Decluttering the Shed – How to Build Tool Racks and Organise your Workshop

ShedMy workshop is often a complete mess. I put tools down and get called away, I buy a load of scrap or bits and pieces for projects and then pile them up in the corners, on the floor and, too often, on my workbench.

So today I decided to write about how we can organise our workspaces a little more efficiently – and over the next few weekends I will be implementing these ideas at home – until I buy more tools, bits and pieces of course!

Tool Racks

I already have tools racks along my walls and I do use them. These are a great weekend DIY project and I can’t recommend them enough to get things organised. You can be as creative or simple as you like with this – my first tool rack was just a piece of hardboard bracketed to the wall with hooks and nails to hang tools on.

Here’s a quick guide to how to build a simple tool rack.

Step 1: Mounting

Attach a piece of hardwood to your shed or workshop wall, whichever will be easiest and sturdiest for your supports.

With a wooden shed you can just drill pilot holes for the screws, with brick or concrete you’ll need to use a high powered masonry drill and plugs or fasteners.

Step 2: Build Racks

Racks themselves are easily built out of spare wood and scraps if you’re not too worried about the aesthetics.

Hammers and Mallets – Use wooden pegs inserted into hardwood or the back panel to hang.

Screwdrivers – build a small shelf with the top board drilled at 3cm or so spacing so that you can drop screwdrivers into it. (You can, of course, be much neater with this). You can replicate this for all drill bits etc. – as, oddly enough, they create holes the perfect size to put them in.

Planes – For these create a holder using three pieces of grooved wood (e.g. decking board) that will hold the tools.

Chisels – Create open holes with a jigsaw for easy storage and accessibility.

Ok, that’s tools covered so now let’s organise the hard stuff.

Organising the rest!

I have three bins in my workshop – wood, metal and scrap. Scrap is essentially rubbish but sometimes I’ll need a small something and will rootle for it. The others are stored for projects. I also have three tool boxes for tools that I don’t use as often. I just use standard tool boxes like these here.


These sit underneath the workbench. Off to one side, I have an old bookcase filled with open boxes filled with screws, nuts, bolts, bits and pieces. Of course these are beautifully organised into sizes ranging from “about so long”, to a strange collection of bent nails. If I was better organised these would be in size order – I never will be.

Storing Materials

The real problem I have is all the junk. The “that will be useful one day” stuff. This usually gets cleared up when I get to the stage that I can’t turn around in the workshop. However, I have got some useful storage techniques.

Store stuff overhead – if you’re lucky enough to have a lot of headroom in your shed use wire netting attached to the ceiling to store wood and other materials – very useful.
Store stuff underfoot. You can still pick up, or make, big open wooden and metal boxes. You can leave these under workbenches and table tops. I like mine to be open if they contain any items that aren’t delicate – so I can find with my eyes. But if they have tools they should be closed.

Hopefully some of these tips will help you with your workshop or shed – it may even be better than mine!

About the Author

Sam Jones is the lead copywriter at an on-line DIY supplier based in the beautiful Dorset, England. He is a keen tinkerer and spends most evenings tucked away in his workshop!

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