How to Organize a Tool Box: The Best Tips for Beginners

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A messy toolbox equals a bad job. That’s why you need to learn how to organize a tool box from the very first time you realized you are the hands-on person.

So before you set out to do your next project, I suggest you get that grimy, greasy, disorganized tool chest under control. This should give you better and more satisfactory results.

What Is a Tool Box?

I know you are thinking that you are lucky since you’ve got no toolbox. Well, that carry on backpack that you use equates to a toolbox. However, a toolbox or tool chest is also known as a work box. 

It is a box with many compartments that you use to carry your work tools. The box provides adequate protection to your tools. It minimizes damages, prevents the loss, and makes your tools easy to access. 

Why Own a Tool Box?

Various people own a toolbox because of different reasons. Professionals will own a toolbox because they need it in their job. Hands-on guys might need one for their DIY hobby projects, and the rest could own it as a precautionary choice.

What is a Tool Boxes Made Of?

Initially, toolboxes were made purely of wood. However, with improved technology, manufacturers have resorted to hardwood, high-end plastics, and metallic alloys. This is because the materials listed above are extremely durable. 

The metallic alloy toolboxes come in steel or stainless steel. They cost more because the steel is expensive. However, they last longer and will easily hold very heavy tools without developing week edges.

They are safer and you can easily clean them too. Steel toolboxes can also be oiled so that they swing open easily. Make sure that you follow the user manual when using a steel toolbox.

How to Organize Your Tool Box: Simple Step for Great Results

There are many tool box organization ideas that you can take if you want to keep your tool chest neatly organized. In this section, I will highlight a step by step guide on tool box organization that you can always start with. 

Step I: Empty Your Tool Box

Find a place that’s free of any clutter. If it is in your workshop, make sure that you clear the middle of the floor.

Then empty your toolbox in this space. It is important to confirm that all tools have been emptied on the floor and that none is stuck on the toolbox floor. 

Step II: Clean Your Tool Box

You might find that your toolbox is greasy or grimy. It is important that you clean the toolbox first before you proceed. When cleaning the toolbox, the following things should be considered first.

  • What material is the toolbox made of?
  • Is the toolbox grimy or greasy?

Now, it’s time to clean. Remember, toolboxes are often grimy and therefore you can never get a spotless touch. Nonetheless, if the grime is too heavy, you can always use paint thinner to cut through.

TIP: The area that you are using the thinner in should be properly ventilated. This prevents lightheadedness and leaves you sharp.

Step III: Clean the Tool

Once the toolbox is clean, keep in mind what caused the grime and clean it too. These will be the tool. Clean your tools. Carefully remove the grime and grease. You can use a soft cloth and paint thinner too. Turpentine is a good option. 

  • When cleaning the tools, here are a few things that you should do:
  • Look out for corrosion and use rust remover to clean your tools
  • Test the tools and find out if they are working properly
  • Oil the tools that have move-able parts that should be maintained
  • Arrange the tools according to uses – possible in small groupings over the surface. 

Step IV: Isolate Damaged Items

If some of your tools are damaged, you should remove them from your toolbox. The best way to organize a tool box is often to go with tools that are in good conditions/ tools that are in proper working conditions.

Ruined tools such as screwdrivers that have broken handles and spanners with stuck or rusted gears should be set aside. You can always categorize them on those that can be fixed and the ones that have been written off.

Step V: Group the Essential Tools 

There are basic tools that will apply to almost every group of tools. They include a flashlight, screwdrivers, spanners, tape measure, and pliers among others. These tools are usually common to many jobs that you will do. 

Due to this, you should put them in their own group. They are the most vital tools so make sure that you treat them so.

Step VI: Check the Tool Box Capacity 

When it comes to how to organize tools, there is no way 20 pounds tools will fit in a 15-pound toolbox. If this is the case find another box with higher capacity. If the tools are less then you can go ahead and fit the in the box. 

Step VII: Pack Your Tool Box

If you are just learning how to organize a toolbox, I will suggest that you pay very close attention to what I am going to say. 

There isn’t a code for arranging a toolbox. Rather you should stick to what works for you. The most important thing is that you set up your tool in a way that you can easily find them. So follow these tips.

Choose Categories 

Set up categories that suit you. I always love to arrange my toolbox depending on the uses of my tools, the size of the tool, the type of tools. You can pile up wrenches together, pliers, screwdrivers, and spanners, etc. Here are some categories that you can go with. 


