Organizing the clutter, finding stuff you forgot you had, throwing away junk, and cleaning your workbench can be fun and satisfying, if you have a label maker. I recently overhauled my workbench storage for small parts and tools and want to share some of my process with you. Whether you're into electronics, jewelry making, home improvement, or all three (+more) like me, hopefully you'll find something useful here.
Step 1: Small Parts Bins
I got my small parts drawers at Fry's Electronics in Phoenix over a decade ago. I have the big red version and a smaller set too. They have mounting holes on the back so you can hang them from the wall. My small black ESD parts drawer set was from an old sampler of ESD cardboard products, but here's a similar one.
When you go to organize your drawers, group them loosely based on the activity they are associated with. I have all my electronics parts up top and the lower drawers are for more household or crafty type projects. All the switches are together, all the IoT boards are in a row, the toothpicks are near the glue, etc. It's not an exact science.
To make use of the small drawers, you really need a label maker!...
Step 2: Label Maker
A label maker can really help your organization efforts pay off! What good is all that shuffling if you can't remember where anything is? Hand-drawn labels aren't ideal because they are hard to read from far away and hard to read if you weren't the one who wrote them.
If you have access to a desktop printer, you can also print labels out on sticky paper or precut labels.
Consider adding special touches to drawers you use frequently, like a colored sticker or special symbol on the label. Part of my parts optimization is helping my partner find things too, and it's easier to describe a drawer if it is unique-looking. "Where are the tiny screwdrivers?" "Low down in the middle, pink sticker!" Then I don't have to interrupt what I'm doing to show him where something is.
Step 3: Small Tools Storage
To make tools easy to reach when you need them, consider multiple locations for small tool storage.
A magnetic bar meant for kitchen knives hangs above my workbench, which has a wooden shelf storage system of its own. Nearby, a plastic tool caddy attaches to the front of my parts drawers. I also keep tools in the drawers of my jewelry workbench, and larger and less frequently used tools in a toolbox on a shelf nearby.
Since my workbench is actually a jeweler's bench, I also have some small tool storage by way of a shelf/organizer add-on that has bars for pliers, a few drawers, and sectioned areas for different size tools and accessories (though it's designed to hook onto the back lip of the desk).
Thanks for reading about my small workbench tool and parts storage. I'd love to hear your tips and storage solutions in the comments!