For the big bag of saw dust, metal, and potential injuries…

If you have a dusty, wide open, stuffed full tool bag... read this

Recently I gave cleaning my house a deeper focus and really got into organizing the things I had in piles (to be organized… one day). Among these things was a dusty, wide open, stuffed full tool bag.

I purchased this kit at wal*mart or home depot or one of those and it came with a wide array of generally useful tools.  Screw drivers, hammer, measuring tape, the works. It came in a heavy-duty “back pack strap” type material and it zipped on the top and I hadn’t noticed until now but the designers embroidered the words “HYPER TOUGH” on the side of it, I’m sure to appeal to the hard-working man.

This is my process of cleaning and organizing this bag and I wanted to write it out step by step, as it might be helpful to others to use as a guide to prompt their own method of keeping your things well taken care of.

  1. Take care of the bag
    I found it incredibly important to make sure that the bag was well-kept. I removed everything from it and I brushed off the saw dust and vacuumed out the middle with a dust buster.
  2. Remove garbage and scraps
    I’m sure somewhere else in your life you have a small box (or big I guess) full of tiny pieces of sandpaper and bits of wood you think you might use someday (speaking from experience). I think I have two or three of those craft hoarding boxes.Your tool box, however, isn’t for that stuff. Clear out the garbage and toss it.
  3. Group like sized things
    Look over the lay out of tools and gadgets that are now left without the garbage. Group things together that are used for the same things or are the same shape and size. This can include nails, screws, tact, mollies (those little plastic screw condoms), and bolts being put together. As well as pliers and other squeeze and pinch tools with the same handles. I went as far as to rubber band the handles together to keep them together even in the bag.Tip: You can use a small Tupperware container made for salad dressing to house the smaller pieces. It shouldn’t fill up too much space in your tool bag later.
  4. Put tools back smarter
    It wouldn’t be the wisest move to throw your hammer in on top of your safety glasses. Be conscience on weight and size when you’re putting the big guys back in.I started by taking everything I was sure to lose in the bottom of the bag, like tiny tools and clips and my flash light and sharpies, and I put them in the pockets around the outside of the bag.Then I placed in the hammer, larger screw drivers, the measuring tape, and a big angle tool I’d had.

    Followed by my pliers and levels, and then my bag of rubber bands, and safety glasses.

  5. Making a space for it
    Be sure you can close your bag again. I took out all of my small power tools and allowed them a space on my shelves for themselves.My dremel, my staple gun, and my small drill set all have boxes of secondary pieces that it’s important to me to keep next to them in storage. My shelf has my bag, my extension cord (all wrapped up), and my tools with their wires rubber banded close to them and not all over the place.


This kind of clean and optimized organization is what I really love and it makes me happy. When I have an idea that involved things I need and have, it’s easy for me to use my tools and then replace them back where they belong after.

I hope that this guide gave you the inspiration you need to get that tool bag in working order and some amazing creations come from the easier access!