area where batteries can be safely stored. I only wish power tool storage was easier to plan for.
There are a lot of ideas via Google Image Search, with the neatest arrangements involving similar tool types, such as a cordless drill, impact driver, screwdriver, and impact wrench all lined up together.
But when you start adding in bulkier tools, such as jigsaw, circular saw, reciprocating saw, and other vastly different tools, cordless or corded, special arrangement schemes lose their appeal and traditional shelves become more practical.
If you have a particularly nice-looking organizational setup, please link to or send in your images! Comments and advice are of course welcome and appreciated.
If you could plan a workshop from scratch (as this would give you the most creative freedoms), how would you organize your power tools, and how would you set up your cordless chargers and batteries?