DIY Workbench and Tool Storage

To say that my husband has a lot of tools/building equipment would be an understatement. It is an enjoyable hobby of his, and fortunately it is a cost effective one. Building our own furniture and other things we need in the house, and in general doing our own fixing saves us money, in both the short and the long term. The problem is that when you have a lot of tools, it can be hard to keep track of them and find what you need when you need it.

To be able to store his tools more easily and make them easily accessible to him, my husband built this tool storage station of sorts, without spending a thing. We have a small apartment, as we divided a two floor home into two apartments, one to live in and one to rent out. We have "stairs that lead to nowhere", as the division between the two apartments was made by building a wall at the top of the stairs. We use the upper part of the stairs for storage, and my husband made use of the landing in the middle of the stairs, as a place to store his tools. (Eventually we would like to build a storage shed in our yard, either from scratch or prefabricated, and plan to move this work station there.) I like that his tools now have a place of their own, out of the way of our general living area so it doesn't take up valuable room in our small home, and out of the kids, meanwhile utilizing what otherwise would be wasted space, yet easy enough for my husband to use when he needs it.

We had this table in our old apartment, something that actually was in my husband's bedroom growing up (he had three small fish tanks on it- and his parents even got that table free from a business that closed down, so it was free even then), and my husband repurposed it as the table for his workbench. 

His big and heavy tools get stored in plastic milk crates (that my husband dumpster dove) underneath the table.

He found a nice wooden pallet with out empty spaces between the slats, and he attached that to the wall above the table. There were wooden pieces going horizontally across the pallet at regular intervals, and my husband attached wooden slats (from another pallet) to the bottom of them to make them into pockets to hold his small tools and attachments. 

To some of them he attached old curtain rods, on which he hangs some tools, making them easy to find.

He attached hooks and screws to the base of the pallet and uses them to hang various attachments to his tools, such as drill bits and sanding, filing, and cutting disks.

Using a block of wood he found, he made a tool block (like a knife block) by drilling various holes into it, and uses it to store his various screwdrivers, wedges, etc...

I'll admit, before my husband built this, it was a really unattractive, non user friendly eyesore. And while I still don't find tools to be the prettiest home decor, I think my husband's workbench/tool storage station is an awesome option, making it as aesthetic as possible, while making it easy for him and myself to find and use any tools he needs. Best part is that, not only is it out of the way, it also is stored in a way with safety in mind, every tool that can be dangerous potentially is made unusable (separating blades or the electronic components) and/or high up, out of reach of kids. 

And it was all free. 

Good going Mike!

Would you say you have a lot or a little bit of tools? How do you store your tools to make them most user friendly to use? 

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. I used to have a LOT of tools and I also had a full size basement in which there was a huge work table and a wall covered by pegboard. I would hang as much as I could on the pegboard, lay out the largest stuff on the table, store small tools in the drawers of the table and the smallest items in boxes or jars. Plus I had two plastic tool boxes with trays and partitions. These days, I have three toolboxes and zehu. While your husbands set up is organized, I find it too cluttered looking and too TIGHT for my personal taste. I would probably prefer to see a large pegboard hanging on one of the walls along side the staircase to hang tools on and to spread them out a bit to make them easier to see/find/access. (Can still be out of reach of children)

  2. Your husband is very good with his hands. Is there any way he can start designing furniture as a business?

  3. I love it when you post pictures of the things you and your husband make. It's so inspiring to me! One area I'd like to work on is organizing my sewing tools. I have most of them in what used to be a computer hutch. This keeps the clutter out of sight, but it's a pain to dig around in the corners of the hutch to retrieve different items.

  4. Nice! I wonder if you could drywall off a part of the entrance of the stairs to nowhere and put in a door. This would make it into a big closet.

  5. Deeda In SeattleMay 2, 2017 at 6:02 PM

    I think that's a really good frugal design to store alot of tools! And a good use of that space, too. Maybe install some high shelving for storage and along one wall, or hooks to hold awkward things like brooms, out-of-season jackets, etc.? I would probably put up a tension curtain just to block out what's up there, too!

  6. This is a great idea...I forwarded it to my husband, who has a ton of tools stored in cat litter buckets and on the mudroom floor.

    Your book's doing really well on Amazon, congratulations!

  7. Another great post, thanks so much. My hubby has his tools everywhere, it's quite annoying. I keep my own set in a bag, in one spot so I can always find them. Also, had a thought, if you hang bags along the staircase on the walls, that can be more storage for you without eating up too much space like shelves or baskets might. Keep 'em coming, loving your blog.

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