For generations, New Zealand sheds have been adorned with peg boards with tool silhouettes painted on them. Not only is this a good way to keep your workbench tidy, but it’s also the perfect way to ensure that your tools are cared for properly (and, also a good way to instantly see if the pliers/ saw/ whatever you loaned to your neighbour has been returned…!). Things like planes should never be stored blade-down, and if you have all your screwdrivers hanging next to each other it’s far easier to grab the correct Phillips rather than rifle through a drawer and give up and grab the nearest flathead instead.
It’s ideal for at home, but we have some ideas how to store tools on site to be organised and keep them safe from damage.
Buy a good quality toolbox. It’s different from person to person what will work for you but there are some basic rules to keep your toolbox organised. Firstly, throw out broken tools and the ‘handy’ bits and pieces that you never use. Keep the things you use most in the most easily accessible drawers or compartments. Keep sets of tools together- screwdrivers in one drawer, ratchets in another. You can also buy racks and containers that will fit in your toolbox that allow you to arrange things better. Rather than having screws and nails rolling around the bottom of the box, having a small container keeps them all in one place and makes things easier to find later.
Having a tool belt that works for you is definitely personal preference based upon what tasks you are likely to be completing. Regardless if you just want a leather holster for your pliers, a basic leather apron, or a full tool belt and pouch set, you have to buy what works best for you. There will always be things you forget or have to carry, but having a tool belt will help keep things like hammers and tape measures easily accessible and less likely to get lost.
When you’ve finished with a tool, put it back in the correct place. It will take time to get into the habit, but once you have forced yourself into a routine, it will make you far more productive.
Tool theft is a common issue in NZ. So, how to store tools to keep them safe? Always lock them away- in your vehicle and garage- and etch your details on them.
The best and most reliable way to track your tools is to record the details of the tool when you buy it. Write down all the specs including the serial number. There are apps such as Share My Tool Box that help you do this. Until technology advance, your best bet to track your tools is still etching them with your name or phone number. You can’t guarantee your tools won’t be stolen, but you can deter thieves. Marking them ensures the police know who to return them to if the tools are recovered.