The first step to an exceptional job is an organized tool chest. There’s no way you can start repairing anything without knowing where the essential tools are.
It’s stressful organizing a tool chest.
Those small tools can be very difficult to keep track let alone organize. Lucky for you, a disorganized tool chest will be a thing of the past.
We will look at how to organize a mechanics tool chest. This article isn’t meant for mechanics alone, even you with a toolbox at home may pick a few things from this.
Take note that organizing a tool chest is a routine practice, you have to do it as frequently as you can.
Empty your tool chest
The best way to begin organizing is to dump everything on a mat or a piece of cloth. Find a flat surface like the floor of your workstation, basement, garage or driveway.
The mat or piece of cloth is responsible for preventing messes. Greasy tools can tarnish your carpet or floor.
When you empty your tool chest on the mat, you’ll get to see the tools you have. You’ll get to take inventory of everything, take count and note what you need to replace or buy.
It’s advisable to have a list of the contents of your tool chest beforehand. This will make emptying and organizing easier.
Clean your tool chest and every tool individually
There are many ways to clean a tool chest depending on the material it’s made from. Since a majority of them are made from plastic, cleaning them need a bit more concentration.
There’s a high probability that the chest will be greasy. It’s recommended to use some paint thinner to remove those tough grease stains.
Use the solution you prefer and a piece of cloth. Don’t forget to wear rubber gloves for safety and to prevent even more mess. If you’re using solutions with a lot of acid or bleach, ensure your work area is properly ventilated.
Take time and assess every single tool on the mat. Use a piece of cloth and a solution if necessary and wipe them down or scrub them. This helps you know if your tools are still in good working condition.
Loose tools should be tightened /adjusted and blunt tools should be sharpened. Should there be tools with broken parts, rusted/non-functional nails, loose screws, washers or tools that can’t be used anymore, it’s advisable to throw them out.
Know the size of your chest
It’s not sensible to store 15-pound tools in a 5-pound tool chest. You need to know the capacity of your chest. If you have so many tools, it may be time to upgrade to a bigger and better one.
If you have bigger tools, you may need to get a tool chest that will be able to accommodate them. A drawer chest may be the best choice to make organizing and reaching them easy.
Organize like tools together
Just like in your closet where the shirts and socks are separate, the same rule should apply to your tool chest. This will make it easy to access them when you’re deeply engrossed in a job.
You can keep screwdrivers close to wrenches since they complement each other. It wouldn’t be helpful putting a hammer and a sandpaper together. This will also help you to stay organized you won’t need to go on a rampage looking for a screwdriver.
Organize according to the purpose
All the tools you have different purposes. The way you use a hammer isn’t the same way you’ll use a pair of pliers.
On one area of the chest, you can decide to store all the nuts, bolts, screws or washers because they have the same function. On another part, you can decide to store your different sized screwdrivers and another part your wrenches.
Beware though that nuts and bolts are tiny parts, they are difficult to find when lost. If you can find or have a tool chest with small compartments, it would be helpful.
You can alternatively buy different plastic tins to store these small tools and label them differently.
Organize by frequent use
We all have those tools we use more frequently than others. If you like fastening, it would be better to put all the fastening tools at the front of the tool chest.
The rest of the tools can go at the back of the chest. If you have a drawer tool chest, you can use the upper drawers for the tools you use frequently. Alternatively, you can use different boxes and label them according to your frequency of use.
Use rails for your wrenches
There are standard and metric wrenches. Keeping all of them in one box/drawer can be very inconveniencing as you’ll keep digging through every time you want either.
You can use two different drawers/boxes to keep the standard and metric wrenches. You can then label them accordingly.
Alternatively, you can buy a rail if you don’t have one. Rails have been made with different sized sections. You can, therefore, use it to organize both of those wrenches according to size for easy access.
Make labelling your friend
Take out your crafting supplies and start labelling everything! Use a piece of paper or any other preferred material. Use a marker whichever you have and label every drawer.
You can go the extra mile and draw the tools on the labelling paper just for clarity. This will be helpful if you use your chest with others.
After organizing your tool chest, you may get really confused for the first few days. Labelling every drawer is the right move for easy access and identification.
Use readily available storage materials
You can make use of the organizing tray collecting dust in some drawer in your house/workstation. You can also use coffee cans, punctured jugs, cereal containers or anything able to hold something.
You can use them to keep those tiny tools like different sized fastening screws or nails. This will make it easier for you to keep track of them and for access.
Teach yourself everyday organizing
You can’t be organizing your tool chest every week. It will end up being strenuous and time wasting for you.
The key to having an organized tool chest is continuous learning. After using any tool, it’s advisable to clean/scrub it.
Having a clean tool chest throughout makes your work easier and you can keep track of what tool is done for. It also saves you embarrassment from clients, house guests or even parents/grandparents.
When you’re done using your screwdriver or any other tool, don’t throw it aimlessly, put it back in the assigned drawer.
It’s also advisable to line the bottom of your tool chest with cardboard or any absorbent paper to prevent grease from damaging the chest, other tools or the floor. Don’t forget to change the cardboard or absorbent paper frequently.
So there you have it, how to organize a mechanics tool chest. The best way to keep an organized tool chest is maintaining an everyday discipline.
It will push you for a few months till you need to take inventory of all of your tools. Organizing a tool chest is fairly simple. It only needs a little patience and some time.