How To Organize Tools (When You Don’t Have A Garage)

Tell all ya friends and neighbors!

How to make a closet into a tool organization solution to house power tools and accessories when you don’t have a garage space in which to store them.

Need to organize your tools and don't have a garage? No sweat! You can do what we did and DIY your own tool closet to give you a tool storage solution #toolcloset #toolorganization #livingletterhome #toolstorage

It’s fine we don’t have a garage. Really it is.

Until it’s pouring down rain and you’re trying to bring groceries and 2 kids in.

Or until you have to go outside and start your car to defrost it.

Or cool it down when it’s 1000 degrees in the summer.

Or have to just store your tools in the middle of the floor because there’s no storage solution to put them outside.

Okay, maybe I miss having a garage. I miss having a garage a lot.

The good news is we are planning on adding one to our home!

The bad news is that time is way in the future. We’re talkin’ hovercrafts and spider monkeys ruling the planet. (Hopefully not, but I’d rather think it was further away and then make myself happy when it’s not so far away).

When you have one, finding a garage storing system can almost be fun. Hello, pegboards! It may seem far fetched, but I honestly do love organizing and garage organization at our old house was something I really looked forward to doing, but we weren’t there long enough to fully tackle it.

If you were around for our pantry refresh (which you can check out the full reveal here!) I showed you this photo to demonstrate where our pantry was in our kitchen:

2 doors painted sherwin williams iron ore

What I didn’t share was what this closet looked like on the inside. Which is this:

door open to show messy tool closet
door open to show messy tool closet

Before you scream in horror, we TRIED, okay?!

We tried the vertical storage pegboard thing to hang tools that was in our old house’s garage.

Plus, everything we use was at the BOTTOM of this closet anyway. So, basically it’s dig through this pile of Ryobi tools and hope nothing sharp stabs you. Ya know, not easily accessible in the least. Seems logical and healthy and good to me.

We had to figure something out. Our solution was to find a way to organize tools in the house. In our hallway, we had this closet that’s right under our stairs:

wrapping paper hanging on door in hallway

It’s the very first door to the left in our long hallway.

golf clubs in closet

Wire. Shelves. Again. WHY PEOPLE?! Why? They’re a royal pain in my not so royal tush. So, my husband decided after building our shelves in our pantry to do something similar here.

They’re made a bit differently, though since this closet was deeper.

To make DIY wood shelves for tool storage:

My husband pocket hole screwed 2 2x8s together to make a shelf that was 15″ deep and then attached them using cleats he made from 2x2s.

(He also basically just wrote that paragraph for me because the only thing I know when you talk about 2×2 is how the animals got on the ark.)

The first executive decision was to make this hallway closet the tool closet since it was a bit bigger.

Then he built shelves very similar to the way he built them in our pantry (hence the lack of follow through I have on here with pictures) and stained them in Minwax Early American.

I also got crazy and painted the inside of the closet the same color as the hallway above our faux board and batten which is Sherwin Williams Storm Cloud.

The Best Tips For Storing Tools Without A Garage

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Create Visibility

how to organize tools when you are in an apartment or don't have a garage

It’s one thing to have a bunch of tools shoved in a closet, but if you can’t get to the things you need your storage system is flawed.

Make sure that you have access to the things that you need. Sometimes that means using wall space and going vertical. Sometimes that means simply some cheap storage bins from Walmart!

no garage solutions - tool organization solutions

Can I interest anyone in a Ryobi power tool?

Nope, not sponsored by Home Depot. But we should be. AMIRITE?! These things are great. They all run on the same batteries which means you can drill a hole and then take the battery off and go blow leaves out of your yard. That’s real life.

And trust me. They are NOT paying me to say that. Or anything really.

Organize the Tiny Things

stacking bins for organizing little tools

Sheesh – our daughter loves tiny toys and I had to create a way to organize her tiny toys and now my husband has tiny “toys” I have to wrangle.

These stacking organizers came in CLUTCH. Shout to my people at Harbor Freight for making everything cheaper than what I order at Taco Bell.

