A 'Plethora' of nuts and bolts and other assorted stuff

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Forum topic by Hopdevil posted 01-05-2011 04:33 AM 4577 views 0 times favorited 49 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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219 posts in 3081 days

01-05-2011 04:33 AM

Topic tags/keywords: question

OK folks, I’ll admit it….

I’m a hoarder of nuts, bolts, springs, and whatever else is left over from putting things together or taking them apart.

Now my problem is, I have way too much of it to easily deal with. I could give over to my anal retentive side and spend hours and hours sorting and organizing it, but then I’m not woodworking! I hate to throw it away, because I actually do find uses for the things, just not as fast as it accumulates.

How do you deal with similar stuff? Do you just trash it and buy it as you need it? or do you just keep it in a big bucket and dump it out to find that bolt you know you saw 2 months ago?

Thanks for helping me with my ‘disease’ ;-)


-- Buzz ---- Of all the things I have ever lost, I miss my mind the most.

49 replies so far

View wseand's profile


2796 posts in 3037 days

#1 posted 01-05-2011 04:56 AM

I would separate then into four or more smaller bins. Nuts, bolts, springs, etc.. Pick the size of the bins once they are full find someone else that might want the rest of them or toss them.

View FirehouseWoodworking's profile


706 posts in 3268 days

#2 posted 01-05-2011 05:42 AM

I use the semi-opaque plastic containers that Chrystal Light iced tea powder (as well as lemonade, fruit drinks, etc.) come in. They are about 6” tall and a “flattened cylinder” in cross section, so they do not roll if tipped over.

With as much iced tea as I and my sons drink, there is never a shortage of containers! They store rather easily, whether in drawers or on shelves.

A label on either the top (if stored in drawers) or on the side (if stored on shelves) identifies the contents.

I sort hardware if I’m watching TV. (It’s unsafe to watch football and operate machinery, so I have the time. LOL!) Just keep a nut and screw gauge handy along with spare containers and the label maker.

Like you, I have a hard time throwing away leftover – or found/gifted – hardware. And the plastic containers don’t create the problems of broken glass if dropped. If they do crack or break, it’s no sweat to replace the container.

For larger quantities (drywall screws, finish nails, common nails, etc.) I use empty plastic coffee containers. When I’m not drinking iced tea, it’s coffee!!! I take yellow contact paper, cut to size, and cover the container labels so they look kinda neater. It makes it visually easier to read the contents label. And it makes them look less goofy and cheap as well.

Just some thoughts for you to consider. Good luck.


-- Dave; Lansing, Kansas

View SteveKorz's profile


2134 posts in 3709 days

#3 posted 01-05-2011 05:53 AM

I have this problem too… it’s terrible. I had so many fastners that weren’t organized, that I found myself buying the fastners because it was quicker to drive into town, buy them, and drive home, than it was to just sort thru all the nonsense and find them.

So, I went thru and first made a quick assessment… I dumped them all out and did a basic sort to OLD and NEW. Everything old I put aside for another day. Everything new, I sorted into nuts, bolts, type, washers, etc. It’s not perfect yet, but it’s better than it used to be. After looking at a lot of the older stuff, I just got rid of it.

-- As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another. (Proverbs 27:17) †

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18267 posts in 3671 days

#4 posted 01-05-2011 10:14 AM

I do the same ;-( Mostly materials left from jobs that pile up unsorted. Once in a while i restock my go to boxes with piles of came from boxes ;-) I hate when I find things in there that I just bought ;-(( Oh well, they will get used eventually.

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View racerglen's profile


3112 posts in 2776 days

#5 posted 01-05-2011 02:09 PM

Much the same here, but i’m using a combo of plastic cashew jars, clear plastic drawer units and plastic
wall in the bins, big lots like drywall screws go in the jars and get marked for size then lined up along shelves. ANYTHING Brass is kept separate, even down to a quarter 20 drawer..stuff’s expensive and sometimes hard to find.. As far as sorting, here’s a quick one.. take a Frisbie ,and using forstner or hole saw put a 2” ot so hole off to one side. Now dump the collection into the dished side sort away and just hold over the container to drop the salvage in the apropriate place through the hole !

