Tools represent something we all have in our homes. Some people have more tools than others, but we all have at least a collection of screwdrivers along with a hammer, some wrenches, and some other hand tools. And with every tool you own, there is also a need to store it.
Coming up with basement tool storage ideas can make the difference between an organized tool collection and random chaos. It is all about understanding what you have, how you use it, and how to make each tool easily accessible while still keeping it protected. There are some obvious do’s and don’ts here:
- DO utilize vertical storage space
- DO utilize space under the stairs
- DO think outside the box
- DON’T ignore water risks
- DON’T leave tools unprotected
- DON’T rely too heavily on wood storage solutions.
With these tips in mind, it’s time to start looking at actual basement tool storage ideas. Remember that your basement could very well offer all of the space you need to store every tool in your collection.
Storage Under the Stairs
Space under the stairs is perhaps the least utilized storage space in the basement. Consider it ‘free space’ in the sense that you can use it for storage without taking away from more open floor space you want to use for other things. Storage under the stairs can take many forms.
1. Custom Shelves
A basement staircase provides a more than adequate infrastructure for building customized shelves. Use the staircase itself as the primary framework. The stairs can provide support on one side while posts installed on the other side take care of the rest.
Experts recommend avoiding wood storage solutions like old dressers and cabinets because they attract moisture and mold in the basement. If you are building shelves though, you may have no choice but to use wood. That’s fine. Just be sure to finish the shelves with a varnish, shellac, or glossy paint to keep away mold.
To address the hassles of under-the-stairs shelves that are too deep, consider mounting them on rails – just like drawers. Then you can pull each shelf out to access the back more easily.
2. Secondhand Cabinetry
Another terrific way to utilize that space under the stairs is to purchase and install secondhand cabinetry. You can find this sort of cabinetry at secondhand stores and clearance outlets. You might even be able to utilize the old cabinetry from your kitchen remodel – provided you were careful to remove it rather than just going full bore demo with your sledgehammer.
Secondhand cabinetry is cheap enough that you will not feel too bad about cutting it up to make it fit. With any luck, your finished cabinets will look better than what a pro could have done.
Additional Shelf Storage
You might to want to install additional shelves separate from the space under the stairs. Doing so is a good idea, especially since you want to maximize vertical space. Metal and plastic are your best bet given the need to account for potential water issues.
3. Corner Shelves
A good strategy for basement tool storage is to install shelves in a corner. Concentrating on corners leaves more floor space open for other things. For example, three or four metal food storage shelves placed in a corner provide ample storage space for heavier, bulkier items like circular saws and tabletop lathes.
As these are wire shelves, there is enough space between the individual wires to store your screwdrivers and chisels. Hang hooks on the outside of the shelves for your paintbrushes, wrenches, hammers, etc.
One thing to remember about shelving in the basement is to keep the lowest shelf at least several inches off the floor. A burst pipe or leaking water heater could leave standing water on the basement floor for some time, so you don’t want your shelves too low. If you live in a flood prone area, make your lowest shelf as high as necessary to avoid water problems.
4. Overhead Shelves
Corners are also great locations for installing overhead shelves. Whether you buy shelves or build your own, attach them to the floor joists above your head. You will have additional vertical storage space without taking up valuable floor or wall space.
Overhead shelves are ideal for empty spaces over workbenches and laundry equipment. They also work well for utilizing those small, otherwise dead spaces around furnaces and water heaters.
Individual Storage Solutions
Shelves only give you space to stack things. You are going to need individual storage solutions as well. Here are a few more basement tool storage ideas for different kinds of tools:
5. Plastic Totes
The first idea many people turn to is the tried-and-true plastic tote. The great thing about totes is that they come in all shapes and sizes. Smaller totes are perfect for small hand tools, fasteners, and so forth. Larger totes can handle larger tools. They all stack nicely for optimal efficiency.
Totes are perfect for the basement because they keep water out. A tightly sealed tote can also protect your hand tools from rust and mold.
6. Coat Hanger Hooks
Coat hanger hooks are, for all intents and purposes, very large hooks intended to carry quite a bit of weight. Imagine installing a series of them in a straight line across one of your basement walls. Now you have a perfect place to store long-handled tools such as sledgehammers, shovels, and rakes.
7. PVC Pipe
PVC pipe makes for a great basement tool storage idea because it is so versatile. Cut lengths of pipe and suspend them from floor joists to create space for hanging things. Cut shorter lengths and mount them to the wall to hold tools like hammers and chisels.
You can easily drill holes in the pipe for inserting screwdrivers. You can notch pipes to receive wrench heads. You can attach longer lengths of pipe to wall studs, vertically, to receive long handled tools. PVC pipe is cheap, easy to work with, and very versatile.
8. Locker Cabinets
If you can get your hands on some old locker cabinets, they make for great basement tool storage solutions. Metal locker cabinets are tough and built to last. They generally have shelves and hooks already installed. You can modify them by adding a few more of your own. Best of all, locker cabinets can be secured with a padlock.
9. Shower Curtain Rods
You undoubtedly have some space in your basement that just won’t accommodate shelves or creative wall storage solutions. But if you can suspend a shower curtain rod above, you’ll have additional hanging space. The advantage of this solution is that shower curtain rods are spring-loaded. They require virtually no work to install and they can be removed and placed elsewhere if necessary.
A shower curtain rod works well under the stairs. It works well over the washer and dryer and in the dead space between the furnace and the far wall. Install the rod and hang everything from hand tools to extension cords with small pieces of string or rope (nothing too heavy though).
Some of the best basement tool storage ideas are found in off-the-shelf solutions. Think ideas like pegboard and slat walls.
Pegboard is especially attractive because it can be cut to fit whatever wall you have available. If you only have a little bit of space on a corner, it’s no problem. Even a small piece of pegboard can hold quite a few tools.
11. Slat Wall
A slat wall involves more of a commitment to open wall space, but it still works well in the basement. One of the best locations for a slat wall is directly under a window. You get relatively flat storage space without blocking access to the pane. And if you ever do need to work on the window, you can temporally take all the tools off the wall.
Your basement might be the only place you have to store your tools. On the other hand, you might have tools in both the basement and the garage. At any rate, basement space is utility space. That makes it ideal for tool storage.
Hopefully, the basement tool storage ideas described in this post have sparked your imagination. Just bear in mind the do’s and don’ts we started with. Utilize available space as creatively as possible while being ever mindful of the fact that basements tend to be damp places where moisture and mold can wreak havoc.