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Love to get into your workshop and mess around? These workshop and tool storage ideas for the home warrior will help keep things gorgeous and easy. 

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Sometimes, you just want to make things. Vanishing into your own quiet workshop, tinkering and working for a few hours, and then emerging with something beautiful, functional and practical that you made with your own two hands offers intense satisfaction and pride.

That sense of accomplishment can be magnified if the workshop is neat, organized and laid-out in such a way that you know where everything is, and might even be able to find the perfect tool with your eyes closed.

Creating that perfect workshop takes time, but it’s worth it. Here are some points to ponder when you are planning out your ultimate creation and tool storage space.

Start with the basics: power and light

Whether you are creating a tiny remote-controlled submarine or a massive jewelry box, there are two absolute musts in the workshop: a reliable and accessible power supply and enough light to see what you’re doing. You can’t have too many outlets — just be sure not to overload them! Traditional outlets near the floor won’t do. Install new outlets right above the workbench, or even higher, to help with the lighting.

Speaking of light, natural light is always a wonderful thing. Sometimes you can make this happen, even in a basement or interior room, with tunnel skylights. But regardless of how much natural light you have, direct and very bright lighting is also necessary. Look for shop lights that are attractive yet shine an intense glow on your workspace. Working with very fine and small parts? Invest in a good headlamp, too.

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Set up your work surface

Now that electricity is good and lighting is fine, where will you set up all those projects? On a long, sturdy table, of course. Many workshops employ the work surface that is attached to the wall and runs the length of the room; and though that is just fine, you might find that a sturdy table you can move around will be more advantageous.

The table should be highly individualized to your needs, and you might need more than one, or varying sizes. Add a stool to your setup, or if you are going to spend many hours hunched over that table, turn to a comfortable chair that will save your back from pain.

Tool time!

Now to the crown jewel of the workshop — the tools! Proper tool storage makes all the difference when it comes to a workshop that truly ‘works.’ Far too many tinkerers wind up spending more time searching for the proper tool than they spend actually using it. Don’t be one of those unfortunate souls. Plan out tool storage that makes life easier for your particular hobby.

Start with the big power tools. If a dedicated space is needed (for instance, you’ve got a wicked table saw), choose where it will go and how that position will relate to your work surface. Once that is in place, you will need to work around it to store the rest of your stash. Think this through very carefully. Here are a few points to consider:

  • Use a pegboard. Pegboards are easy to install, offer a very visual storage of the things you use most, and can be customized to your heart’s content. You can also draw the outline of the tools on the board with chalk, so you can tell at a glance which tools need to be put in their proper place before you shut down your work for the day.
  • Invest in small storage. You don’t want to throw your nails in with the hammers. Have a dedicated storage for small items, one that is designed to hold the tiniest of screws, nails, brackets and anything else that you might need. Label these small bins very clearly.
  • Consider rolling storage. If you move around your workshop quite a bit, make sure your tool storage can go with you. Big toolboxes with sturdy rollers can get around easily and allow you to do your work more efficiently.
  • Keep things accessible. Consider what you use most and put those things where you can reach them easily. For instance, if you work standing up, put the things you use most often at eye-level on that pegboard. If you work sitting down, place them a bit lower so you can reach them without getting up and down.

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Keep Things Clean

Your workshop is going to get dusty, dirty, messy and disorganized from time to time. That’s okay, as long as you have the proper tools to clean it up. Forget the typical vacuum or sweeper — this is a workshop we’re talking about!

Go with a heavy-duty wet/dry vac, a sturdy broom, thick cleaning rags, and cleaning supplies that can stand up to the most serious of messes. Because let’s be honest: You’re going to make a mess on your way to making something great!

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.