Introduction: Simple Hardware Storage Bins

Picture of Simple Hardware Storage Bins

I made these little storage bins to hold all of my screws and other hardware in my garage. Each box hangs individually on the wall with a french cleat. They can be removed, rearranged, and reorganized with ease.  

Stores sell all kinds of plastic bins for this exact purpose, however I wanted to save a few bucks and use up some material from my scrap pile and make my own. This only took a few hours, and now my hardware is tidily organized and I have a colorful thing in my garage to stare at.

Like most woodworking projects, this project could be accomplished in a variety of ways, depending on what tools you have available. I love a little feedback, so questions and comments are always encouraged.  

Thanks for taking a look!

Step 1: Cut Material

Picture of Cut Material

Based on the amount of material I had, I decided to make 20 small boxes and 4 large boxes. I toyed around with different sizes and shapes, but settled on making boxes that were 5" and 10" wide, respectively, and 4 1/4" deep (not including the cleats and bottom support tabs).

To begin, 3/8" plywood was ripped into 3 1/4" strips to use for the walls of the boxes using a table saw. These strips were cut down to the desired lengths with a miter saw.

The side walls for both the large and small boxes were cut 3 1/2" wide. The fronts and backs for the smaller boxes were cut 5" wide, and the fronts and backs for the larger boxes were cut 10" wide.

The bottoms for all boxes were cut from 1/4" plywood. For the smaller boxes these were cut 5" square, and for the larger boxes these were cut 5" by 10".

When assembled, the bottom panel extends 3/4" behind the box. This allows the boxes to hang correctly against the wall once the 3/4" thick cleats are fastened in place (the cleats are covered in steps 4 & 5).

You could use a variety of materials for a simple project like this. If possible though, 3/8" plywood seemed to work especially well for this application, plus it allows for a nice, tidy design with no complicated measurements.

Step 2: Assemble Boxes

Picture of Assemble Boxes

I used glue and brads to assemble the boxes. The glue is ultimately what holds the boxes together and gives them strength; the brads are like permanently installed clamps that hold it together until the glue dries.

I used 5/8" brads for this. Shooting brads into the edge 3/8" material doesn't leave a lot of room for error, but the length I used was much more forgiving than using brads of any longer length.

See photo notes for tips on assembly.

Step 3: Keep Going

Picture of Keep Going

Building the same little boxes over and over can be tedious. Avoid the urge to rush, since this often leads to mistakes and injuries!

Step 4: Cut the Cleats

Picture of Cut the Cleats

The cleats for the boxes and the wall were made from old 3/4" pine boards.

I began by cutting lots of strips that were 1 1/2" wide, with a 40 degree bevel on one side. These were done on a table saw, but a circular saw with edge guide may have actually been a little easier.

From these strips, I cut twenty 5" pieces for the backs of the smaller boxes, and four 10" pieces for the backs of the larger boxes.

From these same strips, I cut four 37" pieces to be mounted to the wall. This length allowed for a couple of inches-worth of wiggle room between the boxes.

Step 5: Attach Cleats to Boxes

Picture of Attach Cleats to Boxes

The cleats were attached to the boxes as shown in the photos. I tacked them in place with a few brads, and then added a couple of 1" screws through the backside to fasten them more securely. The holes for these were predrilled and countersunk so the screws just barely sunk below the back surface of the cleats, and did not protrude into the box opening.

Step 6: Attach Cleats to Walls

Picture of Attach Cleats to Walls

The four 37" cleat strips were secured to the wall with screws. The stud locations in the section of wall where I was hanging these couldn't have been more perfect. The holes for the screws were pre-drilled and countersunk.

I used a level to mark their locations with the bottoms of each cleat about 5" apart. This leaves a little over 1 1/2" between the rows of boxes when they are hung up. 

Step 7: Fix Blemishes

Picture of Fix Blemishes

Despite my best efforts, there were a handful of "shiners" and "bulgers". Some of these I just left. Others I cleaned up with a chisel or just pulled the offending brad out with pliers.

I didn't feel it was necessary to go to the trouble of filling nail holes and such with wood filler.

Step 8: Paint

Picture of Paint

My workshop needed a little bit of visual excitement, so I spray painted the boxes a variety of colors.

Step 9: Fill Boxes With Stuff!

Picture of Fill Boxes With Stuff!

I filled the boxes with screws and other hardware, and hung them on the wall. I may add some labels at some point, or maybe not. This was a pretty simple one-evening project, and now I’ve got all my screws and stuff organized, close at hand and very easy to access.

