It’s a sound bet that just about anyone reading this has an area of their home overrun with mismatched screws and nails. When nails and screws take over your home, you’re probably wondering what you can do to keep those little bits and bobs organized and in their place.
To organize and store nails and screws, use containers like Ziplock bags, tackle boxes, and pill bottles for quick and easy storage. You can also use flipped-up Frisbees as sorters while you’re working or build a DIY hardware cabinet if you have a home workshop in need of organization.
This article will take a closer look at some of the best ways to store and organize small fasteners of varying sizes, including screws, nails, nuts, bolts, and more.
Methods To Organize and Store
All too often, we find our fasteners — including nails and screws — thrown into a drawer or jar with fasteners of all other types.
Naturally, doing this only amplifies the frustration you feel when trying to find a specific nail or screw you need to finish a project.
You’re looking for an organizational strategy with a few key features:
- Quick and easy access
- Easy to sort through
- Separates fasteners by shape and size
Fortunately, there’s an entire laundry list of ways to store and organize these easily lost bits.
1. Use Old Pill Bottles
Prescription pill bottles come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing most of them share in common is that, to an extent, they’re all transparent.
This makes them extraordinary ways to store various-sized fasteners, and a simple note with a Sharpie marker will ensure that you never mix up your nails and screws again.
A good way to enhance this storage method is to create shelving for your bottles.
You can do that by using a hole saw with a blade slightly between the diameters of the pill bottles’ bases and lids.
This will allow you to craft a shelf that’ll neatly hold all of your pill bottles firmly in place with labels easily visible for quick access.
2. Use Tackle Boxes for Easy Transport
Many people have old tackle boxes floating around, but did you know that these cases make storing and organizing your fasteners much easier? Tackle boxes are made with storage of small components in mind, making them ideal for DIYers to keep their small hardware separated and in compact spaces.
The best part about tackle boxes as fastener storage is that virtually all tackle boxes come with a handle, invaluable for those of you frequently called into service at friends’ or relatives’ homes.
All you need to do is pack your tackle box with the most commonly used fasteners you have and forget about it.
3. Keep Ziplock Bags in Junk Drawer
Ziplock bags are perfect for the storage of many household items, including nails and screws. This emulates the good old junk drawer effect, where you keep everything in one place and sift through it as necessary.
Some people prefer to keep all their nuts, bolts, and other fasteners in a solution like this because it keeps everything in one place, if not totally organized.
Just keep this bag in a convenient place within your workspace, hold it up to the light to locate specific fasteners, and fish them out as needed.
For those of you still nostalgic for the scavenger hunt aspect of the junk drawer, this is one of the most compact solutions available.
4. Repurpose a Frisbee
An ingenious use of a simple Frisbee is to lay it down with the rim facing up and pour all your nuts and bolts into it.
This allows you to easily sort through various sizes and shapes of fasteners until you find the one you want, without worrying about fasteners flying everywhere.
When you finish working, you can easily just pour these back into the jar or can you normally store fasteners in.
The handiest function of the Frisbee Sorter is that it lets you quickly move around the numerous fasteners with your hand until you find the perfect one for the occasion.
Unlike with a jar or coffee can, you don’t have a thousand other things to wade through for the one you need.
5. Put in Clear Trays
Clear trays — similar to Tupperware containers — are easily and cheaply available at most stores and online, creating places for your fasteners to live.
Some of these come with different meal portioning sections, not to mention lids, which will save a lot of time when you just need that specific screw to get it done.
6. Make a DIY Hardware Cabinet
A DIY cabinet project might be just the thing you need to keep elusive fasteners right where you put them.
This comprehensive article goes over the materials needed and steps you’ll follow to create your own hardware cabinet, complete with dividers for easy labeling of various sizes and shapes.
If you have some extra time to kill, consider undertaking this project to get your own customized workspace cabinet.
7. Use Hardware Cabinets
Hardware cabinets are specifically designed to hold tools and fasteners of every type in a compact and organized way.
These cabinets are typically made of light plastic that makes them easier to transport as needed.
Small compartments of varying sizes are usually standard for the organization and easy access to any hardware fasteners you may need.
Organization and Storage Tips
There’s no simple way to organize a pile of nuts and bolts, or even a pile of nails and screws, for that matter.
The simplest way to get fasteners sorted is to just get started, but there are some handy tricks to make the process easier or simpler for you.
A Little at a Time
This is perhaps the best way to make a huge bucket or pile of fasteners get organized faster. Simply fish out a handful and sort those, then another handful, and so on.
The trick to why this helps is that it makes the task seem smaller and more manageable, rather than the discouragement you’d get by approaching a 5 gallon (18.93 liter) bucket of nuts and bolts piece by piece.
Splitting the task up by sessions is the best way to tackle a seemingly impossible task. Take an hour you’d otherwise veg out on the couch and sort some fasteners.
Within a week or two, you’ll have it all done and without any hair-pulling on your part!
Sorting fasteners is a brain-numbing exercise in determination, but it doesn’t have to be.
Turn on some of your favorite tunes or shows while you mindlessly sort through your nails and screws, and the job will fly by before you know it.
Rather than focusing on how many nails you’ve got left, you can keep yourself trained on your music or show, which will help keep your hands moving and stave off boredom.
Sorting through fasteners can be difficult if you don’t have the various shapes and sizes committed to memory, but this is where reference pieces come in.
Out of all the pieces you have, try to first take one of each type and tape it on a board for easy reference.
Place your containers under each type of fastener, and it’ll help keep everything straight and organized in the future.
Use Temporary Storage
Let’s get real: you don’t know how many of each nail and screw you’ll have by the end of your task, so it’s easiest to use bigger containers like coffee cans as temporary storage and figure out a long-term storage solution at the end of your organization.
Bigger containers mean you don’t have to worry about needing another container before you finish. If you find that pill bottles would be suitable by the end of your sorting, you can transfer the fasteners then.
Use a White Background
White printer paper makes the perfect canvas for you to work on – just spill out a pile of nails, screws, nuts, and bolts, and you’ll find that white makes the perfect contrast to the metallic tones of the fasteners.
A clean white background helps keep your work surface from friction, grime, or rust, making it easy to reference size differences.
Assuming you have pens near your paper, a pen can make an awesome tool to sort through lots of fasteners and separate them for easy organization.
Use Ladder Magnets
Adding a magnet to the top steps of your stepladders can make working in high places easier.
This lets you simply spill your necessary fasteners onto the top step, and they’ll remain glued to that magnet, effectively creating your own fastener holder.
No more lost screws and nails will be an absolute game-changer for any DIYer or craftsperson.
While it’s easy to get disheartened by the mammoth task of sorting nails and screws, there are numerous storage solutions and handy tips to make the task more manageable.
Using white paper, staying entertained, and using appropriately sized containers can help get your fasteners sorted quickly.
I hope this article was helpful. Cheers, tools owners!