A carpenter adjusts two pieces of wood while holding a pencil in their hands. On the carpenter’s workbench, various rulers, a hammer, wood shaving scraps, and other tools are visible.

4 Ideas for Organizing Your Workshop

Workshops play an important role in many homes. In some cases, they serve as a center for DIY projects and important household tasks. In some cases, a home workshop may be essential to your livelihood. 

Homeowners often pay attention to the organization of a home office, but they may neglect to give the same level of care and decluttering to their workshop. This can be especially problematic if you consider a workshop your personal space. Health experts link organized spaces with mental wellbeing. Cluttered spaces, meanwhile, may lead to frustration and anxiety, and they can even intensify existing depression. 

As an often overlooked area with a diverse array of tools and materials, the workshop is a prime candidate for your decluttering and organization efforts. Here are some ways to get started. 

Create an Organizational System

The first step to organizing your workshop is to spend some time thinking about how you would like to arrange everything. The first step in making this plan is creating an inventory of tools and materials. 

If possible, you can lay everything out on tables or even the floor. This step lets you easily see what you have, and it allows you to find items that you no longer use and can sell, dispose of, or donate. 

The next step is to handle the actual organization. You can start by categorizing everything. Take a logical approach and categorize them by type or organize them based on the frequency of usage, which may make more sense if you are relying on vertical storage or drawers and want to be able to grab your most-used instruments quickly. For example, often-used screwdrivers or hammers can go in a top drawer or on a waist-level shelf. 

If you have lots of small items, such as screws of different sizes, get containers and label them so you can find everything easily. 

Finally, you need to have designated places to store items from each category. Modular containers, drawers, shelves, pegboards, and secure lockers are all options. You may need to take special care of some items that are fragile, valuable, or need protection from extreme temperatures or moisture. 

The goal of your organizing efforts should be to make it easy to access items when you need them and even easier to return them to the proper place when you are done. Organizing your workshop is much easier if you reduce clutter and get rid of unneeded items. 

Declutter

Workshops are naturally clutter-prone because they have lots of tools and materials, and you add a few more items with each project. Decluttering, therefore, is an ongoing effort, but it is easier than having to rummage through stacks of cans to find the correct paint color or emptying an entire drawer before you find the right screwdriver. 

Furthermore, when you declutter, you may find outdated tools or, more likely, duplicate items. You can donate, recycle or dispose of these and reduce the amount of space they take up in your workshop. This reduction will also keep you from having to rummage through multiple items to find what you need. 

If possible, you could place all the items on the floor in categories so that it is easier to find duplicates and assess items for usefulness. If you plan ahead, you can keep everything in this “staging area” until you are ready to organize it. 

You can also make an honest assessment of what you have and throw away or recycle those items that you rarely use. Decluttering makes the other parts of the organizing process easier because you won’t have to deal with as many tools and materials.

The decluttering process is central to the minimalist lifestyle. Bringing a decluttered mindset into your workshop also brings other minimalist benefits, such as helping focus on the project at hand and helping you maintain a clear mind so that you can choose projects that matter to you.

Utilize Vertical Space

Human beings have a strong tendency to restrict themselves to two dimensions. For example, we still measure the total amount of space available in a room in square feet rather than cubic feet. If you can fight this instinct, you may see that it’s advantageous to utilize all three dimensions when organizing. Vertical spaces are very advantageous for maximizing storage space without increasing clutter.

This approach is especially good when dealing with purpose-built structures like garages and workshops, with higher ceilings but few windows. 

Here are some ideas for utilizing vertical space. 

Pegboards

Pegboards serve as a vertical storage option when you do not want to build full-fledged shelves. All you have to do is mount a pegboard to the wall. You then use hooks to hang tools from the board.

The advantage of this method is that tools are visible and easily accessible. A pegboard can cover the entire wall, giving you lots of flexibility and the opportunity to categorize and organize tools. A properly-mounted peg board accommodates many tools, but you may want to find alternative storage options for heavier tools. 

Tool Hangers

Another simple storage option is a tool hanger, which is a strip of wood mounted to the wall with hangers that hold your tools. This option is best for tools that you often use and want to grab without having to open a drawer or climb to a high shelf. You can even hang these hooks on the side of the shelving, on a pegboard, or directly on the wall. 

If you have a lot of hangers, you may want to label them so that you know which tool goes where. This might not be necessary in every case, but it can help you keep everything organized. 

Vertical Shelving

Vertical shelving is a great way to take full advantage of the walls of a workshop. As long as you’re able to hang a basic shelf, this is a DIY option for taking advantage of all three dimensions of your space. 

You can use purpose-cut shelving or rely on found or recycled wood or other building materials. Add hooks or hangers, containers, or pegboards for additional storage solutions. 

There are even options if you do not want to build actual shelving. You could recycle wood or plastic crates by stacking them on top of one another to create makeshift shelves. This same approach can work for any type of similar box-shaped container. The advantage of this is that it is modular, so you can make your “shelves” as high or wide as you want.

Use Open Shelving

Open shelving is useful for a garage or workshop because it offers easy access, and it allows you to see everything on the shelf without having to open any doors, as you would with a cabinet. 

Open shelving is also ideal for storing items like paint cans, cleaning agents, or other items that you need to see clearly. 

Because there are no doors or other components, you can build open shelves to fit in almost any type of space, as long as there is proper support. This makes them ideal for combining with pegboards, tool hangers, or other components.