Keep your tools handy and organized with the right storage options
There are very few jobs that require only a single tool. Normally, undertaking a home improvement project may call for a selection that includes such items as a hammer, tape measure, nails, screwdriver, fasteners, pencil and chalk line, among other things. You can waste valuable time making countless trips back and forth to your toolbox, or you can make things easier by using a tool bag, pouch or belt. Strapping on one of these handy devices is like having an assistant who knows exactly what you need at the precise moment you need it. Consider the following questions to get a better handle on which type of storage accessory will benefit you most:
Bags, Pouches, Belts and Other Storage Devices
With so many different types of tool belts and holders available, it is important to consider what your primary needs are and how frequently you'll use the device. In most cases, you'll probably end up with a combination of products, such as a belt designed to accommodate several pouches and separate holders for a hammer, flashlight, tape measure and more. If you're using a belt, make sure to set it up so that it positions tools in the most convenient way. Keep frequently used items such as hammers, pencils and wrenches on the same side as your dominant hand and helper tools and fasteners, such as chisels and nails, on the opposite side.
Bags: Tool bags are lighter and easier to carry around than conventional toolboxes. With their soft sides and flexibility, they can also fit into smaller, more irregularly shaped spaces. Bags often feature center sections that provide ample space for larger tools and side pockets and pouches for holding small tools, nails, screws and other items. Small bags are perfect for a number of different applications, whether you're building a tree house in the back yard or need a way to keep network administration tools handy when you're on the go.
Pouches: Pouches, like bags, are often designed to meet the needs of a specific contractor, such as a plumber or an electrician. There are, however, also a number that have been designed with both frequent and occasional do-it-yourselfers in mind. Pouches may be anchored, or fixed in place, or moveable. Anchored pouches are often worn in the front while moveable pouches can be worn off to the side or back. Pouches are available with a wide range of pockets, running anywhere from a small four-pocket pouch to one with eighteen or more. Pockets may be small for holding nails and fasteners or large for holding drills and other tools. Single-pocket pouches clip onto belts and are ideal for holding nails and small tools.
Belts: Storage belts, also called tool belts or utility belts, provide plenty of room for a host of pockets. They can also hold pouches and allow the use of clip-on holders. Belts can provide much-needed back support to help reduce fatigue. They range from simple devices with a few pockets to versatile configurations that feature several pouches, small tool pockets, hammer loops, sleeves for holding crowbars, flashlights or other tools and more. Modular tool belts allow you to rearrange and customize belts every time you work. Avoid leaving tools in your belt after you're done working, since a fully loaded belt may stretch over time, causing it to crack or wear out more quickly.
Other Devices: There are a number of other storage devices that will come in handy, some of which can be used individually and some of which are used in tandem with other items, such as a belt or suspenders. Aprons and tool holders are amongst the most commonly used. The chart below describes various storage devices, their uses and some of their features.
|Storage Device||Uses and Features|
|Cell Phone Holder||
|Pen and Pencil Holder||
|Tape Measure Holder||
|Utility Knife Sheath||
Reinforced Corners: Tools and fasteners often have pointy ends, and pointy ends can easily puncture clothing. Look for belts, pouches and bags that feature reinforced corners to avoid rips and tears.
Suspenders: Tool belts and other storage systems can become quite heavy when fully loaded with various tools and accessories. Specially made suspenders help distribute the weight more evenly, preventing stress on your back and keeping you more comfortable so you can work for longer periods of time. Some suspenders even come with pockets and pouches of their own.
Left-Handed Accommodation: If you're a southpaw, make sure the belt you purchase allows you to adjust pouches and other holders to positions better suited to your needs.
Materials: When it comes to tool belts and pouches, leather is a popular material. Oil-tan, top-grain, suede and saddle leather are all frequently used. Leather is both durable and resistant to tears and punctures. Nylon and synthetic materials are also used for belts, bags and pouches.
Pick up all the tools, nails and fasteners you need to completely outfit your belt, bag or pouch.