Thanks again for taking a look!


myamiphil (author)2015-10-22

Nice design!.. I would also consider using Plexiglass clear front walls. To save on weight and bulk... groove the 3/4" sides to take Masonite, Pegboard or scrap Formica. Just like common cabinet drawer construction. I have an old antique piece of furniture that used 3/8" solid wood for the sides and solid wood veneer for the bottom... Very light weight.

swimspud (author)myamiphil2017-01-03

maybe have to make the bottoms with the 3/8" to compensate for the weaker connection from the plexy? I might play around with the design and see what works. Very cool idea!

seamster (author)myamiphil2015-10-22

I like that idea. Clear fronts would be a very nice feature!

binghamjd (author)2014-02-09

Great! Is their a BOM that i am missing. what do i need to buy?

seamster (author)binghamjd2014-02-09

Hi! Glad you liked this. I describe the materials I used in step 1.

There isn't an exact BOM, as I made these with scraps left over from other projects. However, if want to know what materials I started with, I started with the equivalent of about 36" by 48" of 3/8" thick plywood, about the same of 1/4" plywood, and three or four 3/4" pine boards that were 6" wide and 5' long.

However, you could use a variety of different materials to make something similar to this, and just apply the general methods I've shared here.

swimspud (author)seamster2017-01-03

just did a quick price check at homedepo online. 3/8" 4'x8' ply is $14! the pine is a couple dollar each and the 1/4" 4'x4' was $9. seems like you could build a bejesus amount of these for a pitance! Kuddos on not "over-engineering" these and coming up with a great alternative to the more expensive plastic things they sell.

I like these a lot and plan to build a few dozen. Hopefully create some sort of jig to fit the boxes up and make assembly speedy.

HollyMann (author)2016-09-15

I can't wait to make these! I LOVE them. I just noticed a commenter mention using plexiglass for the front..that would be great to see the items in the boxes...sometimes I like to have things unseen though...i love this creative...exactly what i need!

yossi gobioff (author)2015-08-24

Cool awesome idea! Just what my shop was missing!!!

Question: Can i just pop out one box at a time or i gotta slide'm all off to get to to my desired box?

seamster (author)yossi gobioff2015-08-24

Thanks, glad you like these!

You can just pull any one right off of the wall, no sliding required :)

terrefirma (author)2015-04-25

I have to say it did bring to mind windows 8. I am one of the few who doesn't mind it, however. And I love french cleats! Very well done tutorial. I hope to use it in my kitchen.

explosivemaker (author)2015-04-23


SophiesFoodieFiles (author)2015-02-14

This is so cool & what a great fun tutorial! yeah! :)

bdubu (author)2014-12-31

Super storage solution! And colorful! I think this is the best, most practical use for the French cleat system that I've seen.

seamster (author)bdubu2014-12-31

Hey, thanks! These little boxes have proved very useful in my shop. I get into them almost daily!

alcurb (author)2014-04-08

It would be fun to design the boxes like Tetris.

bennelson (author)2014-02-25

Painting is likely the best, yet most overlooked part of this project. I can never remember where I put things, but I could remember "Hey, that part was in a RED box last time I saw it." I'd only have to dig through the red boxes instead of all of them. Not only is painting pretty, but it can be a really useful element of organizing as well.

seamster (author)bennelson2014-02-25

After having this up for a few weeks, I have to agree. I know where stuff is, generally at least, by color. However I still think some labels would be nice, or maybe I could just attach one item of the contents to the outside of each box. Someone suggested that here in the comments, and it was an excellent idea.

MoserLabs (author)2014-02-25

French cleat is probably my favorite thing now that I have a small space to claim as a shop! Best part about the concept is as your shop or space evolves you can rearrange the bins as needed!

seamster (author)MoserLabs2014-02-25

Yes indeed!

Korlee (author)2014-02-13

I like this! Don't have a place to put it, but I really would love this kind of a thing! Colorful and all! <3

djuan1 (author)2014-02-11

very cool got my vote as well i have a 52 foot semi trailer that these would give lots of storage thanks

macmac369 (author)2014-02-10

I will definitely copy your work. Great job

amorarun (author)2014-02-09

Got my vote ;)

MrArtist (author)2014-02-07

Nice idea. I hadn't really appreciated French Cleats before, but I do wonder if you have specified the angle correctly at 40 degrees? I would have thought 45 degrees would be best, maybe it's just a typo?

seamster (author)MrArtist2014-02-07

Nope, not a typo. I've seen people say about 30 degrees is actually the ideal angle for french cleats. I have previously done them at 45 like you say for some things, and that seemed a little too sharp with the edges prone to braking or chipping over time with repeated use (depending on the material of course).

