Best Ways to Organize and Protect Your Tools
Keep your tools organized and protected from the elements with these great tips and products.
A cozy bed for your tools
If you’re particular about your tools or you own delicate, high-end tools like calipers and engineering squares, you probably don’t want them rattling around in a drawer or toolbox. Now you can protect them with a product called Kaizen Foam.
You simply cut out the profile of your tools in the layered foam, cutting as deep as necessary to fit the depth of the tool and peeling out as many layers as it takes to embed the tool. Now your tools will be as protected as a gun in a custom suitcase. Plus, the empty space in the foam is a handy reminder of which borrowed tool your crew member “forgot” to give back.
A backpack for jobsites
For thousands of years, tradespeople have been climbing ladders and scampering around on scaffold platforms with only one hand on the railing because the other held the toolbox, and getting injured in the process.
The solution, of course, is to use both hands for scampering. Milwaukee’s Jobsite Backpack makes that possible. It has tons of tool storage space, a laptop compartment, a molded base to keep it upright on the ground and a handle on top to make it easy to move short distances. This is the perfect solution for you folks who regularly work on roofs, off scaffolds, or at any job where climbing is part of the daily routine. It could also come in handy for maintenance workers who have to lug their tools around huge facilities. The Milwaukee Jobsite Backpack can be purchased online here.
Many pros like to store a lot of gear under the backseat of their truck. It can get pretty cluttered under there, but stretch wrap helps restore order. It's perfect for bundling items that would otherwise turn into one big frustrating tangled mess. You can also wrap your tow strap, tie-downs, jumper cables, raincoat, extension cord, bungees and extra pairs of gloves.
Organize tools by the job
If you are a jack of more than one trade, knowing exactly which tools you'll need for every job is next to impossible. Organize your toolboxes and storage bins according to the work that needs to be done. Create a box for plumbing tools, electrical, drywall, etc. No doubt this will lead to owning more than one of the same tool... but you won't believe how much time you'll save having all the proper tools on hand.
Bring extra fasteners
Dedicate a toolbox just for fasteners. You may think you’ll need only two different size screws to finish your job, but it rarely works out that way. Keep a variety of bits along with the fasteners so that you’ll always have the right bit with the right screw.
Simple saw blade protectors
To protect your saw blades and prevent injuries, slip plastic sliding bars for report covers over the business end of the saw. These come in a package of twenty and can easily be cut to fit nearly any blade.
Speaking of pros who store things under their seats: Do you have a mess of tools and supplies kicking around under the backseat of your extended or crew-cab pickup? Then you should check out the Du-Ha under-seat organizer (prices and size vary by truck model). Installation was a breeze—we just slid it into place and snapped the buckles around the seat brackets (so it wouldn’t go anywhere in a crash). Then we loaded it with tools. We especially liked the padded slotted dividers for our 4-foot level. Du-Ha makes organizers to fit almost all extended and crew cabs and you can pick a color to match your interior.
Organize your wrenches in your toolbox by stringing them onto a large carabiner. It will keep your wrenches together and make them portable and easy to spot.
Theft-proof your truck bed
Expensive tools are prone to theft, especially when they’re in an open truck bed. Master Lock’s Truck Bed U-Lock defeats the grab-and-go thief. Install it in the stake hole pocket in your truck bed. Run cables through your tool handles and lock the cable ends in the U-Lock. It only takes a few seconds to secure and release your tools. The lock fits most late-model, full-size pickups.
The best chain has hexagonal links
A heavy-duty hardened steel chain with hexagonal links will thwart nearly every thief with a bolt cutter. Hexagonal links (or square or trapezoidal) make it impossible for bolt cutters to get a grip. You may be tempted to buy chain by the foot at the hardware store, but it's designed for lifting and towing, not theft resistance. Even the thick stuff is likely to have round links, and frankly, if a hardware store clerk can cut the chain easily, a thief can too.