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JG Pasterjak
JG Pasterjak Production/Art Director
5/18/20 8:46 a.m.

1. Drawers are where things go to die. If you put anything in a drawer you might ever want to see again, label that drawer on the outside clearly.

2. Hardware should always be in transportable containers.

3. Sometimes it's best to just bite the bullet and buy an existing assortment kit like somethign from Bolt Depot. The use their sorting system to expand it yourself.

4. Sometimes the best way to organize things is to ruthlessly throw stuff away for a few hours. If you haven't used it in a year, toss it, or put it in the right place. Even if it's good. Cleaning out clutter goes a long way to preventing duplication.

wreckerboy SuperDork
5/18/20 9:37 a.m.

Bag, tag, and check before you buy another. 

I'm really good at the first two, and the latter is the reason why I should not be allowed to buy air filters or any motor oil unattended...

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/18/20 9:43 a.m.

In reply to JG Pasterjak :

Yeah... I'm the guy who picks up random hardware from the ground, and often eventually uses it. I have used MkI VW 12pt fasteners & I sold my last VW ~14 years ago. 

I'm a hoarder, but at least with small hardware I don't have to worry about filling up a warehouse anytime soon. 

Trent (Generally supportive dude)
Trent (Generally supportive dude) PowerDork
5/18/20 9:53 a.m.

SAE coarse, fine, grade 5 and 8 and metric. 


We obviously do things on a much larger scale than most but it is all scalable down. 

These plastic jars come in cases from Amazon 

Great for small amounts of whatever, easy to label and you can see what is inside. We have a dedicated shelf for them

Lots of ziploc bags and always a sharpie in your pocket helps too


Tom1200 Dork
5/18/20 11:31 a.m.

Fasteners go in clear storage bins, as JG noted, they are portable.

I keep a simple ledger book in the garage.  I note in ledger where the parts are stored be it the van or a particular cabinet.

As for clutter, I discovered it took less time to drive to the store and buy the hardware I needed than to sort though stuff just thrown in buckets.

I also use a modified "just in time" inventory; if it takes 2 weeks to get something I only keep a 4 week supply.  As you can now have almost anything delivered to the house there is no downside to this.

Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter)
Pete Gossett (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/18/20 12:56 p.m.

In reply to Trent (Generally supportive dude) :

I have to do ziploc bags too or I'll never remember where everything goes. I never considered clipping them to something to keep them out of the way/make them easier to find though. That's pure genius!

Bent-Valve (FS)
Bent-Valve (FS) HalfDork
5/18/20 3:44 p.m.

As an unorganized individual trying to become organized I read things I tried.

What I have learned over the last few weeks. 

Grouping makes it much easier. All fasteners on a shelf, small metal stock on another. One tub of electrical is easier to search than the whole shop.

I use the heavy stackable black tubs with the yellow lids. No shelves required and they don't breakdown over time like cardboard. 

Ziplock bags for short term storage, petroleum products break the plastic down. 

Finally, I learned I want a shopping cart and 60 minutes in Trents shop!


hobiercr (FS)
hobiercr (FS) GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
5/21/20 6:18 p.m.

Lord I'm tryin. I picked these cabinets up off of FB Marketplace last year. They had been posted for 20 minutes at $50 each. They are big and deep. Bought some heavy duty casters off of Amazon, made plates and welded them on the base to make them moveable. I've also grabbed a couple of different sized plastic bins which fit perfectly in the drawer sections. To mark I'm using my label maker on strips of flat magnet strip so they can be moved around. It is a HUGE project to sort stuff but I'm slowly finding a proper home for smalls. Trent's setup is what I have dreams about.

oldopelguy (Forum Supporter)
oldopelguy (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/21/20 6:49 p.m.

In reply to hobiercr (FS) :

Those are fantastic. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/22/20 8:01 a.m.

In reply to Trent (Generally supportive dude) :

I dream of someday having enough room to dedicate a room to hardware and tool storage.  I have a shelf in the attic where some tools are stored, but it's not entirely ideal yet. 

shelbyz Reader
5/22/20 10:49 a.m.