To be specific, for these little boxes I set my saw blade to 37 degrees. This angle just felt right and seemed to make it easy to remove the boxes with just a little upward and outward lift. It also worked out well clearance-wise with the little tab portion of the bottom that supports the boxes against the wall.

Anyhow, long answer. Sorry! But you asked a good question regarding something I had actually considered while I was making these, and was something I had put a little thought and research into. Glad you asked it, thank you!

MrArtist (author)seamster2014-02-08

Ah, yes, of course, something went wrong with my logic! I think I was confusing myself assuming the two parts would need angles that add up to 90 degrees, e.g. 45/45, 30/60, etc.

So indeed, realising the daftness of my reasoning, it doesn't really matter what the angle is as long as they are all the same, and as you suggest, the shallower may be the better, so even as low as 25-30 degrees could be good and then less lift needed to hook/unhook.

bgilligan1 (author)2014-02-07

Them are sweet !. Great evening / weekend project to clean up some of the clutter :-)

rosewood513 (author)2014-02-07

Excellent job I like the way they look I may just try this in my garage...

Shiseiji (author)2014-02-07

Awsum! I've been outfitting my shop with French cleats for cabinets I get cheap at a local Habitat ReUse It store. Easy to mount single handed or move when necessary. I'm going to make some that will hold the box deck screws come in. For screws or general fasteners, I think a sample stapled to the front would be quick. Or a daub of hot glue.

Shiseiji (author)Shiseiji2014-02-07

And the use of the 2 X 4s as dadoes in your benches is great too.

panks (author)2014-02-06

This is the nicest storage I've ever seen used in a garage. I'd love to have it in my craft room or office. Well done!

seamster (author)panks2014-02-07

Thank you! If I were putting these indoors, I would have spend a little more time on the finishing. I do need something like this in my own craft/sewing room. Maybe I need to make some more...

roverlandpark (author)2014-02-06

Kudos on this idea! I have a french cleat system in my garage. However, I never thought of making hanging boxes. This is going on my list of summer projects. Thanks for this inspiration!

seamster (author)roverlandpark2014-02-07

You're very welcome. Glad you found this useful!

quadra (author)2014-02-07

Wow!!! Excelent work!

One of the most beauty and useful works around here!


seamster (author)quadra2014-02-07

Thank you very much! Glad you liked them.

Ninzerbean (author)2014-02-07

I love the board clamped to your table, such a good idea. Nail guns are so great.

seamster (author)Ninzerbean2014-02-07

Thank you! Yes, I love my little brad gun. I use it all the time. I struggled through a few boxes before I thought to put that board there. It made all the difference!

FirstSpear (author)2014-02-06

I absolutely refuse to do this, it looks like Windows 8! ;-)

quadra (author)FirstSpear2014-02-07

:-) Try black n white n will be like chess

JennaFair (author)FirstSpear2014-02-07

You could always go black and white and make it a checker board instead.

louis.m (author)FirstSpear2014-02-07

I don't think it looks like w8 in any way.
This is functional, it works well and is elegant.
In addition, everyone can easily adapt this system to their own needs.

dkdwivedi (author)2014-02-07

Nice idea best utilisation of the corner walls. Giving a beautiful look to the wall also . one can decorate these boxes to form nice wall paper also along with useful storage.

dkdwivedi (author)2014-02-07

Nice idea best utilisation of the corner walls. Giving a beautiful look to the wall also . one can decorate these boxes to form nice wall paper also along with useful storage.

dkdwivedi (author)2014-02-07

Nice idea best utilisation of the corner walls. Giving a beautiful look to the wall also . one can decorate these boxes to form nice wall paper also along with useful storage.

dkdwivedi (author)2014-02-07

Nice idea best utilisation of the corner walls. Giving a beautiful look to the wall also . one can decorate these boxes to form nice wall paper also along with useful storage.

manu74 (author)2014-02-07

awesome visual appeal.

RingoWild (author)2014-02-06

Amazing! What a great project!

phillsop (author)2014-02-06

This is great. My storage area needs a bit clearing up so this is just what the doctor ordered

Scumm7 (author)2014-02-05

I doubt these will be holding enough weight for it to matter (I tend to overbuild), but I think the cleat attached to the boxes would be fastened more securely if it was screwed through the plywood into the cleat. That would probably need to be done before the back is attached to the box.

About This Instructable




Bio: I got an old sewing machine when I was just a kid, and I've been hooked on making stuff ever since. My name is ... More »
More by seamster:Making Quick & Easy Work Tables12 Do-It-Yourself Diversion Safes Spray Paint Secret Safe
Add instructable to: