This post is about organizing.

From a person whose desk looks like a paper truck collided with an armored car.

An armored car that only carries pennies.

And both trucks were struck by a rocket-propelled grenade—a grenade filled with cat hair.

Anyway…when I was a kid, my mom used the excuse “he’s creative.”

So I decided to organize one of the places where I can be creative.

The workshop.

I have to say that’s the one place I am fairly organized. Everything has it’s place. The trouble is that I’ve accumulated way too much stuff in my 15 years of homeownership.

I’d go to Lowe’s to get some stuff for a project and I’d buy a bigger box of screws than I needed so I could avoid a trip later.

Or the ol’…

“I’ll buy an extra one and return it if I don’t use it.”

Then I forget to return it. Or…

“aww crap. Was that 10-24 or 8-32 machine threads? I’ll just get both.”

And even…

“Look at those blue wall anchors. And the yellow. Wait. I don’t have these green ones. And those look new. Yeah, I need them too. Hey is that a new drill?

I’m sure there’s another 1400 scenarios I’ve left out.

But it got to the point that I was buying double because I couldn’t find what I had or didn’t know I had it.

Particularly fasteners.

Machine screws. Drywall screws. Wood screws. Sheet metal. Self-tapping. Zinc, brass and stainless steel.

Yeah. All of that.

Screws times washers times nails times nuts times SAE times metric times 15 years.

I basically have a mini-Lowe’s in my backyard.

So I wanted to organize it like one.

And I built a small parts organizer organizer. Yup. Organized the organizers.

I started with these Kobalt Small Sorters (P/N 295963 http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=295963-61896-295963). I also picked up some ½” Birch Plywood (P/N 6199 http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay?partNumber=6199-99899-1503302) and ¼” birch plywood (P/N 6196 http://www.lowes.com/pd_6196-99899-0260_0__?productId=3604750).

I started with these Kobalt Small Sorters (P/N 295963). I also picked up some ½” Birch Plywood (P/N 6199) and ¼” birch plywood (P/N 6196).

I won’t go through the details of cutting wood, but will hit on the highlights of construction here. And you can download plans to build this parts sorter organizer that includes a cut list.

Now that you downloaded the plans, you can see what I cut and how it goes together. Let’s move on to photos.

I setup my router table with a chamfering bit to knock the hard edge off of all of the exposed edges before gluing up. This will allow the parts sorters to shelved easily and reduce the sanding I have to do.

I setup my router table with a chamfering bit to knock the hard edge off of all of the exposed edges before gluing up. This will allow the parts sorters to shelved easily and reduce the sanding I have to do.

 

Here I'm using an acid brush to spread glue in the dados for the inserts. I want good even coverage of glue.

Here I’m using an acid brush to spread glue in the dados for the inserts. I want good even coverage of glue.

 

I shot a couple of pins at an angle to hold the shelf inserts in place while the glue dried. The tip of my pin nailer is beveled almost to a point so I can get into tight spaces for this kind of stuff. The pins all but disappear and most times don't require any putty or filler. And with this being utilitarian and not fine furniture, I don't care if you see where pins were shot in anyway.

I shot a couple of pins at an angle to hold the shelf inserts in place while the glue dried. The tip of my pin nailer is beveled almost to a point so I can get into tight spaces for this kind of stuff. The pins all but disappear and most times don’t require any putty or filler. And with this being utilitarian and not fine furniture, I don’t care if you see where pins were shot in anyway.

 

Here's a close up of the pin nails. I used 5/8" pins to hold everything together while the glue dried.

Here’s a close up of the pin nails. I used 5/8″ pins to hold everything together while the glue dried.

 

After a dry fit, I glued up everything, shot a few pins to hold it steady, and clamped it to dry. I'll put the back on last. I was working on 3 other projects at the same time, trying to benefit from economies of scale. I quickly learned that I do not have enough clamps. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH CLAMPS. EVER.

After a dry fit, I glued up everything, shot a few pins to hold it steady, and clamped it to dry. I’ll put the back on last. I was working on 3 other projects at the same time, trying to benefit from economies of scale. I quickly learned that I do not have enough clamps. YOU CAN NEVER HAVE ENOUGH CLAMPS. EVER.

 

While I was busy building, my son wanted to help by sorting. I gave him most of the stuff that wasn't really sharp like machine screws, washers and nuts.

While I was busy building, my son wanted to help by sorting. I gave him most of the stuff that wasn’t really sharp like machine screws, washers and nuts. He loved it, and felt it was an important contribution. It was.

 

For some reason, I really like the look of waxed plywood. Not much of a sheen but offers a little protection from the humidity here at Dadand Florida. Just open a can and apply with a rag or whatever. I used a round wax pad like you use to wax your car.

For some reason, I really like the look of waxed plywood. Not much of a sheen but offers a little protection from the humidity here at Dadand Florida. Just open a can and apply with a rag or whatever. I used a round wax pad like you use to wax your car.

 

Waxed ply on the right. Natural on the left. That is all.

Waxed ply on the right. Natural on the left. That is all.

 

Here's one of the completed sorter organizers. I built two since the setup was a little time consuming—I just cut twice as much stuff.

Here’s one of the completed sorter organizers. I built two since the setup was a little time consuming—I just cut twice as much stuff.

 

I got really lucky here. The sorter organizers perfectly fit on one of the shelves without adjustment. I didn't want them moving around every time I pulled a sorter in and out, so I drilled some countersunk holes and shot a few screws into the shelf to keep it in place.

I got really lucky here. The sorter organizers perfectly fit on one of the shelves without adjustment. I didn’t want them moving around every time I pulled a sorter in and out, so I drilled some countersunk holes and shot a few screws into the shelf to keep it in place.

 

Well, here's the two finished sorter organizers. All that's left is to label each sorter so I know what's inside. Then I can grab one sorter easily, and see if I have what I need before a trip to the store, or bring the sorter right to the job so I have what I need. Plus it looks pretty okay I guess.

Well, here’s the two finished sorter organizers. All that’s left is to label each sorter so I know what’s inside. Then I can grab one sorter easily, and see if I have what I need before a trip to the store, or bring the sorter right to the job so I have what I need. Plus it looks pretty okay I guess.

So go and build a sorter organizer for your garage or workshop. Maybe you have one and it’s better than mine. Then tell me about it. Pin something, repost, like and share on your spacebooks and myfaces.

And download the plans for free right now.

 

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Disclaimer

“In accordance with the FTC Guidelines, I am disclosing that I received compensation from Lowe’s for my time and participation in the Lowe’s Creative Ideas Influencer Network. Although we have a material connection to Lowe’s, any publicly stated opinions of Lowe’s and their products remain our own.”

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