I need to study this thread for a few hours...

I'm a huge proponent of hanging onto spares (whether it be hardware, parts, tools, etc.). However, it's gotten so disorganized, both in the garage and my brain, that more often than not I end up hunting junkyards for or ordering parts that I completely forgot I had. It probably doesn't help that I can't seem to say no when a friend offers to give me no longer needed parts they have related to one of my project cars.

On top of that, when my Dad and I first got into DSM's when I was in high school 17 years ago, he perused eBay daily and IIRC made acquaintances with a parts guy at a local Mitsubishi dealer. For a couple of years, he had a steady stream of used and new (and probably long NLA by now) DSM parts flowing into the garage. He would then place them in simply labeled (IE "engine", "interior", etc.) rubber storage bins until they got full and so heavy that even Lou Ferrigno in his prime would struggle to lift them. When I finally moved out and got my own garage, he made me take every shred of DSM from his, which included the several heavy storage bins.

Several years later, I've still yet to really dig through them and take account for what's there...

My idea has always been to condense the bins down to an easier to manage weight, then number the bin and make a list of it's contents. Then transfer that list to an easy to update and search Excel spreadsheet. That way when I need something I can reference the sheet instead of digging through the bins. I already do something similar when I part a car out and sell the parts I don't need or want, so I have a quick reference to what I've sold when someone inquires.

Just can't ever find the time to do it frown


Tom1200 Dork
5/22/20 12:35 p.m.

On finding the time:

Start with, sell off or give away the stuff you have 7-8 of. You don't need 8 lower control arms (unless it's  rally car)

In the past 8 months I've taken two separate days off from work specifically as organization days. Each day had a specific task, sort fasteners, organize boxes of gaskets etc.

Getting organized is no different than putting tools back in the tool box.

Yuo may need to simply stop working on projects for a month so you can get organized.

You can also do the work half an hour at a time; inventory one storage bin at a time label them 1,2,3 etc. Get a simple note book and write down whats there. Start a spreadsheet and put a check mark next to each item in the book as you list it on your spreadsheet. Again you can do this 15-30 minutes at a time.

It's taken a year but I'm almost done; the last of the stuff is slated to be gone tomorrow. I have one shelf on one cabinet left to get truly organized.

What got me really inspired was cleaning up 50 years of stuff my mother in law had accumulated. I'm only 57 but I don't want anyone to ever have to sort through a pile of stuff. 

NorseDave Reader
5/22/20 12:37 p.m.

Finally remembered to take a pic of my setup.  Plano fishng tackle boxes.  Still have some to fill (and label apparently).

Robbie (Forum Supporter)
Robbie (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
5/30/20 11:37 a.m.

Choibani yogurt containers are shrink wrapped, which pulls off really easily to make a perfect white container that is easy to label.

Also, dishwasher detergent containers are great for storing hardware specific to a project.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
5/31/20 6:11 p.m.

Here are a few samples of how we do it at Eclectic Motorworks.

These shelves have our highest-use items.  The plastic containers tend to have little, specialized assortments.  Like brake fittings, various types of electrical fittings, sheet metal screws, 10-32, rivets, etc..  The toolbox drawers have all of our commonly needed brand new nuts and bolts in the drawers.  

We also have a lot of replated OEM nuts and bolts that we keep in plastic bins.  We use the replated fasteners on restorations as people (including us) get fussy about having correct fasteners head markings.

Gotta have a drawer for miscellaneous junk:

Used parts are sorted and go into labeled plastic bins on shelves.  We use bins of all sizes, but our overall strategy is to use the smallest bin possible.  Putting too much into a bin makes it hard to sort out, plus the weight becomes an issue sooner or later.

Project car parts get put in the same types of bins, but we put them on rolling chrome shelves from Sam's Club so we can move them to/from the project car.  Also, with project car bins, we lay out all the parts and photograph them so we know what we started with.

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