Stackable bins are great for storing things like nails, drill bits, or tiny pieces your children might ingest.

I’m also going to link to these similar ones here on Amazon if you don’t have a Harbor Freight near you or just don’t like wearing bras and prefer to order things from the comfort of your couch like ya girl.

organized tools in clear plastic bins labeled
clear bins with labels for organized tools

By using clear bins, you can find PVC pipe in a hurry! I mean, who wants to be stuck PVC-less, ya know? I sure don’t!

Use Labels

I don’t typically get excited about tools, but I CAN get excited about using my label maker. I LOVE mine and will look for anything to label if I can.

The one I have is a little pricey, but to be honest, it paid for itself in the first year I had it.

Epson LabelWorks LW-400 Label Maker

In case you’re wondering, you can also get this bad boy on Amazon!

Get Creative With Storage

Some of you may not even live in a house. You may be looking for where to store tools in an apartment or a condo. Get creative!

how to organize tools with tool bucket organizer
tool bucket organizer

Like this tool bucket organizer, for example.

It fits over a 5 gallon bucket and has like 1.897 JILLION compartments for all the smaller tools which is a great storage idea when you’re in tight quarters like us.

A place for your whatsy-hoosits and your thingamajigs and your wibble woms and your zip zorbs. Those are all hand tools, right?

How do you think we did? Do you think we found a tool organization solution without a garage or dedicated storage space?

For right now at least on this day we have an organized tool closet and I couldn’t more thrilled to NOT stub my toe on a hand sander and fall on the dull end of the drill. Hooray!

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How to organize tools without a garage #toolcloset #toolorganization #livingletterhome #toolstorage

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  1. Now THAT is some seriously inspiring work! I love those sturdy wooden shelves and stacking organizers.

    (Also, I too recommend those Ryobi to essentially anyone who might be slightly interested! XD)

  2. Carmen, I like the comment and agree with this her

    Carmen, I am seriously so envious of this amazing tool closet. Our mudroom looks like your before picture x10. Heaps of stuff on the floor even though Iโ€™ve already taken a shot at organizing it. I think the key is to have an entire closet dedicated just to tools โ€“ especially for us DIYers! Love that you painted the walls inside, and stained the shelves so not only is it all organized, but also aesthetically pleasing! Great tutorial!

  3. Carmen, I am seriously so envious of this amazing tool closet. Our mudroom looks like your before picture x10. Heaps of stuff on the floor even though I’ve already taken a shot at organizing it. I think the key is to have an entire closet dedicated just to tools – especially for us DIYers! Love that you painted the walls inside, and stained the shelves so not only is it all organized, but also aesthetically pleasing! Great tutorial!

    1. Oh gosh THANK YOU, Lisa!! Yes, the dedicated tool closet was key. the OTHER key is seeing how long we can keep it like this haha ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. What pretty tool storage!! I really need to do something like this. Maybe we wouldn’t need to clean out the garage every other month if I did! ๐Ÿ˜‰

  5. I love seeing all these tools so organized, this closet looks amazing. I do have a garage, but I like to keep my tools inside. It’s far too cold half the year to be working outdoors ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for the tips.

  6. Such a great closet organization solution. My current closet looks like your Before and this motivates me to get mine in order as well. Love it.

  7. Oh my gosh I can’t believe how many tools you got into that closet. The shelves turned out great but even better is how you have everything so neatly organized on them. Great job, I can’t wait to see your “garage building post” ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. This looks great, Carmen! We actually do have a garage, but I think I may steal some of your organization ideas for our storage room out there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Haha girl, you are too funny! I enjoyed this read, and loved seeing how you turned a closet into a fabulous storage space!! Btw, I had to pester Mr DIY to share the wording of our tutorial too ????

    1. YES! Itโ€™s so hard and he sneaks and does things and Iโ€™m like I need to photograph that!! And then itโ€™s too late

  10. I SOOO need this at my house. My tools have a place, but the organization is horrible. I love how you organized your nails. I need to do this. Thanks for sharing!

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