What images come to mind when you think of grandpa's little workshop? A rudimentary workbench with a pegboard behind it and some tools hanging (possibly with sharpie outlines)? Mason jars hanging from the floor joists (or rafters) with an assortment of nuts, bolts, screws, and whatnots in them? I think that everyone has seen this type of organization system at some point of their life but oddly enough I never see it in anyone's shop.
My wife runs a small bakery and one of the products she makes is a raspberry jam, blueberry, and lemon curd brioche... think of pure bliss wrapped in sweet bread. A byproduct of the brioche she makes are innumerable jars of Trader Joe's organic raspberry jam, which comes in a perfectly sized glass jar. After collecting nearly 50 of these jars I decided it was time to do something with them and that image of grandpa's shop meandered into my head.
You can't beat the ease of this organizational method. You screw lids to a board and screw the board to the ceiling. Screw in your jars, and if you want to get fancy, label them so you know what's in there.
Step 1: Any Old Lumber Will Do Along With a Couple of Screws
I used mostly lumber that wasn't much good for anything else. As long as it is not rotting and falling apart it is a good candidate. I had a few two by fours that were twisted and not quite up to par for building with and a few scraps of 3/4" pine that also had gone rogue on me. What better fate than to make them a permanently static object screwed to the ceiling?
I used two 3/4" pan head screws (or sheetrock screws, or whatever else you have) to attach the lids to the wood and gave approximately 3-1/2" of space between the center of each lid to be screwed down. If you don't have tons of jam jar lids you can get away with using mason jars, but it is satisfying to use materials destined for the recycling bin to help solve a problem so maybe consider using an assortment of glass and plastic jars like pasta sauce and peanut butter jars. One caveat is that you really need to make sure that you can both reach the jars (I am 6'4") and can twist them to remove them from their lids while they are affixed to the ceiling.
Step 2: Label Em' and Load Em'
I used some big 2"x3" stickers to label the more often used containers and have continuously put them all around the shop in places that are not in the way of moving lumber or any other blunt objects. Some things stay in the jars for years but just at that moment you need that specific thing you couldn't imagine finding, there it is, in a clear jar right over your head (not in a drawer, under a cabinet, in another cabinet, near the oil tank... if you know what I mean).
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