5 tips for organizing a workshop

Completing a project in a messy and heavily disorganized workshop can easily become frustrating and time consuming, not to mention dangerous to both life and limb. If one is really serious about shop craft, they need to keep a well-organized workplace. These are five tips to help ensure just that.


If you can’t invest in a ready-made storage system, build one that is truly functional and versatile.

Building your own storage system can be fun. You can design it to fit the workspace as well as the tasks that are executed there. You can create short, rolling storage cabinets that you can slide under the workbench. It’s also cool to have cabinets that you can easily slide on wall-mounted tracks. The cabinets can be attached using masonry bolts into pre-drilled holes in the wall using a hammer drill. Some bins and hooks on the tracks can be used to store items while enabling quick access.

Wall space can be used for storage as well and since a workshop is not typically built with a lot of that, you can still make your wall space more exponentially expansive. How about a flip-through tool rack? This makes tool extraction as easy and quick as leafing through a magazine, yes? Construct plywood ‘leaves’ that swing via standard door hinges for flipping through your tool collection. This can be hung on a flat panel board that mounts to the wall.

Make your workbench as project-friendly as possible

Design a workbench that incorporates lumber storage space. This way, your workbench can double as a storage rack to handle plywood and long lumber pieces that tend to eat up workshop space.

Make your sawhorses with adjustable height jigs so projects can be held at the perfect working height. You can even utilize two sawhorses as a great stand to accommodate benchtop as well as portable power tools. To create a temporary workbench, simply lay a piece of plywood on top of the two sawhorses. Put heavy tools in a cupboard so things do not just pile up uncontrollably on your workbench.


Organize your tools smartly

To do this, you need to lay everything in one row. This facilitates effortless viewing of what you have in your collection and pretty much simplifies decision-making on how to categorize tools according to their application. For instance, put metal work tools into one bin or drawer. The woodworking devices go into another.

Spare tools or duplicate ones should be placed elsewhere. This means, if you own three identical pliers or wrenches, keep just one in the shop and store the others somewhere else. Less used tools should be stored further, while frequently used ones should be nearer the workbench. Cutting tools should be near each other.

Organize with safety in mind

A cabinet is where chemicals in their original packaging should be locked in, always away from potentially reactive sources of heat. Oily rags that result from doing projects should be disposed of in a waste can dedicated just for them. Fire extinguishers should be in all work locations. Choose ABC-rated extinguishers that are usable for all types of fires. Dispose of unwanted items such as bent or rusty nails as well as small pieces of wood.


Observe cleanliness during and after working, and when the shop is not busy

This can’t be stressed more often enough: clean up as you do your projects. You might say this will take time, but can you imagine of you let all the generated dirt pile up till you are done working? If you clean up after finishing each stage of your project, there will be less cleaning to do afterwards, when you are already too tired to lift a shop vac let alone sweep up all the dirt.

A clean workshop ensures you always work with a clear mind and good perspective. It is much easier to organize items when the workshop is clean. Sweep the floor as well as the bench. Remove cobwebs from top corners.

Remember: a well-organized and clean workshop is a sign of a sane mind and nothing is scarier than a shop worker driven mad with a disorganized workplace and who has access to all those dangerous looking tools, right?