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Thread: Workshop Hardware storage ....for once and for all

  1. #1
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    Workshop Hardware storage ....for once and for all

    Over the years i have ended up with storage of bits and pieces in all sorts of enclosures.

    Started out with those plastic draw combos where one gets them initially with what turns out to be a useless assortment of nuts and bolts, then supplemented that with empty plastic draw chests holding more draws, then went on to try out glass jars which lasted only until the inevitable broken glass jar and then tried an assortment of the open plastic bins, and finally have ended up with various hand carry flat plastic compartmentalized tackle type storage whatchamacaluts.

    But this last move, moved me to deal with this issue once and for all.

    here is the thing I find.

    As i age and my memory declines i find i spend way to much time looking for things regardless of the fact that i have them stored in an "organized manner" . I say this in quotes as the issue of what organized means becomes the point i am trying to debate.

    Its not adequate i find to have things merely stored in sorted format even if labeled.

    So my "hopefully final" view is the following

    1) I want all hardware, parts , spares and bits and pieces of small and infrequent use nature stored in one location.
    2) I want the method of storage to be transparent and by that i mean clear as glass.
    3) I want to be able to pick up and take the whole stock of whatever it is with me to a work bench or location i require them.
    4) I want the container that the item is stored in to have its lid with it when i do so in case i might drop the item and i dont want the container to break and spill the contents.
    5) I want a variety of size containers all of the same type and i want the container lid to be such that the full container is open when lid is off.
    6) I want a compact storage means so all can be in one place and it the storage means needs to be able to move when i move again and in fact move around the shop if necessary.
    7) I dont want to use wall space for this purpose and i dont want to have to bend down to get to something. Thinking here of future years so long term solution. Hopefully last.
    8) I want to be able to label the item and not have the label obscure the contents.
    9) I want to be able to glance and view the entire storage system so that by scanning the rows of storage i can find what i am looking for.

    So i thought about the most successful storage i have had and moved. This turned out to be a metal bracket with a U cut out that fitted the neck of specific plastic jars that hung by the u and could be retrieved when needed. All were the same size.

    My conclusion to date which i am seeking criticism, debate and input on is the following

    I will buy a bunch of these plastic storage jars from U Line , if anyone knows of a cheaper better supplier please reply and list a link.
    http://www.uline.ca/BL_8153/Clear-Pl...storage%20jars


    Then i am going to build a cabinet something like this


    Except that i will make mine to match the size of the jars i purchase, at this stage only the 3.25 inch lid category, then have the cabinet mounted on my mobile draws in the same way that furniture manufacturers engineer having a buffet and hutch stand on each other.

    By my calculation, no drawing yet (need to get back into learning sketchup to do that ) on a 4 ft long by 2ft wide mobile draw cabinet, i should be able to have 4 layers of jars, going 4 or 5 rows high. The very rear layer would be like a shelf and go from one side to the other.
    Then have a layer of shelves that slide side to side and divide the 4ft width into three. This could be done in a cabinet where another two layers are configured as a door which is 1/3 width and swings open to 180 degree. Essentially allowing access to the outer most row with no effort then the inner side when the doors are swung open and the last layer when the two 1/3 size layer 2nd from the rear slides side to side.

    I work out i should be able to get around 185 plastic storage jars of around 4 inch high and 3.25 inch wide into that space. If i do the same again and mount the units on the top of my mobile tool draws then put the tool draws back to back in the shop, i will have 370 storage locations for all the hardware etc.

    The guy in this picture from a lumberjock post, has a mix of recycled glass and plastic containers, he has it as a wall unit which uses wall space and goes from floor up and has only used the one side of the doors that open. I plan on making my doors double the width and double sided and then even have a layer that slides side to side before you get to the very rear. Hope this is clear as mud.

    My thoughts are if stock of an item requires more than one jar so be it. given the jar does not have to have a specific location but could if needed to keep some degree of order, one could easily add a jar into the row.

    I have found the plastic draws to be a total joke even when i was dabbling in electronics as a youngster, one only needed to buy another packet of resisters to find that the dedicated draw was overflowing, so where does one put the rest....just like screws it becomes dual storage and inevitably forgotten when needed or cannot be found.

    I am not thinking of this for just in the immediate future, but God willing i plan on doing something with my hands both woodworking and home diy till i no longer can and the issue for me is being able to have it all in one location and then being able to move it without the draws tipping out etc and the demotivating experience of sorting what you just thought you had done for the last time.

    I am even thinking when time comes to totally change life, a few essential jars can go with without an issue.

    Yes there is a small cost per jar, I have tried to collect the peanut butter jars we have and use them, the ones i have are very similar, but not enough so i added the mayo jar to the list, but that has a lid that is narrower than the jar so it adds an issue to the mix, regardless there still are not enough.

    I want a source where i can always add to the stock and add the same sizes. I also want to be able to get spare lids which this crowd can do.

    Only thing concerning me right now is weight for moving, but there again jars can be removed and stacked boxes and the racking moved.

    Moving plastic draws is a nightmare no matter how careful.
    The flat fishing tackle type storage even the attempted at clear versions still dont allow you to see all you have in one glance while standing in front of them. Bins end up being too big for some things so more is added to a bin and they not super clear to see what is inside.

    I thought i would put this up for some debate and input and alternative ideas. BY the way i looked up the draws of the type HD uses here for these kinds of things and the bins are darn expensive way more per location than a plastic jar like i have in mind. They are clear and do lift out and there is a cabinet that slides side to side so one can get the density up, but they come at a huge price not worth it in my view for a hobby.

    Would really like to hear it from all sides , i want this to be the last time i spend time sorting and getting hardware and bits and pieces sorted out it gets tired very quickly and is NOT woodworking or fun.


    Oh and i am even thinking of a portable carry type where i could load several jars in a carry tray to take along on diy work around the house in the future.
    cheers

  2. #2
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    So I guess a load of Folger containers from Rennie is out then?

    One of my first jobs was working for a developer that had multiple types of commercial properties, did land development, and must have had multi billions in assets (don't get me wrong, I respected him immensely, built up from nothing) . When we would need to repair something and need hardware of any sort, he didn't want us spending time running to the hardware store as we were costing him money, he'd run down to the local hardware store himself. Well at the time the store was going from the bins of the same nuts and bolts to packages of 4 or 5 of the same item in a bag. If we only needed 3 bolts, he'd make them take 3 out of the bag and sell him the 3. We later found out (didn't tell him though) that they would take the 3 out , but still charge him for the 4 or whatever was in the bag. I can say that working for him, we never had a storage problem for hardware.

    I get into where I'm saving leftover hardware for projects, I don't try to organize any of it, it goes into a bin. When I need to look for something I'll pour it all out and sort, or I'll go to the borg. This depends on my memory of how certain I've had and item and if I'm going to waste more time looking for it or just go to the borg. From time to time, I dump it all in the trash and forget I ever had it.

    Three items I've not yet regretted in investing in so far are, 1) the Brother label printer for labeling boxes/bins, 2) the $1 shoe boxes at the orange borg (Glenn uses these), 3) the yellow and black hardware cases at harbor freight for keeping like screws/hardware together for taking to the job. The HF boxes have the little yellow bins that can be removed to take along or move closer to the work as needed.

    Edit: These are the HF bins...
    http://m.harborfreight.com/19-bin-po...ase-93928.html


    http://m.harborfreight.com/8-bin-por...ase-93927.html


    http://m.harborfreight.com/abs-storage-organizer.html


    http://m.harborfreight.com/15-bin-po...ase-93929.html
    Last edited by Darren Wright; 01-05-2016 at 01:05 AM.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  3. #3
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    No solutions I can recommend, but lots of similar problems

    I will say that that stand looks perhaps a bit .. small..

    The other problem is that I tend to buy things by the box, which can be fairly large but then gets small as the parts are used up.. I guess you could "graduate" the stuff down into a smaller bin, but that ends up with labeling and space efficiency problems. Often the smaller amount is fine so re-stocking isn't warranted.. but I do like the price break (and sometimes the larger box is all they have available at whatever estate sale I happen to be at at that point in time ).

  4. #4
    I think I would build drawers that hold these, also from Uline:
    http://www.uline.ca/Product/Detail/S...ootChecked=yes
    Larger version here:
    http://www.uline.ca/Product/Detail/S...ootChecked=yes
    Made to fit inside plastic bins but a custom made drawer would work well. I use the smaller ones inside traditional steel hardware storage bins for small items. I have some of them in other bins like the ones shown here:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    If you want to build a big drawer then various different sizes of these are modular in size as long as you build the drawers the same size as the Lista cabinets for which they were designed:
    http://www.schallercorporation.com/plastic-boxes/

    I'm sure Glenn got the Bradley Organizational Gene from the same place I did, our father.

    I must admit I like the Durham drawer units for a bunch of different sizes of one item. They aren't very expensive if you buy the right sizes from the right places. I think this steel drawer unit is about $12:
    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by Greg Bradley; 01-05-2016 at 12:44 AM.

  5. #5
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    My first suggestion which is the harder to follow is: Get rid of half of the items. We all tend to store bits and pieces with the thought "Yeah I might use this on the future and that is hard to find"
    then you never use it, but it takes some space in your cabinet, drawer, jar or box.

    Then you buy 1" nails by the box and you get some left over that you religiously keep and so forth.

    I would apply the japanese "5S" methodology so in trend in companies lately: Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5S_(methodology). It is hard to let go certain items and hardware, as hard as letting go some wood scraps but we have to do it.

    You are starting on the third "S" of the technique, which will lead to frustration and a lot of more work and cost eventually. My advice is start for the first one "SORT" and get rid of most of the things that you kept "just in case". Once you have done that you'll realize that the work left is far less than you thought at the beginning.
    I am not going to explain the whole methodology here but it works if done honestly and correctly.
    Best regards,
    Toni

    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________
    web site:http://www.toniciuraneta.com
    I also dream of a shop with north light where my hands can be busy, my soul rest and my mind wander...

  6. #6
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    I found jars, especially round ones, to be a very inefficient use of space. Since space is one of my limited quantities I needed to store more in less space than jars would allow. I tried jars at multiple depth but, being unattached to each other, like items would end up in the wrong place instead of #8 x 2-1/2" being behind #8x2" they would be behind elevator bolts or whatever.

    I went with bins. Each bin has a label on the end that faces out telling me things like: #6 & #7 PHWS (pan head wood screws), #8 FHWS, #8 WHWS (washer head), Brass FHWS, etc. I also have bins for hinges, project parts (little brass odd-ball items, lid stops, Cabinet Hardware (glide screws, door bumpers, magnetic catches, shelf pins), 1/4" x 20 hardware, 5/16" x 18 hardware and a couple of the inevitable "other misc hdwr" for springs, pieces of picture hanging wire and who knows what.

    One important aspect to any storage container grouping is that one may be removed without having to move, lift, slide or otherwise battle another; this format has never worked for me. When I reach for "that" container, I want to be able to grab it without fuss, often one-handed.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I have several sets of cubbies for these (adjustable up to) 24 compartment "tackle boxes". I do joyfully use Rennie's second hand Int'l Coffee boxes for larger hardware but, unfortunately stack them two deep which often leads to the problem discussed above. I plan a better method for these soon.
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 01-05-2016 at 01:27 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toni Ciuraneta View Post
    My first suggestion which is the harder to follow is: Get rid of half of the items. We all tend to store bits and pieces with the thought "Yeah I might use this on the future and that is hard to find"
    then you never use it, but it takes some space in your cabinet, drawer, jar or box.

    Then you buy 1" nails by the box and you get some left over that you religiously keep and so forth.

    I would apply the japanese "5S" methodology so in trend in companies lately: Sort, Set, Shine, Standardize and Sustain. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5S_(methodology). It is hard to let go certain items and hardware, as hard as letting go some wood scraps but we have to do it.

    You are starting on the third "S" of the technique, which will lead to frustration and a lot of more work and cost eventually. My advice is start for the first one "SORT" and get rid of most of the things that you kept "just in case". Once you have done that you'll realize that the work left is far less than you thought at the beginning.
    I am not going to explain the whole methodology here but it works if done honestly and correctly.
    I hear you Toni and for business I would absolutely agree but from now on you are ex communicated from the hoarders club and society.

    On a serious note thats something i could never do in a million years. I am getting better at tossing worthless hardware but to do that across the board for me is part of what i despise about the modern world its engaging in consumption and waste. Given i do diy and fix the odd other item around the house i could never throw out hardware. I have many reasons, first have you seen the quality of new hardware. For example i have brass screws in various sizes that i got from my Dad. I dont use them in large scale but each time i have purchased hinges i toss the hardware that came with the hinges and use my own. Now these screws (given they were bought at least 40 years ago), are being used even at a slow rate given my Dad would only buy boxes of screws, and more importantly are still proper brass screws, to throw them out just because i have not used any in the last couple of years due to my own output is tom foolery in my opinion.

    Then when one examines why one has duplicates of so many things its because you could not find the thing in the beginning. So i want that all this hardware is in one location and i dont want to have to look in trays or read labels unless i am wanting to know the specifics of an item eg actual size.

    Another thing i have is what my Dad called panel pins, I know them today from what i have learnt in NA as brad nails. But the brad nail from a nail gun is not the same. Mine have decent small heads, a knurl of sorts below the head and a triangular point. I have not seen these available here. But when you need to put a piece of trim in place without splitting it and dont want a big hole to fill these are perfect.

