When it comes to picking out the right toolbox or tool organization system, there are several factors to consider, say professional organizers Ann Lightfoot and Kate Pawlowski, the co-founders of Done & Done Home and authors of the forthcoming book, “Love Your Home Again.”
“Tool organization is highly dependent on how much space is available and how frequently time is spent working on the home,” they say. “There are many different types of systems that work well for tools, but finding the correct one is key for functionality and efficiency.”
Tool organization systems fall into three main categories: wall systems, standing tool chests and smaller transportable options like tool boxes, tool belts and tool vests. With help from Lightfoot, Pawlowski and other experts, we’ve rounded up the best option for every type of tool user.
“For the serious DIYer who spends a ton of time working on home projects and who has a garage, basement or shed, a wall system is a great option,” Lightfoot and Pawlowski say. “Larger tools such as drills and saws can be hung up and remain visible and accessible.”
$1,937.50 at The Container Store
“In our opinion,” Lightfoot and Pawlowski say, “the ultimate in organizing systems is the Elfa Utility Garage system with a workstation from The Container Store. It not only has a pegboard system, it also comes with drawers, shelves and racks to hold tools, sports equipment and items for the yard. It’s the gold standard for getting a garage or workshop organized!”
$139.99 at Amazon
Those looking for a more budget-friendly alternative to wall-mounted tool storage should consider the trusty pegboard, which offers a lot of flexibility for a reasonable price. “We love pegboard systems because they can accommodate a variety of tools and accessories and are highly customizable,” Lightfoot and Pawlowski say. “Hooks and pegs can be added when needed to keep up with a changing collection.”
“If wall space is limited but there’s a need for a system, a standing tool chest works best,” Lightfoot and Pawlowski say. “Multiple drawers hold everything from hammers and screwdrivers to nails and drill bits. They don’t take up a ton of space but keep random items contained and categorized.”
“When people don’t have a need for an entire system but have a few tools for small projects, a standard tool box will do the job,” Lightfoot and Pawlowski say. “It can be tucked away into a closet and will keep common items such as screwdrivers or hammers accessible but out of the way.”
Lucy Durtnall, founder of TF Tools, says “Tool organization and carry systems have evolved hugely over the past two decades. We want to work smarter, look after our bodies and not feel ruined by the end of a day on site.” She urges people to consider tool belts when looking for a tool organization system, because she says, “tool belts that offer back support are both efficient and comfortable. Having your kit on your body with the toolbelt system means it’s accessible and therefore time-saving.”
Tool belts come in different fabrications, most commonly nylon and leather. When choosing which is right for you, Durtnall says, “It comes down to personal preference on aesthetic as each brand has quite a unique style with it.” If a leather tool belt is right for you, she says that “Occidental Leather’s bestseller is the 5089 Seven Framer Rig teamed with 5055 suspenders for added comfort and support that offers large-capacity carry and excellent tool organization.”
$85 at Amazon
There are also tote-style options that fall somewhere in between a tool box and a tool belt. “If you prefer a carry system,” Durtnall says, “Beare Tote is an open tool bag with interchangeable panels” that allows the user to configure the bag to fit their collection.