Expensive toolboxes and storage cabinets certainly have their place. If you are a professional whose tools are your life, you don’t want to mess around with storage. But typical homeowners and DIY enthusiasts can get away with inexpensive and easy-to-install solutions that don’t break the bank.
This post is all about coming up with creative ways to store your tools on a budget. There are some pretty amazing things you can do with a little creativity and a willingness to take on a project or two. Indeed, cheap tool storage ideas are everywhere. Just look around.
Most of the ideas found in this post can be installed with minimal DIY skills. None of them cost much, either. It is all about cheap and easy. So let’s get on with it.
1. Kitchen and Bathroom Towel Racks
Just about every blog post describing ways to organize and store your tools discusses the concept of hanging things on the wall. There are lots of ways to do this. A common suggestion is to screw hooks into the studs. That’s a great solution, but you only get one item per hook. There is a better way: use kitchen and bathroom towel racks.
That same towel rack that holds wet towels in the bathroom can also hold extension cords, hand tools, garden tools, and so on. Just anchor a rack to the wall by screwing it to the studs. If you are working in a space where the studs are covered, you can use anchor bolts instead.
Kitchen and bathroom towel racks are pretty cheap. Find them at your big-box department store or at the secondhand DIY store. You can buy them online too (here are some on Amazon).
2. PVC Pipe Tool Holders
Do you have some scrap PVC pipe lying around? With nothing more than a jigsaw and a screw you can make a pretty amazing tool holder. Just measure a section of pipe to the desired length and cut it off at a 45° angle. Next, screw it to the wall with the angled side facing in. You suddenly have a mounted pocket into which you can place all sorts of hand tools.
You can cut the pipe at a 90° angle instead. This allows longer tools to protrude out the bottom. And because PVC pipe comes in different sizes, you can use different diameter pipes to accommodate all sorts of tools from screwdrivers to pliers and utility knives.
The best part of this inexpensive storage solution is that you will not spend a fortune even if you have to buy the pipe. You can buy PVC by the foot pretty cheaply. An 8-foot section gives you a lot of storage to work with.
3. A Tie Rack for Your Wrenches
A tie rack is perfect for your closed ended wrenches. It is not a bad solution for paintbrushes either. Best of all, tie racks are pretty cheap. You can find them online or at just about any big-box department store (here are some on Amazon). You can also buy them as stationary or slide-out models. The latter is a better option for working in small spaces.
Affix a slide-out tie rack to the underside of one of your garage or basement shelves and off you go. Now arrange your wrenches by size. You’ll be able to find the wrench you need at a glance. Just slide out the tie rack, choose the wrench, and get to work. You’ll know right where to put it when you’re done.
4. Plastic Magazine Holders
Plastic magazine holders are a dime a dozen. You can buy them new or, if you’re adventurous, look for them at garage and estate sales. They make great and cheap storage solutions for all sorts of tools.
Left right side up and bolted to a shelf, a magazine holder is the perfect receptacle for hammers, files, hand saws, and chisels. Most are thin enough that you can clip your tape measure to one side. Turned on the side and stacked, magazine holders become instant shelves. They make great screwdriver holders too!
Mounting a magazine holder to a stud creates an instant holder for a garden rake or shovel. Just cut an appropriately sized hole in the bottom to receive the handle. Easy, right?
5. Drywall Bucket Toolbox
A drywall bucket can be quickly converted into a toolbox you can carry around the job site with you. You can carry your tools as-is, if you like. But if you are feeling creative, go buy yourself a cheap tool belt at the local discount store and affix it to the outside of the bucket with small nuts and bolts. Amazon also sells a great selection, which you can see by clicking right here.
Save the interior space for larger tools like your cordless drill and your level. On the outside you’ll have the tool belt pockets to carry screwdrivers, knives, your measuring tape, your pencils, and so forth. A drywall bucket and cheap tool belt can be turned into a convenient job site toolbox with very little effort.
6. Repurposed Kitchen Packaging
You might not know it, but your kitchen is a treasure trove of cheap tool storage ideas. Just think about all of the food packaging you throw away. All of those glass and plastic jars can be put to use for storing things like nails, screws, nuts and bolts, and staples. And because they are transparent, you don’t need labels.
The plastic tubs that meats are packaged in can be washed out and repurposed for tool storage. They are great receptacles for complete screwdriver sets, Allen wrench sets, all of your drill bits, your paintbrushes and mixing sticks, and more.
Cut the top off a plastic milk jug and you have an instant carrier for your paint rollers and pads. Take a little more off the top and you can use the jug for storing drywall knives and mud pans. The jug’s built-in handle makes it easy to carry around as you move about the house.
7. Repurposed Dressers
Dressers are pretty expensive brand-new. But you can find inexpensive used units at thrift stores and garage sales. They can be repurposed as cheap storage ideas that won’t break the bank. Best of all, they can be used as-is or modified to your liking.
A repurposed dresser left completely intact makes a great storage solution for the basement or garage workshop. Use the larger drawers to store your hand tools. Smaller drawers can be reserved for fasteners, rope, rags, and the like. If you find a couple of units that are short enough, you can even use them as pedestals to hold up either side of your workbench.
If drawers are not your thing, you can remove them and create shelves instead. Drawer bottoms make great shelves that can be affixed with L-brackets on either side. Converting an old dresser into shelving is a job you can do in a couple of hours. You just need a few hand tools and some screws.
8. Scrap Pallet Storage
Customizable shelving units are the stuff storage dreams are made of. Unfortunately, ordering custom-built shelves can quickly become way too expensive. Some of the highest priced models can run you hundreds of dollars for a complete set. You can build your own for nothing but the cost of your labor. How? By recovering scrap pallets.
Retail stores and shops all over your local area throw pallets away every single week. Just visit a local strip mall and drive out back. You’ll see for yourself. Rescue those pallets from the dumpster and you can re-purpose them as shelving material.
One option is to break the pallets down completely and use the wood to build shelves from scratch. Alternatively, you can cut the pallets into sections that can be mounted to the wall. The lumber is going to be discarded anyway; you might just as well make shelves out of it.
Out in the shed or garage, turn a pallet on its side and screw it to the wall. Without doing anything else you instantly have a storage rack for your long-handled garden tools. A pallet on its side is the perfect holder for garden rakes, snow shovels, hoes, pickaxes, and scythes.
9. Overstock Kitchen Cabinets
More than one DIY homeowner has built cabinets over the workbench from scratch. Building from scratch is better than buying custom cabinets brand-new. But an even cheaper option might be overstock cabinets. If you have an overstock store your local area, go take a look.
Overstock products are products companies are selling at dirt cheap prices just to get rid of the inventory. You can buy overstock kitchen cabinets at a fraction of the retail price. Finding a single cabinet for under $10 is not out of the question.
Coming up with cheap tool storage solutions that don’t break the budget is really just a matter of using your imagination. Look around. There is no shortage of materials you can buy at the discount store or repurpose from the trash.