Reader Question: Screw nail organizing solutions

A reader recently sent in a request:

Do you have any suggestions for your father to organize all his screw nails? He’s been using margarine containers but their round and waste space. And, they break easily.

If you haven’t guessed, the reader is my mom. I thought if my dad was looking for screw nail organizing advice, then maybe other readers were too.

I know my dad. If he finds stripped, bent, or rusty screws in his collection, he throws them out right away. He has already sorted his screws into margarine containers by type, length, and head type. If you’ve got a collection of screws, nails, bolts, or other types of hardware bits, I suggest you use an inexpensive solution such as margarine or yogurt containers to sort your screws first. Once you see how many and what types you have, then invest in a permanent organizing system.

One of my favourite organizing solutions is the Stanley Deep Bin Professional Organizer. The little yellow compartments can be removed individually and taken to the work area. They can be easily rearranged within the main case and it is easy to see and access the items. The container itself can be stored flat or upright in small, narrow spaces. You can turn it upside down and shake it and the objects stays in their own container. A small parts organizer with adjustable dividers can useful too but you must take the whole container with you when you do a project. It is also a bit more time consuming to re-arrange the contents.

Many people like cabinets of mini-drawers. In most models the drawers can be removed allowing you to take an individual drawer to a work area. However, they can be somewhat difficult to use if you have large fingers. Because it is difficult to see the entire contents of the drawer just by looking in the front, you may forget that you have certain parts or pieces that are stored at the back of the drawers. Personally, I loved the mini-drawers that I had — until the moving company packed it upside down in box and all the small parts fell out all over the place, getting lost in the packing paper and causing me to re-organize everything on arrival at our new home.

Plastic Storage Stacking Bins are another ideal option for hardware storage and organization. These sturdy bins can be stacked on your workbench or be hung on a wall-mounted rail. You can take the one you need to your work area and easily place it back where it belongs. Dividers are available for these bins to help you increase storage space. They have no lids so it is easy to access the parts you need even if you have large hands/fingers. However, because they have no lids, it makes it very tricky to transport your hardware from one job site (e.g. your home) to another (e.g. your cottage).

These are my top three ways to organize small bits of hardware but there are many more. Please feel free to share your favourite organizing system.

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4 Comments for “Reader Question: Screw nail organizing solutions”

  1. posted by Laurie S on

    My man uses empty trail mix containers. They are clear, have lids, are a good size and are square-ish. He writes the type of screw/nail on the lid with sharpie. They line up or stack neatly on his workbench and fit perfectly on the shelves of his tool trailer. :o)

  2. posted by Deb on

    My dad used to glue the metal screw-on caps of glass jars to the (low) ceiling beam in the basement workshop. When he needed screws he could just reach up and twist a jar, take it down and get the screws, then reach up and twist the jar back into the cover.

  3. posted by Brian on

    You know, when I think about the time and effort I’ve put into organizing extra nails and screws, I probably would have been better off just throwing them all away and just buying them as needed. Note: I am talking about buying the little plastic bags of like 4 screws or an extra screw that comes with an Ikea cabinet, not buying a 1 lb box of one particular screw.

  4. posted by Margaret on

    My son saved all the baby food jars. He has each type of screw in a different jar, and they all sit on narrow shelves mounted on the wall behind his workbench. I have saved a bunch of glass yogurt containers from Riviera, and I’ve ordered plastic lids for them. That’s my plan for sorting screws.

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