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Building Your First Garage Tool Box

Building Your First Garage Tool Box

There comes a point in a DIYer’s life when it is time to put down some wrenching roots in the form of a garage tool box. You may have walked into a friend’s garage or workshop and been in awe of a tool box the size of a tractor trailer. But even owners of serious tool investments had to start somewhere building their collection. Here’s how to build a tool box matched to your garage and your project needs.

Consider The Space

Before you start to build your own tool box you need to take stock of your situation. Your available garage space is going to guide your tool box options. Take time to measure the spaces you are considering to place a tool box, including overhead height limitations. Some tool boxes have hinged lids so you need to account for overhead space if you plan on opening it. If you are planning on placing the tool box on a table or shelf, make sure it is well reinforced to handle the weight of a fully loaded box. 

Now that you know what kind of space you have available, let’s look at how to build a tool box that suits your needs.

Workbench Top Tool BoxSmall tool box

Starting small is perfectly fine. A good starting point can be a small portable tool box with drawers. It fits easily on a shelf or a work bench while giving your tools a home base. This is a great step between a portable tool kit and a dedicated garage tool box because it can still be picked up and taken along for a mobile repair. 

When the time comes to grow your storage space a great next step is adding a rolling bottom base cabinet and simply dropping your current portable tool box on top.

Rolling Cart Tool Box

Sometimes a good starter garage tool box is a rolling cart. This is especially true if you need to tuck your tools away in a corner when not in use or if your workspace isn’t always in the same place. If you find yourself working in the driveway one day and in the garage the next day, having a rolling tool cart makes sense. The key here is flexibility and mobility. Nice big casters make for easy rolling on uneven surfaces and across expansion joints. Most rolling tool carts are open at the bottom making a great place to store bulky items like jack stands or work lights and cords. The top doubles as a workbench where you can lay out components and stage tools. Depending on the layout there may be an open storage space under a hinged top, which is great for storing sockets and wrenches. There will likely only be three or four drawers, so you will need to be thoughtful about what tools you need for your projects. But the best part about a rolling cart is that it is always handy no matter how big your tool collection. Even if you graduate to a monster technician box, a rolling cart is the perfect portable job organizer.

Stacked Chest Tool Box

If you have been collecting tools for years you may have already amassed quite a stack of tool bags, molded cases, tool rolls, and more filled with tools. If it is time for your nomadic tool collection to find a home, a stacked tool chest may be just the thing. This is the classic two-piece setup most people picture when you think of a mechanic’s shop. A rolling bottom cabinet with drawers with a separate tool chest on top are nearly universal. The key with this combination is drawer space, lots and lots of drawer space. This lets you split out all those tools into their own spot so you don’t have to dig through them anymore. 

Hybrid Tool BoxMilwaukee Packout tool box

For some people there will always be the need to take your tools on the road. Luckily Milwaukee’s PACKOUT system lets you build a tool box kit that is perfectly suited to your needs at home or on the go. Pick up a three drawer toolbox and a wall mount for the perfect hybrid home-travel tool box. The PACKOUT modular storage system work like building blocks allowing you to create an entire wall of tool storage that is ready to go when necessary.

Get Organized

No matter which tool box you choose you will want to keep things orderly. Organization will come down to your own preferences, but with your new found tool storage space it is recommended to label the drawers to cut down on search time. You can also buy or build tool box drawer organizers to help keep things in their place.

Check out all the tools available on NAPAOnline, or trust one of our 17,000 NAPA Auto Care locations for routine maintenance and repairs. For more information how to build your first garage tool box, chat with a knowledgeable expert at your local NAPA Auto Parts store.

Photo courtesy of Flickr.

Brian Medford View All

With an automotive writing career spanning over two decades, Brian has a passion for sharing the automotive lifestyle. An avid DIYer he can usually be found working on one of his many project cars. His current collection includes a 1969 Olds Delta 88 convertible and a slant-6 powered 1975 Plymouth Duster.

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