Organize Your Tool Bench - Before and After

Have you been out getting those summer projects accomplished?!

Been digging through your tools and realizing that organizing your tool bench is a project in and of itself?

We wanted to share how our professional organizing consultant, Tiffany, recently made-over our Portland, OR client’s tool bench.

Here is the client’s tool bench before:

Cluttered attic

What you see here is a common problem that people struggle with. This client had a space for tools and miscellaneous household project items, but the organization stops there.

Do you have a space like this in your home? Maybe a linen closet, a craft room, or a pantry? You know what should belong in the space, but it all gets tossed in together in a disorderly mass? The steps that Tiffany used to help this client can help you with those spaces, too!

But first, more of this client’s story… Although this client had a tool “area,” it was never used because the items weren’t sorted. Lacking an organization system, tools and supplies were left in tubs or bags after household projects were completed. As you can imagine, being unable to find items from previous projects led to repeat purchases. Not only were the items in the tool area disorganized; they also covered up the work surface.

Realizing the pain of wasting time and money on multiple purchases, this client decided it was time to reclaim this real estate and start putting it to use!

Tiffany began, as we do with most organizing projects, with a thorough sort so they could see what categories of items were in the space. The sort revealed important information:

1. How many different types of items were in the space

2. How much they had of each item 

Sorting FIRST allows you to avoid one of the common organizing mistakes: Product Panacea! (You can find more on organizing mistakes to avoid in Vicki’s book). This mistake occurs when you start throwing organizing products at the problem! If you invest in organizing products (plastic bins, files, furniture) BEFORE really understanding your needs you may end up frustrated and trying to fit your stuff into your storage system (rather than the other way around!) So, start with a good sort to see what you have and how much of it.

After completing the sort, Tiffany brainstormed with her client about what they could use to store the items that belonged in this space. They came up with the idea of using shoe boxes because the client didn’t want to invest much money in an area that got little use.

Another great tip – organizing doesn’t have to be expensive! Be selective about where you invest your money to organize your spaces. Start by looking around at what you have! Repurposing furniture or storage bins is a great option because it reduces clutter around your home by making sure that everything is being used! Vicki loves to use repurposed items to organize her home. To see a few of the fun ideas she’s implemented, read our At Home With Vicki organizing blog.

Here’s the tool bench organization project after:

organized attic


Shoebox organization


Now that there are spots designated for all types of items that come into the tool bench area, finding items is a breeze. It is also easy to put items away, which helps keep the area tidy!

In sharing this project with you, we hope you get inspired to tackle a spot in your home that is suffering surface abuse! If you have any interesting ideas you use, please comment and share them here! Also, if you’d like us to share about ideas for organizing a specific place in the home, post it here!


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