Buckets, Jars and Miscellanea

Sometimes Even the Simplest Things

I think it's cool to see how professionals store their jobsite tools.  Most have a pickup or a trailer which are in varying degrees of organization , depending on the practitioner.  When I think back to dad and his tools when I was a kid, and as significant as that time was to me - I can't picture where he kept his tools before building the workshop and garage.  My guess is he was always in the midst of a project at the house so he really didn't have to 'store' them.  Let's talk about one of the unsung heroes of my tool kit...

My first toolbox

I do remember Dad's old metal toolbox.  It was black and had some speckling on it.  I seemed like it held so many tools!  When I first started here at 173, I had an old, beat up toolbox that I don't even remember from where I got it.  As a matter of fact, I keep thinking I picked it up from a rummage sale, but who knows.  The thing is, when I picked it up, all my hand tools fit inside!  I've since repurposed it twice, once as storage for my Kreg tools and supplies, then for my bench grinder accessories, and now it's empty, awaiting some other storage crisis solution.  Here it is from when I first painted it in November of '17 in preparation for the dining room built-in project.

The nice thing about these old toolboxes is they had little storage spaces for things like extra nut and bolts, screw driver bits and any number of things needed on the jobsite.

Some workshop storage ideas
I plan to try
String dispenser using CD cases by The Family Handyman
Air compressor loft by The Family Handyman
Organize the whole shop by Wood Magazine
Tool caddy by For DIYers

The Bucket

It really didn't take long before my tool collection grew too big for that little toolbox.  Mind you, when I say collection I don't mean like when someone just collects things, no - I'm talking about that accumulation that occurs out of necessity, or near necessity.  Unless you're going to hire out just about every job, when you own an old house you're gonna need some tools.  

So it is that with each project here at 173 some new tool needed to complete the project or at least make the project a bit easier was added.  I quickly learned that old toolbox wasn't going to cut it.  It seemed like every few minutes I'd have to stop what I was doing and go to the workshop to grab another tool.

One day I saw some guy on This Old House, or some other show, had a 5 gallon bucket with this apron with loops and pockets all over it.  Yep - off to Home Depot for me!

In an instant I could load up the bucket with tools I anticipated needing and off I'd go!  Of course, it didn't take long to figure out that there were certain tools and supplies (like electrician's tape, string, etc.) I'd almost always need, so these became permanent bucket tools.  Even when in the workshop, my main hammer, a 2" wide beater chisel and others are returned to the bucket after use.  But eventually I came to realize something was missing.  We'll get to that.

Of baby food, mayo and parm

I think I'm not unique in this in any way, but there are some snapshot memories from my childhood that are indelibly etched in my prefrontal cortex.  One of those snapshots is of my maternal grandfather.  I remember he had this kind of a hanging lazy Susan with a bunch a baby food jars attached in which he stored all those little things - screws, nuts, bolts and whatever little doo dad needed storing.  When I started setting up my workshop here at 173, I remembered grampa's baby food jar, and started attaching jars to a joist overhead in the shop.  Back then, it was just about any jar, mustard jars, jelly jars and even old glass pickle jars.  Sorry, but this is the best picture of that I have.  This was from when I was redo-ing the basement:

But over time, it seemed there should be a a bit of uniformity, so I slowly began replacing all those old glass jars with plastic jars, eventually obtaining a complete collection of Hellman's Mayonaise and Kraft Parmesan Cheese (product) jars.

Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up. A. A. Milne

And to the point (finally)

The one shortcoming the bucket organizer was that, even with all those pockets, I just couldn't find that comfortable spot that would hold all the little doo-dads without risking losing them.  And besides that, I use those some doo-dads whether I'm using the bucket or not - I needed portability.  Then one day I was sitting in the shop listening to the radio (yep - I like the radio), when what caught my eye?  Why a parmesan jar of course!   

From there, it was just a matter of waiting for the jar in the fridge to be used up.  Guess who put health heaps of parmesan on just about everything for the next week or two?  Then at long last I had a portable storage solution!

A few storage posts from House 173
∙ Spice rack to small stuff storage - 6/20/20
Back porch, extending kitchen storage - 1/10/11
Knee wall storage - 1/1/11
Scroll saw blade storage - 7/21/19
Totally Random House 173 Post:  Fixing the Basement Walls - Part I

No kiddin', this was one of the best things I've done for my tools.  There may be fancier solutions but I like the way this functions.  If I need something small, I dump it out then put the stuff back in - simple.  

So what kind of stuff do I keep in the jar?  Well, let's see...

All kinds and sizes of driver bits, counter sinks, nail punches, extenders of all sorts, an extra saber saw blade, a common size Allen wrench and 2 drill chuck keys (so they don't get lost in the shop).  Maybe a bit goofy, but I can't begin to tell you how handy it's been!

Thanks for stopping by!

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