Simple Hardware Storage Bins





Introduction: Simple Hardware Storage Bins

About: 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 Sam and I'm a community manager here at Instructables.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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!

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!

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    57 Discussions

    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.

    2 replies

    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!

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

    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.

    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.

    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!

    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?

    1 reply

    Thanks, glad you like these!

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

    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.

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

    1 reply

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

    It would be fun to design the boxes like Tetris.

    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.

    1 reply

    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.

    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!

    1 reply

    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