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Organizing in 10-Minute Blocks: Household Toolbox

Somewhere in most homes there is a place where you store your household tools. These are usually the tools you keep handy for those easy jobs like tightening a screw or hanging a picture. I keep mine in a household toolbox.

If you are someone who does a lot of repairs or enjoys woodworking you will probably have a serious stash of tools somewhere else as well. This would most likely not be in your main living area.

I store my toolbox on a shelf in my laundry room. Once a year when I deep clean and reorganize my laundry room I come across it. So, once a year I clean out and reorganize that toolbox.

I looked inside my toolbox and indeed, it is a mess!

Disorganized household toolbox

It is important for me to understand how I let this happen.

I am not the only person who uses my household toolbox, and it seems like when something is pulled out to use, when the job is complete, the tool is just dropped in the toolbox willy-nilly. Or if there are leftover bits from a project like hanging pictures or putting up a shelf, the leftover bits of hardware are just dropped in the toolbox.

It has been a full year since the toolbox has been organized but I am confident that I can do this task in 10 minutes!

Organizing tool: deck of cards

I pulled out the Household Tools card from my deck of Organize Your Home 10 Minutes at a Time. I set my timer for 10 minutes.

  1. Look inside the household tool kit, box, or tool carrier.
  2. Remove any trash and anything that doesn’t belong.
  3. Sort any loose small items by category.
  4. Put loose items in baggies or small containers, giving each category its own bag or container.
  5. Put the tools back in the carrier, grouped by type (all screwdrivers together, hammers, drill bits, etc.)

Group products by function

As I removed the items from the household toolbox, I grouped all of the items by function. There was a pile of pliers, screwdrivers, command hook products, a couple of hammers, and several single items like a tape measure and a small level.

Plus I also had a few tools that really belonged in the shed house and a few items that I knew I would never use that I could donate. I had some dried-up putty and glue along with other items that went into the trash.

sorting the household toolbox

Put everything back

I got everything back in the toolbox right at the 10-minute mark.

Then I returned the toolbox to the shelf in my laundry room.

The household toolbox is now organized, and I don’t have to dig through items to find the screwdriver that I am looking for.

household toolbox

In Summary:

This reorganization of the toolbox was done in 10-minutes. I am hoping that the well-organized toolbox will encourage anyone else using it to put items away more carefully.

It is easy for any area to become cluttered. It is helpful to take a moment to analyze why this clutter accumulated or why the area got disorganized. But once the clutter begins to annoy you, realize that it only takes a short amount of time to declutter and reorganize. Taking 10 minutes or less will affect how you feel when you are working in this area.

A challenge!

I challenge you to look around and find one area that you could declutter in 10 minutes or less. Then just do it! Just for fun send us pictures of your project on our Facebook page Ask the Organizers Diane and Jonda. You will feel so much better when you see the organized space you have created!

If you are struggling with developing  an organizational plan or just want some help or accountability in following through with the plan, join Diane Quintana and me in our Clear Space for You virtual support group.

Jonda S. Beattie, Professional Organizer owner of Time Space Organization, and co-owner of Release, Repurpose, Reorganize. She is based in the Metro-Atlanta area. As presenter, author of four books as well as a retired special education teacher she uses her listening skills, problem solving skills, knowledge of different learning techniques, ADHD specialty, and paper management skills to help clients.



  • How fun to see your toolbox and the method you used to re-organize it! Since my husband has a woodworking background, he is the keeper of most of our tools. And he has A LOT of tools, which he keeps organized. I have a few of my own, stored in a special drawer. But mostly, when something needs fixing or adjusting, I ask Steve for help. I am so grateful that he knows how to fix things and has just about every possible tool needed. While he organizes his tools, I know he periodically goes through things to edit and reorganize. Because just like other areas, maintenance is part of staying organized.

  • Great job! We are DIYers, so we have a closet in the basement that stores all our tools. We used a mounted metal pegboard to hold all of them. Now everything has a home, and we do not have a toolbox. It works great for my husband and me. My kids also know where things go on this pegboard because each tool has a hook. It took some time to create this, but it was worth it. We were able to remove things from the floor in this narrow walk-in closet which created more space for us to move around.

  • Seana+Turner says:

    That’s a great overview of how you can use the deck of cards to tackle small projects around your space. What a difference that little big of effort made. Next time you reach for the toolbox, everything will be easy to access and use. 🙂

  • Great post! I too keep my tools n my laundry room. If I kept these things in the garage (aka man cave) I would never find what I need, when I need it. I also have some hardware that I keep in a box with little drawers and it works well for keeping small things organized. I love the 10 minute idea, which I use often for decluttering around the house. Now I really need to go clean that out!

  • My husband’s toolbox is a scary mess and I’m sure it would take longer than 10 minutes to sort out, but you’ve inspired me to realize that I can help, which will probably make the job seem a bit less intimidating!

  • Julie+Bestry says:

    For some reason, my parents sent me off to college with a toolbox; I’m not sure what they thought I’d need tools (in a big, beige toolbox much like yours, but after freshman year, it went into the basement until well after grad school, when I dutifully moved it to my each of my subsequent apartments, and eventually repurposed it as a First Aid kit. I’m still a renter have maintenance people (and am all thumbs), so my not-so-junky junk drawer holds, among other things, my tools: 4 screwdrivers, one hammer, a Leatherman-type tool, and a box cutter. Eventually, I added a small, cordless electric drill/screwdriver I thought I’d use professionally…and never did. The drawer almost never needs tidying because I never use them, but if I did, I’d follow your steps exactly.

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