    As much as we keep on hand the "right tool for the job" which may see infrequent use, I wish to keep my hardware regardless of its frequency of consumption.

    Add to this i plan to hopefully move away from being in close proximity to borgs etc so a trip to the store in my future will not be for an odd item of hardware that i threw out a year prior and now need to buy back garbage versions of again to get the job done.

    Labeling etc is all good and well, but i struggle with what you call certain things and having those names even if i remember the name have the same meaning as me seeing the item. Especially for builds of say jigs or something where you not looking for a specific item by name but something that would do the job. Thats how i look for a nut and bolt for an odd repair. I dont get a caliper out etc and go to the hardware looking for say a specific size nut and bolt. First up i may not have that and for that specific purpose i aint buying a pack of 25 or the likes. So i want to glance through the jars and see an item i believe would be close and make do. May take two hits to get an adequate one but i would never find this item if it were in trays like Glenn shows.

    Last point i remember my Dad collecting navy cut round tins from others and using them in a shallow flat draw to store bits and pieces. The number of times we went through those tins to find something for one of my projects is uncountable.

    I can see the sense of limiting hardware if you purely looking at woodworking but for me no ways.
    cheers

  8. #8
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    I can understand Rob, my did didn't get rid of hardware, screws, bolts, nuts, or nails. If he couldn't find a suitable item in the "organized" bins of common stuff, out came the coffee cans that had everything else in them. I found an old shallow cake pan worked great for sorting and pouring the items back in the can, it kept us busy while he worked out other details.

    So what's your sorting/organizing algorithm going to be? Like the big box store, usually by type, size, material? Just curious how it will be easily scanned and found.

    I'm still looking for a good inventory system for the hardware, like hinges, brackets, and odd ball stuff. Maybe when high speed cameras come down in price we can setup this with the puff of air to shoot it into the right jar. I'm kidding, but for cabinet hardware, I tend to get enough odd pieces that I have to sort through it as I get into a project to see what I have available. It would be nice to have it all in an inventory db for easy searching.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

  9. #9
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    As far as labeling goes, I got one of these and would not look back..

    Prints in an instant, attached to the computer its always there and ready. The little hand held ones take so long to enter and look goofy.

    We use this for all kinds of stuff around here.

    http://www.amazon.com/DYMO-LabelWrit.../dp/B0027JIIKQ
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
    If all your friends are exactly like you, What an un-interesting life it must be.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Wright View Post
    I can understand Rob, my did didn't get rid of hardware, screws, bolts, nuts, or nails. If he couldn't find a suitable item in the "organized" bins of common stuff, out came the coffee cans that had everything else in them. I found an old shallow cake pan worked great for sorting and pouring the items back in the can, it kept us busy while he worked out other details.

    So what's your sorting/organizing algorithm going to be? Like the big box store, usually by type, size, material? Just curious how it will be easily scanned and found.

    I'm still looking for a good inventory system for the hardware, like hinges, brackets, and odd ball stuff. Maybe when high speed cameras come down in price we can setup this with the puff of air to shoot it into the right jar. I'm kidding, but for cabinet hardware, I tend to get enough odd pieces that I have to sort through it as I get into a project to see what I have available. It would be nice to have it all in an inventory db for easy searching.
    As long as the DB is visual.

    Brent I have one of those and have it on my network, like you i have never looked back even been thinking of having another.

    Just wish Canada post would get with the program and do what USPS has done and make self printed postage stamps possible in Canada. It would cut the lines at their post offices for people looking to do a transaction involving dozens of ebay purchases and small business sending out mail (note i said small business not bulk mail which is handled differently). But then they union so why would you want to get efficient.

    Brent you seen this one ?

    http://www.dymo.com/en-US/label-make...-label-printer

    I still think there is a fundamental problem with reconciling labeling of something with finding it when memory starts to fade and when the description is not adequate or meaningful. Many things i recognize by visual sight of them and would have no idea what their real name is and no desire to learn their real name in a hobby. So what i might call the whatchamacalit today is not what i might call it tomorrow.

    You guys have been raised in the US with all sorts of abbreviations in every single field of life, just look at a youngsters text and the use in many cases of single letters to take the place of whole words. You can go to a Borg and ask for exactly what you want as a result me, i have to go and walk that row and find it because describing it to drones that need to put the real name into the computer to have the system pull its location from the DB is an exercise in futility. Its why i think LV has the best catalogs etc but the poorest store when the items are not on display.
    cheers

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