Simple Ways to Organize Your Workshop

by Jennifer Lutz

Every handyman dreams of having a clean, well-ordered space to work on projects. But if your workshop has become a confusing mess of stray nails, sawdust, and disorganized tools, you may find yourself hampered by the clutter as you try to move from one project to the next.

A clutter-free workshop promotes efficiency. You can save time preparing for your next DIY project when you know exactly where each tool is stored. Below are some creative ideas for maintaining a clean and organized workshop -- and keeping it that way.

The Most Important Step

For many people, the planning stages of organization can be overwhelming. This, in no way, implies that planning should be done haphazardly. Make sure to develop a process -- one that involves actually getting work done.

Get a pen and notepad ready and do a quick inventory of the items you frequently use in your workshop and those you don't. Group the items, first, according to the frequency of use and, second, by size. You can organize around larger items, such as a sewing machine or a wood-cutting table.

Organization -- Simplified

The best way to simplify organization is to think of it as a series of steps, each with a particular goal. Keep these goals in mind to stay motivated to complete the entire process.

Step 1: Take care of the mess

A cluttered workshop is an unproductive workshop. Before even considering storage options, take stock and think about your actual needs. Do you really need those leftover cans of paint you've been keeping for years? Will you have use for that tool set that's been in storage ever since you put up your workshop? Thinking about your needs helps you consider your future projects and give you a clearer picture of the types of projects you're interested in.

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Step 2: Develop a storage system

After determining what to keep and what to throw away, it's time to consider a storage system that suits your most common tasks. Whether it's using color-coded drawers or numbered containers, the important thing is to create a system you're comfortable with -- one that you can adhere to for good.

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Step 3: Get creative

This is the fun part. After getting your hands dirty, it's time to add some design touches. It can be anything from intricate drawer handles to DIY wall racks and shelves or even a brand new paint job. Whatever it is, aim to strike a balance between form and functionality -- something that makes the space more aesthetically pleasing while helping you become more organized and avoid clutter.

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Step 4: Maximize space

For many, maintaining a workshop comes at a premium -- especially after a few years when tools and leftover materials from previous projects begin to build up. The logical next step if you want to save space is to follow step 1 of this process.

Take care of the mess and think about what you can afford to throw away and what you can't. If you still find that your workshop is a mess, it's time to free up some floor space. You can also maximize available space by utilizing walls and ceilings. Use wall hooks, peg boards, lattice with "s" hooks, and wall-mounted or free-standing shelves.

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Step 5: Say no to clutter

Clutter is one of the main hindrances to productivity. Cleaning up clutter is good, but preventing it from piling up is even better. Say no to clutter by anticipating the problem; label shelves, boxes, and other containers properly so you're not tempted to just toss something into the closest available space.

Open shelves may provide easy access to your tools and other paraphernalia, but closed cabinets provide a more organized look.

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The next time you feel overwhelmed by a disorganized workshop, remember this simple organization process. With a little creativity and effort, you're well on your way to creating the perfect workshop.

About the author: Jennifer Lutz is the home decor expert and frequently blogs on topics related to the home, decorating, organizing, and more.