Q&A / 

Storage Boxes for Hardware and Parts

assorted plastic storage boxes for hardware and parts

Storage Boxes with Clear Lids - These are just a few of the innovative parts storage boxes I use to keep everything organized in my workshop and garage. Are you a fisherman/woman? Do you make crafts as a hobby? These boxes are perfect for anyone who has lots of small things they need to have at their fingertips. Copyright 2023 Tim Carter

Storage Boxes for Hardware and Parts - Innovative & Useful

Author's Note: This column appeared in over 60 USA newspapers. If you read it there and are looking for all the photos of the many boxes, CLICK HERE. This opens to a new page. CLICK HERE for DeWALT organizer boxes. CLICK HERE for the orange Klein Tools Organizer Boxes.

I need you to be honest with me. In the past few months, how many hours have you spent looking for some nut, bolt, screw, wire nut, or any other small part that you KNOW you have somewhere in your garage, basement, or workshop?

How angry or frustrated did you get as each moment passed? In the dim light above your cluttered workbench you were opening and closing five, ten, or twenty small cardboard boxes, old plastic 35mm film canisters, or glass baby food jars, weren’t you? I know as I used to do the same thing.

Do you do crafts or partake in a hobby that has lots of small parts? Do you have lots of small beads, spools of thread, or electronic parts stored in poorly marked boxes? How much time have you wasted looking for something you need now?

Clunky 1x6 Pine Storage Boxes

Decades ago when I was a young carpenter/remodeler I discovered that each day I needed an assortment of nails and screws with me each day. Back then, you purchased these at a hardware store or lumber yard. They were often put in paper bags. If you bought 50 pounds at once, they came in a large cardboard box.

I decided to build my own storage containers that had segregated compartments. I used 1x6 pine lumber for the sides and 1/2-inch plywood for the top, bottom, and inner compartments. Empty, these boxes were somewhat heavy. Once you loaded them with assorted screws, nails, nuts, and bolts they were comparable to dumbbells used by bodybuilders.

A few years later, I was building a room addition for an engineer. He saw my boxes and said, “I think there’s a better way. Look at these plastic bins we use where I work.” The open containers were marvelous. They measured about 4 inches wide, 7 inches deep, and about 3 inches high. They were stackable. The best part is they fit perfectly on the inside shelves of my utility-body truck.

Akro Bins - Storage 2.0

I bought 100 of them and one weekend I transferred all my hardware, plumbing fittings, electrical connectors, etc. into the back of my truck. I was a traveling hardware store and always had what I needed, even in an emergency. I rarely had to stop work to go get the perfect part or fastener. The bins increased my productivity and added to my profitability.

But the bins had a drawback. If you knocked one over, the parts would scatter. If you needed multiple fasteners or parts, you’d have to carry into the house multiple bins. Dropping them was always a risk. Going over bumps or hitting deep potholes caused parts to jump out of the containers inside the back of my truck.

Modern Clear-Lid Storage Boxes

The good news is modern parts storage boxes have eliminated all of the above problems. Over the past few years, tool manufacturers have introduced a wide variety of storage boxes that I could have only dreamed of having.

The best design feature, in my opinion, is the tough crystal-clear top lid of these storage boxes. You can immediately see the exact part you’re looking for. Inside these boxes are small plastic bins that allow you to store different fasteners and parts. The inner bins come in all sorts of sizes too.

It gets even better. The lids of the boxes are designed so the things stay in the small bins. You can tumble the boxes around, tip them over when closed, or throw them down a hill and the contents inside each of the plastic bins stay put. The underside of the lids creates a seal encapsulating each of the parts bins.

Oh, did I say that many of these boxes are designed to interlock one on top of another as a system? Did I share that some have the ability to connect to an integral two-wheeled hand truck to transport them to a job site?

What astounds me is that each month or so a manufacturer unveils yet a newer model that fixes tiny bugs that might have been present with an earlier model. In the past two months I’ve outfitted my truck with two boxes that work perfectly to store plastic fittings I use to install PEX water tubing.

Just last week I took ownership of a very unique storage box that’s less than 2 inches thick. It’s about the size of a white-collar worker’s briefcase. It's the Klein Tools Short Component Box Full Width. The link opens in a new window. It’s perfect for tiny screws, fasteners, electronic parts, colorful beads, or any other small part or widget you might use in your hobby or craft.

There are so many of these cool and useful storage boxes it’s impossible to list them all here. I’ve created an exhaustive list of many of them with photos on my website. Just go to www.AsktheBuilder.com and type “storage boxes” into my search engine. You’ll be stunned at the variety. I guarantee you your days of frustration and anger will be over. Your workshop, hobby room, etc. will be so well organized and you’ll find things in seconds, not hours.

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