Miscellany: The Bane of Hardware Storage

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Forum topic by LelandStone posted 11-06-2011 08:57 PM 3306 views 0 times favorited 13 replies Add to Favorites Watch
View LelandStone's profile


90 posts in 2754 days

11-06-2011 08:57 PM

Topic tags/keywords: hardware storage organizing helpful hints sos

Greetings, fellow woodbutchers:

Like most of you, I use hardware. Lots of it. Always have, as a contractor and a former cabinet shop owner. And this selection of parts starts off neatly categorized in bulk boxes (which, of course, are more economical).

But as the inventory dwindles, it must be condensed; a box containing 3 nuts or 20 nails takes up too much room, and so the nuts or nails get shunted into a drawer or cubby. Eventually, the cubbies—one for every type and size of specialty fastener—are too numerous, and, as silt flowing toward a delta, so this river of hardware eventually empties into a large orange bucket labelled “Miscellaneous.”

I can’t be the only one struggling with numerous small components which are too costly to throw away and yet too numerous to rationally categorize. The problem only compounds when I need to purchase hardware for a one-off project and the categories expand. Again.

Any of you having a solution are welcome to chime. Okay, what I really, “I’m pleading for help here!” ;0)

-- Leland, OC California

13 replies so far

View mnguy's profile


209 posts in 3639 days

#1 posted 11-06-2011 09:16 PM

I don’t think there is an answer – lol. I’ve taken three approaches in parallel. For screws, I tend to categorize by thread size (#6, #8, 8-32, etc.), putting screws of different lengths but the same ‘thread’ in the same container. For wood plugs, specialty fasteners, stainless steel stuff, I put the entire category in one container, unless I have a size I use a lot of, or I currently have a lot of. Then, I have ONE and one only container for stuff I can’t or won’t categorize. It’s not perfect, but it has cut down drastically on search time, and the pile I dump onto the bench to sort through is always small. But, I also have a bin with three different 18 gauge brad lengths mixed together for the brad nailer, so I continue to struggle with the same issue.

View willie's profile


534 posts in 2695 days

#2 posted 11-06-2011 09:25 PM

I took one of my wife’s old cannister sets and labeled them- nuts, bolts, screws, and washers. I still have to empty them onto a tray to find the ones I want but at least it’s all sorted by category. That’s the way my dad did it so it just seems to work for me too. I also have several coffee cans with those other miscellaneous parts that don’t fit the above groups. Most of my shop is well organized but we all have our stash of odd parts.

-- Every day above ground is a good day!!!

View David Kirtley's profile

David Kirtley

1286 posts in 3239 days

#3 posted 11-07-2011 03:01 AM

Zip lock bags. You can label them with the part information and size. Yes, they take up a lot of space but it beats guessing.

The little ones are best.

-- Woodworking shouldn't cost a fortune:

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3283 days

#4 posted 11-07-2011 04:29 AM

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 LelandStone's profile


90 posts in 2754 days

#5 posted 11-07-2011 06:41 PM

Hey, guys!

Thanks so much for your input, which has already got the wheels turning and may help improve my workshop storage clutter. Although, to be honest, part of that clutter results from a stubborn refusal to get rid of stuff that is simply taking up space. :0/

Thank you again, I really appreciate the responses!


-- Leland, OC California

View LelandStone's profile


90 posts in 2754 days

#6 posted 11-10-2011 04:06 PM

Wait…whut? 0.o

-- Leland, OC California

View thebigvise's profile


191 posts in 3141 days

#7 posted 11-10-2011 04:32 PM

I’m with the zip lock bag advocates. Get a couple of small sizes, one case each, of the thicker material (e.g. 6 mil) from suppliers like U-line.

-- Paul, Clinton, NC

View crank49's profile


4032 posts in 3212 days

#8 posted 11-10-2011 07:34 PM

I use the heavy poly zip closure bags with the white “write on” area. Get them from the suppliers I get my jewelry store acessories from. U-line mentioned above is good too.

Then I got 40 of those plastic parts bins at HF for next to nothing, about $10 on sale, I think, and mounted them on the wall.

I’m always seeing plans for MDF versions of those bins in magazines like Shop Notes, or Wood Magazine. Some day when I have more time than I know what to do with, I may replace the plastic. Would be nice to be in control of the dimensions.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2688 posts in 3163 days

#9 posted 11-10-2011 08:55 PM

This is what I have done…..........................

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View 1yeldud1's profile


301 posts in 3283 days

#10 posted 11-10-2011 08:56 PM

I like to put the file card into the plastic bag because it gives me more room for a description and it makes the zip lock bag “stand up” – I build several small wooden boxes about 5 inches wide and 18 inches long that I stand these zip lock bags into – I labeled each box A- B- or C I can tell who is ever helping me work to bring box “B” and I have a pretty good memory as to what the contents of that tray is. This system works great for me as im able to store a large inventory of small items in a relatively small area.

View Bill White's profile

Bill White

5149 posts in 4201 days

#11 posted 11-10-2011 09:06 PM

Hey! That’s what clear plastic peanut butter (crunchy of course) jars are for. I also use the clear fridge boxes.


View devann's profile


2246 posts in 2933 days

#12 posted 11-11-2011 07:41 AM

When it gets down to bits & pieces I ues old pill bottles and drill a 1/4” hole in em , hanging on a finish screw.

I’ll also reuse old packaging too.

My 2¢

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View LelandStone's profile


90 posts in 2754 days

#13 posted 11-12-2011 07:01 AM

Thank you, guys, for the inspiration and tips. And a big shout-out to Darrel and Jim for taking time to post photos of your ideas, that was really helpful!

-- Leland, OC California

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