Wall-mounted hardware cabinet


Let’s get organized!

Whenever I decide I want to rearrange the shop, I tend to just dive in with no clear plan and only a vague idea of how I want to improve the work space. As a result, I end up pulling things off the walls or out of cabinets and piling them on my workbench. Maybe this is my strategy: once I have doubled the clutter, it becomes imperative that I take action.

I am never satisfied with the way my shop is organized, but it’s the only “room” in my house where I can rearrange the furniture and not confuse the cat.  The biggest problem I’ve been experiencing for a long time is the size of the island workbench in the middle of the shop. It just makes the space more cramped than I would like, especially when moving around camera equipment and lights.

A 4′ x 8′ workbench made sense 14 years ago when I built it: It would allow plenty of room for assembling large projects, and I could access all four sides. As it turns out, I rarely require that much work surface and and extra horizontal space usually becomes a clutter magnet.


The second change I’ve been wanting to make is to thin out my tool collection hanging on my tool hutch and eliminate that hutch altogether. I have a lot of tools I hardly ever touch. They can be kept in drawers. Duplicate tools I can give away.

In order to build a new storage system I figured I would need that huge workbench for piling up all the stuff I remove from the wall. So the monster bench gets one last use! I’ll build a new one next week.

I liked the cubby hole storage in the old tool hutch. It was a great system for storing screws and other hardware. As a side note, if I need screws for a project, I always buy a whole box so I will have a stock on hand of many sizes. Unlike lumber or tools, screws are the few items I recommend buying extra.

Cubby hole hardware cabinet

Cubby-hole organization

I designed the new cubby-hole cabinets to be smallish and modular. If you are going to make one, it’s just as easy to make two or three at the same time. The small size lets me arrange them vertically or horizontal and the french cleat mounting system makes it easy to move them anywhere in the shop. The shelves are removable and adjustable. For me, that means adjusting them once and never changing them again!



Wall mounted open hardware cabinet



  1. I totally sympathize with the need to shed Stuff. Over the years I’ve learned about how my psychology works, and some things that don’t.

    First, I have to accept that in the middle of the process, everything is going to look like hell. I mean, like that weird old junk shop the funny-smelling, grizzled hermit guy keeps. But if I have a clear idea (or even a sketch or two!) of how I want it to end up, it helps keep me patient.

    Second, I know that I only have so many sorting decisions in me per day. When I find myself standing in the middle of the room with a something-or-other in my hand and I’ve been dithering for five minutes about what to do with it – it’s time to stop for the day. I need to give the Sorting Elves in my head rest and nourishment and to go do something else until the next day. Yeah, a whole day. But if I try to push through that and keep sorting, I either end up tossing actually valuable things or just throwing *everything* in a drawer and saying to heck with it, and that probably means the project is going to wait for months to get started again.

    Also, it really helps to repeat to myself over and over and over: “This Thing is NOT my mother. My mother lives in my heart, not in this dusty old knicknack.” (Insert the person and object of your choice into that statement.)

    Love your videos, thanks for all your work!

    • Well said Terry. I am kind of on an OCD downsizing kick lately. Much of what I tend to accumulate and save is what most rational people would consider junk. The “value” seems to be the emotional attachments. Like you said, my ancient objects are not my childhood or a family member. The memories are permanently in my brain.

      One thing I have discovered is that usually, after throwing something away that I’ve been clinging to, I don’t regret it and never wish I had it back. It’s the act of throwing it away that seems to be difficult. Sure, we all tell ourselves that “As soon as I throw something away, I’ll end up needing it the next day”. While amusing, this is rarely actually the case. We like to find all sorts of ways to convince ourselves that we need things we haven’t used in years!

  2. I use the “$10 Rule”. If I haven’t used it in the last year, and I can replace it for less than $10, I throw it away. Get rid of a lot of small, unnecessary stuff. I have trouble with the more expensive stuff.

  3. I have been on a “shedding” trip the last year. The biggest thing after the first month of being a eliminator of all things stale, I realized that some of the items have values to others and set up a 2 tier system for shedding. First, do I need it (also applying the have I used it in X period of time) and then could someone else use this. If I say Yes to the second question but I do not have a clear path of getting it to said person – it goes with the disposal pile. I have found approximately 40/60 split when doing so (unfortunately 60% of the time I cant find a way to get it to someone else, but I am good with 40% surviving).

    My other rule is I never shed a tool unless I have a better one and if its a heavily used tool it has to be better than my backup to stay. If not, someone else is always building a tool kit – Just ask!

  4. Thank you. You have inspired me to organize the garage! I think the cubbies will work well for me. I need to make a new planter for the front yard to replace one that I made when I didn’t know anything about wood (made a planter out of pine…it’s disintegrating!) So, although it’s a fairly simple project, I find myself dreading it because I really haven’t put anything away from my last project (a wall bed and custom cabinet!!!). Now I think the garage project is next, then the planter will be easier! Question: Did you use 1/2″ plywood?

  5. hi, I love the cubbies, want to build them myself. Just one question, what size did you make the dividers (the ones that fit into the dados).

  6. How I limit my stuff that I might use someday. I now only allow myself one drawer of stuff that I might use one day. If I add something, I must remove one item.

    Strict self imposed rule, only one drawer of stuff or junk.

    David Thompson
    Pahrump NV


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