Top 10 Shop Storage Hacks

Bring these household items into your shop to increase your storage options and get organized like you never thought possible.

By Rob Brown
Photos by Rob Brown

1. File Folders

I have all of my rectangular sandpaper stored in file folders. The hanging type are the best, as they don’t tend to collapse when loaded up with sandpaper. Different grits are easy to find, and the folders and storage case are not expensive to purchase.

2. Art Supply Storage Units

Art supplies come in many shapes and sizes, and storage units are not expensive. A trip to your local art shop, or even an internet search, will give you loads of artistic ideas. Even sewing storage can be used when storing small items.

3. Plastic Food Containers

Yogurt and peanut butter containers are used throughout my shop to store everything from biscuits and dowels to screws and wood plugs. If they aren’t large enough consider large Tupperware/Rubbermaid storage containers.

4. Small Water Jug

My shop doesn’t have running water, but I get along quite well with just a 4-litre jug that has a simple lever tap.

5. Kitchen Drawer Storage Racks

There’s a wide selection of wire storage items for kitchens and drawers. Some of these racks will make great storage for the shop. There are also many wire racks that are for the backs of doors. If fixed to the wall they can help out quite nicely.

6. Bookcases

Bookcases are typically 12″ deep, so they make great storage for routers, sanders and other smaller shop tools. Just make sure the shelves are strong enough to take the weight. You can always strengthen shelves with L-brackets or braces, or even replace a shelf or two with stronger material.

7. Spice Jars

Inexpensive, simple and nice looking, spice jars are great for storing tiny items like small finishing nails, rubber bumpers, washers and many other things around the shop.

8. Small Magnetic Containers

I have a few different sets of small metal containers, with magnets on their bottoms. They came with a piece of metal that gets screwed to the underside of a surface so the jars can be held in place. They’re easy to retrieve, and they will stay put until you need them.

9. Discarded Kitchen Cabinets

Upper kitchen cabinets work great when secured high on a wall, and lowers make great bases for work counters, mitre saw stations, etc. Check ReStore as well as the Big Box stores, as they sometimes have odd sizes on sale.

10. Small Metal Boxes

I store my dowel centers, miscellaneous small drill bits, tiny Allen keys, tapered countersink bits and many other small items in containers that used to hold mints or balms. They look nice and work very well. Some containers are hinged, while others have twist-off tops.


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