Small parts organization

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Forum topic by live4ever posted 11-06-2011 03:41 AM 4152 views 2 times favorited 16 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3182 days

11-06-2011 03:41 AM

Topic tags/keywords: shop organization hardware question

So it dawned on me recently that I need proper organization and labeling of my screws, bolts, inserts, hardware, etc. that are floating around in various bins, bags, and boxes. How do you guys do it?

I was considering a 60 drawer organizer for around $30…

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

16 replies so far

View SeaWitch's profile


149 posts in 2566 days

#1 posted 11-06-2011 05:38 AM

My husband insisted that both he and I get the kind of tip-out bins that you see in the hardware store. I can’t remember where we got them, but they look like this: . Husband has his own “shop” for his auto hobby and his bins are full of nuts and bolts. Mine are full of screws and finishing nails and odds and ends.

-- When you are asked if you can do a job, tell 'em, 'Certainly I can!' Then get busy and find out how to do it.”   Theodore Roosevelt

View mtenterprises's profile


933 posts in 2865 days

#2 posted 11-06-2011 02:09 PM

I know you want this to happen instantainiously but the classic thing to do is use jars. I recycle peanut butter jars and Nesquick choclet milk containers. The main reason is that it keeps the plastic out of the land fill and I allready paid for a useful container. Hey my grand dad did it with glass jars and so did my dad but I have moved up to plastic they don’t break when dropped. You asked how we do it and thats my way.

-- See pictures on Flickr - And visit my Facebook page -

View tenontim's profile


2131 posts in 3916 days

#3 posted 11-06-2011 03:10 PM

I use the storage boxes from the art supply stores. They have 8 compartments that you can divide even further with the supplied dividers. They’re flat with a lid and you can make a shelving unit or cabinet for them. Holds a lot of small hardware in a small dust free space.

View punk's profile


181 posts in 2588 days

#4 posted 11-06-2011 03:22 PM

babby food jars, screw lids to octagon shaped wood how ever long you want,make a base,fix to wall,bench or what ever.then you can spin to reach other jars.

-- Punk in PA

View StumpyNubs's profile


7674 posts in 2972 days

#5 posted 11-06-2011 03:41 PM

You’re a woodworker. MAKE ONE!

And then make me one too, because I don’t have time to make something I can buy for a few bucks…

Also, EVERYONE do me a favor: click over to the Charles Niel vs Stumpy Nubs contest thread and help judge the boxes! Then come back here and continue your discussion with the warm inner feeling of having done another good deed…

-- Subscribe to "Stumpy Nubs Woodworking Journal"- One of the crafts' most unique publications:

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3214 days

#6 posted 11-06-2011 07:33 PM

Ok im sorry that i dont have photos – but i purchased several boxes of 3inch by 5inch and 4 by 6 inch heavy plastic zip lock bags. I took 3 by 5 file cards and wrote what was in each bag and then inserted the file card and contents in each bag (small fuses, electrical connectors, number washers, 1/4 inch washers, 1 1/2 long galvanized brads, 2 1/2 torx screws, 4 inch deck screws, solder, electrical marking tape, auto fuses, – ect) I then place these bags into small plastic parts boxes that are organized as to fasteners, electrical components, plumbing parts, nails, etc. This system works great for me – if i have to head to my daughters house to do carpenter work I just grab a bag with the right length screws / nails and im set to go. Ive even converted my son in law to use this method to organize small quanities of hardware so a person can find it in a hurry. Hope this helps !!! Thanks everyone for all the sharing of ideas – this is a NEET web site !! This storage system is CHEAP and it requires very little space to organize lots of small quanitities of hardware in a way that a person can find it !!!

View Bertha's profile


13550 posts in 2865 days

#7 posted 11-06-2011 07:35 PM

I use those flat Stanley boxes with all the little square removable cups. I’ve also got the wall mounted Hillman (sp?) sliding cups. This system has worked pretty well for me but I’ve assembled a lot of them now and the organization is kind of out the window. I just open up three or more until I find what I’m looking for, lol. Good luck!

-- My dad and I built a 65 chev pick up.I killed trannys in that thing for some reason-Hog

View horologist's profile


104 posts in 3911 days

#8 posted 11-06-2011 11:34 PM

It really depends on the size and quantity of objects you wish to store. Like many, I do have a number of those cabinets with small sliding plastic drawers. They are a cheap and efficient use of space but I’m not real fond of them as the drawers aren’t very durable and the cabinets are, well, ugly. Instead I have purchased various wood and metal cabinets over the years to replace the plastic ones. I thought about posting photos but as my cabinets aren’t readily available it seemed that it wouldn’t be that helpful. Antique malls and flea markets are good sources but it takes a bit of patience. You can also keep an eye out for a local university surplus auction.

To belabor the obvious, you will need larger heavier duty cabinets for tools and materials, smaller cabinets for the smaller objects although you can effectively combine smaller items in a larger drawer. Just don’t use a drawer so large that you end up digging to the very bottom every time you try to find something. Some time ago I made a large purchase of small brass and steel wood screws. Most were in cardboard boxes, others in plastic bags. I have a cabinet with long, shallow, wooden drawers that are large enough to hold all the screws of one size and material. Some of the boxes fit in the drawer others had to be bagged in small zip lock bags. Jewelry suppliers have a wide variety of these bags for beads and findings.

If you have quantities of really small parts then something like this might be worth considering.

These are bushings for clock repair, they come in a flat cardboard box with a tray made up of open top pockets to separate the different sizes. There are two types of clock repairmen, those who have dumped a bushing box and those who will. I managed to avoid this catastrophe for years and then dumped the stupid things three times in one month. It takes hours to sort them all out again. The box above is my solution to the problem and has worked well. The company I purchased my boxes from is out of business but there are similar boxes at the link below that are much more reasonably priced than the ones I saw on amazon.
<http: />

-- Troy in Melrose, Florida

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2684 posts in 3094 days

#9 posted 11-06-2011 11:35 PM

I built these drawers and made labels for them and it works well for me

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3182 days

#10 posted 11-07-2011 05:19 PM

Thanks gang, lots of great ideas here…most important is I just need to pick something and go with it as opposed to continuing to live with the chaos…

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Tom Clark's profile

Tom Clark

88 posts in 3193 days

#11 posted 11-07-2011 08:40 PM

For very small parts you can’t beat the plastic bins sold everywhere. For larger items these gray metal shelves are available. For even larger items you just have to take a bit of time and build some drawer units for your shop.

-- Tom

View helluvawreck's profile


32087 posts in 3039 days

#12 posted 11-07-2011 09:13 PM

I just use bin boxes and drawer units and 9. in deep shelves. Nothing fancy.
6th picture

-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View live4ever's profile


983 posts in 3182 days

#13 posted 11-07-2011 09:25 PM

helluvawreck – yeah I think the gray ones (smallest bins/drawers) in your 6th picture are the ones I’m after. At least that’s the “scale” of storage I need.

-- Optimists are usually disappointed. Pessimists are either right or pleasantly surprised. I tend to be a disappointed pessimist.

View Jeremiah's profile


82 posts in 2496 days

#14 posted 01-24-2012 08:52 PM

i got lucky and got 2 sets of these metal drawers for $10 ea. i made removable boxes with walnut

fronts and soft maple sides (all scrap) then i just used cheep handles as pulls. The insides took the longest since i wanted to have sliding top compartments

View MrRon's profile


5130 posts in 3415 days

#15 posted 01-26-2012 07:41 PM

Fishing tackle boxes are great for small items and can be taken with you where needed.

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