Apartment living can present some real challenges when it comes to tool storage. The thing is that most apartments are not designed with tool storage in mind. But that does not mean there are no creative solutions to be found.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Coming up with creative tool storage ideas for apartments is more or less a matter of stepping back and looking closely at what you have to work with. Dig around a bit and you will discover you probably have a lot of dead space that could be put to use for storage.
For example, your furniture naturally creates dead space. Everything from tables and chairs to the bed you sleep on creates space around and under that can be used to store your tools. But why stop there? You probably have dead space under the sink, on top of the kitchen cupboards, and even around the toilet and sink in your bathroom. Just use your imagination and you will find plenty of space to work with.
In the paragraphs below I outline 10 creative tool storage ideas for apartments. Even if you’ve heard of some of them, it is a safe bet you haven’t heard of all of them.
In the Kitchen
I’ll go room by room, beginning with the kitchen. The kitchen is the one room in most apartments where you are most likely to find the junk drawer. It might just as well be the first room you consider for tool storage. Remember that even a small kitchen can offer extra storage space if you use it properly.
1. Bins Under the Sink
Start by looking under the sink. You probably have at least some open space there. A storage bin or two provide space for small hand tools like screwdrivers and hammers. Mason jars and plastic food packages can be used to store nails, screws, string, and so forth.
Plastic bins with lids are recommended just in case you have plumbing problems that result in leaks. There’s no need to risk your tools getting wet.
2. Bins on Top of the Cupboards
The cupboards in your kitchen probably don’t go all the way to the ceiling. This is by design. At any rate, plastic storage bins placed on top of the cupboards turns that dead space into usable space. Store light tools and accessories in plastic storage bins. Label the outside of each bin so you know what it contains.
A step stool makes accessing these bins a lot easier. Don’t climb on the counters or stand on dining room chairs. You’ll be safer that way.
3. Under the Oven
Your stove probably has a drawer in the bottom. Though intended to be a warming drawer for prepared food, many of us use it for storing cookie sheets and trays. You can use it for tool storage. It might be the perfect size for the metal toolbox that holds all your screwdrivers and wrenches.
Put metal inserts inside the drawer to separate different categories of tools. One compartment can be for hand tools; another can be for painting tools; a third can be for extension cords. Just be sure not to store anything that can melt or burn in this space.
In the Bedroom
The bedroom is the next most popular location for finding creative tool storage solutions for apartments. Let’s start with the bed.
4. Storage Under the Bed
If your bed is like most others, it is designed as a four-legged frame on which sits a box spring and mattress. All of that space under the frame can be utilized for tool storage.
Plastic storage bins are the ideal solution because they slide in and out so easily. You should be able to fit about six underneath a standard queen frame. You are probably limited to three or four under a double or twin. Regardless of the number, storage bins can be slid under the bed frame and then hidden by a skirt.
If you ever find yourself in the market for a new bed, consider buying one with built-in storage. Some models utilize storage as a series of drawers built into the bottom of the frame. Others rely on frames designed as boxes. To access storage, you lift up the hinged top on which the mattress rests.
5. Curtain Rod Storage
As an apartment dweller, you might not be allowed to drill holes in the walls to build shelves or affix hooks. You can still make use of wall space though by installing an extra shower curtain rod in the closet. Shower curtain rods are spring-loaded, so there is no drilling or cutting involved.
You can hang individual tools from this curtain rod if you like. Or you can put your tools in small bags with string ties that can be looped over the rod. Use the rod to hang extension cords, lengths of rope, and other similar items.
6. Shoe Organizer Storage
Over-the-door shoe organizers make particularly good tool storage options for apartments. These can be hung on the door without fear of damage. If you get one with pockets, you’ll have space for all kinds of tools and accessories. Everything will be kept safe and sound even when you open and close the door.
There’s only one caveat here: do not use this storage solution for heavy objects. Too much weight on the door could damage the hinges. It could also pull the door out of square, making it impossible to close tightly and lock.
In the Bathroom
American bathrooms tend to be poorly designed for storage – especially in apartments where they are minimalist by design. Believe it or not, your bathroom fixtures create natural storage capacity on their own.
7. Storage Over the Toilet
Most people leave the top of the toilet tank bare except for the occasional box of tissue. All the space between tank and ceiling – and that can be as much is 5 feet – is wasted. Why not take advantage of it by installing an over-the-toilet shelf?
This type of shelf neither rests on, nor affixes to, the toilet itself so there are no worries of damage. It rests on the floor on either side of the toilet. A cutout in the shelf extends over the top of the tank. Ingenious, isn’t it?
With some plastic storage bins and perhaps a hook or two, you can transform an over-the-toilet shelf into prime storage space for your hand tools. Any leftover space can be dedicated to hand towels, washcloths, and even spare rolls of toilet paper.
8. Storage Under the Sink
You might have some valuable storage under the sink depending on the type of unit in your bathroom. A cabin-style unit similar to what you have in the kitchen affords you the same storage opportunities. If you’re working with a pedestal sink instead, take some measurements. You might be able to fit a small wine rack or kitchen utility rack underneath. That’s more storage space for your tools.
The storage solutions you come up with for under the sink and over the toilet might be open to view. If you don’t want your tools viewable, consider a simple exchange. Put your linens and towels on the open shelves and save the linen closet space for your hand tools. Plastic storage bins can help you keep things organized in the linen closet.
In the Living Room
Last but not least is the living room. This room is last on our list because it generally affords the least attractive storage options. But if you are in desperate need of more creative storage solutions for apartments, the living room is still available.
9. Ready-Made Couch Storage
The place to start is the couch. Like the bed you sleep on, the couch frequently creates usable storage space underneath and around it. Underneath, you may have several inches to spare along the entire length of the couch. Buy some smaller plastic storage bins that fit underneath.
You don’t even have to buy plastic bins. Just save the cardboard boxes from all of your online deliveries. Cut them down to size and, snap! You have instant storage under the couch.
Next, look behind the couch. Is there dead space between it and the wall? If so, larger hand tools will fit in that space. This is where you can store your cordless drill, jigsaw, circular saw, etc. Place them in cardboard boxes or right on the floor.
10. Corner China Cabinet
You can create a more elegant storage solution in the living room with a corner china cabinet unit. The unit will fit in any empty corner of the room to provide storage that is sealed off by a door. To all your visitors, it will look like a wonderful piece of fine furniture. To you, it is a home for your hand tools.
Creative tool storage ideas for apartments are out there. I hope this post has given you just a few. Remember that the key to storage success is using your imagination.