Different tools perform different functions. Nuts and bolts will secure items. Screwdrivers and Spanners are used for loosening and fastening.

Project Type

The work that you do requires some tools more than the others. You can go with this set of tools that suit your job and set them in one area. Just make sure that you can find them with ease. 

Additional Tip 

Not all tools are meant for the toolbox. There are some tools that you can also store out of the toolbox. Make sure you know the difference. Storing a few tools outside will help you to have more space in the work box. Find such tools and set them out. 

How to Organize a Tool Box: Making Your Work Easy

The best way to organize your toolbox requires you to make your work easy. Here are proper toolbox organization ideas that will do exactly that. 

Label Your Tools

Labeling your tools/ set of tools that you have chosen will make it easy for you to find them. One way that you can do that is by securing a masking tape and then using a marker pen to label every compartment.

Use Pegboards 

A pegboard allows you to put together the same type of tools. You can use it to hang the simple items that serve the same purpose and are of the same type or similar to each other. 

Use Internal Trays

If your toolbox is big enough, the best way to organize a toolbox will be to use trays. You can set in some trays and drop in the tools depending on the categories that you chose. Nails, nuts, bolts, and pins can go in trays. 

Clean Your Tools

A dirty toolbox is a disorganized toolbox. To keep your toolbox neat and well-organized, you must keep your tools in good shape too. Always make sure that you clean your tools every time you have used them. 

  • Wipe out grease
  • Dry off water or moisture
  • Close them up/ Don’t leave them in an open position
  • Drop them in their right place
  • Set up a routine cleaning period 

NOTE: The faster you put back your tool in the box once it is used the better. It will prevent it from lying dangerously outside. You will also minimize damages by proper storage. In addition to that, you won’t leave the box open for long.

Benefits of Organizing Your Tools

We have seen how to organize your tool box. But do you know the benefits that this practice comes with? I give you some of the best benefits of a proper toolbox organization.

Easy Operation

First, you will be able to do your job very easily. You will find that you don’t strain to find your tools and that you operate very simply. If you need the pliers you can easily find it since you know where it is. 

High Productivity 

With a better operation, you will save time. You will do more and in turn, end up with better and higher results. This will mean higher productivity. 

Low Tool Damages 

When tools are thrown around aimlessly, they can easily sustain damages. They can break, char, or get corroded. Proper keeping means less clutter and better safety. This leads to a longer lifespan. 

Maximum Value 

Some tools are really costly. You won’t be able to spend on them every time. If you keep them properly and they last longer, you will be able to get better value for your money. This is much better. 

Clean Working Area

There is a good feeling that comes with working in a clean area. You will enjoy fresh breath and better air circulation. A properly organized workshop provides the same. It allows you to move freely and to enjoy a healthy working environment too. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

We have seen the best way to organize a tool box. Nonetheless, I want to highlight a few FAQs that will help you to gain a better understanding.

Should I Buy a Steel Chest or Stainless Steel Chest?

To protect the steel toolbox, a protection powder is often used. The powder helps to prevent the steel from rust. 

However, stainless steel is composed of a chemical part that keeps it safe from rust. This means that it doesn’t need powder. Because the chemical is part of it, you can easily polish it to attain a shiny touch.

You can, therefore, make your choice according to what suits you. My advice, however, is this, going with stainless steel would be better.

How Do I Maintain My Tool Box to Remain Clean?

Start by lubricating the casters. You can also use light-duty oil to lubricate the slides. Then dust your chest to remove dust, debris, and any form of dirt. Use a soft cloth to prevent scratches that could lead to corrosion and peeling. If you have any form of spillage you can also wipe with a soft cloth. 

Where Should I Place the Broken but Fixable Tools?

You can find a container that suits them and lock them inside. The container should be unused. Once you lock them to make sure that there is no way they can spill around and cause more clatter. You can then fix them at your free time.

The other tools that cannot be fixed should be thrown away. Put them in the garbage and dump them out.

NOTE: It is important to keep your workshop clean. It will help you to work much more efficiently and to prevent any form of clatter. It will also help you to minimize any chances of accidents.


Proper tool organization helps you to minimize damages to your tools to a great extent. It is a good thing that now you understand how to organize your tool box.

You should have much better work experience with your tool. You will be able to save time, have a smooth operation, and enjoy better tool longevity.

The tools we use in our workshops should also have a routine check. This will ensure that if you have any potential damages you fix them before the tool is rendered useless. 

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