-- Glen, B.C. Canada

View papadan's profile


3584 posts in 3363 days

#6 posted 01-05-2011 02:29 PM

I’ve been a mechanic for 38 years along with being the neighborhood fix it man for 33. How many of those 5 gallon buckets of hardware do you want? LOL

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3110 days

#7 posted 01-05-2011 02:38 PM

I had my daughter and four of her schoolmates to sort a pile for me one day
they come in and said they didn´t know what to do and was boreing …lol
I thought the wuold run away screaming I cuold do it my self ….but nop
three hours later all was sorted and labeled in length with 5mm spring for the screws and nails

and the rest in 1mm spring for the nuts and washers etc. etc.

still amaze me that they did it with out any promisses from me of an icecream or candy…nope
and they still come from time to time and mask if they can help me ….LOL

well .. the icecream was realy hughe that day :—))

good luck with the sorting …LOL


View helluvawreck's profile


31044 posts in 2862 days

#8 posted 01-05-2011 02:45 PM

I keep a good bit of things like that in my home shop (see picture of bin boxes). I put it in the plastic storage bins and the little plastic drawer units that you can get at Lowes. It’s not so much the value of a nail or screw or spring it’s the time that it takes you to go get something. From the time I get in my truck, go to Lowes, and get back, I’ve shot a whole hour or more. Just keep it but store it in a reasonable manner and when you run out of space just stop until you use some of it up or throw some of it away. I also piddle around with electronics and back in my study I have more of these drawer units with all sorts of stuff in them.

Now my stuff at the plant is a whole other matter, but I find uses for it all the time. So I say keep it and use it. :)

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27250 posts in 3817 days

#9 posted 01-05-2011 02:50 PM

Buzz, I wish I could help you with your “addiction” but I am afraid my system won’t do you a lot of good:

Like you I never can seem to bring myself to toss out screws, nuts, bolts etc. and just toss them in the drawer. I keep promising myself that I will organize it but I just never seem to be able to get around to getting it done. :)

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View Eric_S's profile


1565 posts in 3190 days

#10 posted 01-05-2011 02:53 PM

Scott that looks like my drawer.

-- - Eric Noblesville, IN

View helluvawreck's profile


31044 posts in 2862 days

#11 posted 01-05-2011 04:26 PM

Scott, it looks like you use the system where everything is filed under ‘M’ for miscellaneous. It’s actually a great time saver. Instead of 25 different drawers you have only one, ‘M’. That way you only have one place to go to look for something when you need it. :)

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View Mark Shymanski's profile

Mark Shymanski

5621 posts in 3708 days

#12 posted 01-05-2011 04:34 PM

I used to save stuff like that but when I was doing mechanic work it broke me of the habit because the folks I worked for said they don’t want to take a chance on re-used bits and pieces when the safety (and productivity) of their drivers is far more important. I toss all my metal bits in the recycling bin, at least there the metal gets reused.

My shop is too small to store too much stuff not allocated to a project so this approach works for me.

-- "Checking for square? What madness is this! The cabinet is square because I will it to be so!" Jeremy Greiner LJ Topic#20953 2011 Feb 2

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3475 days

#13 posted 01-05-2011 04:36 PM

I have the same problem. Anytime I tear something apart, I keep all of the screws, washers, etc. I bought a bunch of organizers from Sears and mounted them on the wall in a row and organized it all. Its kind of like a hardware store. I like the bins I have because they have lids rather than those crazy drawers that hang up on everything. They are pictured in my gallery.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4123 days

#14 posted 01-05-2011 04:37 PM

I recycle vintage hardware for use in my wood crafting business and for sale/trade to other artisans.
I use heavy-duty zipper-lock plastic bags were ever possible. I hang them on a peg board with spring clips from an office supply store.

-- 温故知新

View Cosmicsniper's profile


2202 posts in 3154 days

#15 posted 01-05-2011 06:20 PM

LOL…oh my gosh, Scott. That is so me!

I’ve contemplated this too. I’m leaning to a wall cabinet (french cleated) with slots to hold thin Plano cases (like 20 of them). I can then assort each case the way I want, holding all sorts of hardware, random or otherwise.

Otherwise, I might just duplicate Helluvawreck’s system…that’s just amazingly beautiful…sick…but beautiful!

-- jay,

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