Store Your Tools the Right Way!
When storing items in your home, there is always a delicate balance between accessibility and cleanliness. Life seems to expand into all of our available space, and even the largest homes don’t seem so big after a while.
If you’re storing power tools at home, you need to get the most out of your space while also making sure that your precious, expensive tools are stored properly. If you throw your power tools right into the toolbox without taking proper precautions, you could damage your tools.
Storage for power tools can be tricky, but we will demystify how to store power tools and make sure that your tools last a lifetime, or at least close to it!
Things to Consider
Every power tool aficionado knows just how expensive quality power tools can be. They’re not something you want to be replacing left and right! When you’re thinking about how to store your power tools, there are a few important things you need to keep in the front of your mind.
Moisture levels are a constant worry for power tool owners. Ground moisture can affect the ambient moisture in the air, and if not stored properly, will cause your precious power tools to rust. Rust will make your tools unsafe and is an expensive problem to fix. It could lead to having to replace the entire tool instead of just a rusted-out piece.
Depending on how you choose to store your tools, there are a few things you can do to keep your tools from rusting over. If you’re going to store smaller tools in a tool chest, you can use silica gel packs to absorb any moisture that makes its way into the tool storage unit.
Additionally, you can also use anti-rust liners inside each of the drawers of the tool chest. When used in combination with the silica gel packs, they provide a one-two punch of anti-moisture protection.
For larger power tools or anything that won’t fit neatly into tool storage, you can defeat moisture with a tool storage rack or hanging tool holders. The most important thing is to keep them off the ground and in the open air. This is a good way to keep your tools clean and dry and prevent rusting of key parts.
Dust can come in many forms, none of which are good for your tools. As you’re familiar with, the dust has a way of getting absolutely everywhere. Even in well-trafficked areas of your home, dust just finds a way into every little nook and cranny.
Dust can be an even larger problem in a shed or garage — locations that don’t have the same level of traffic and constant movement that the inside of your home does. On top of naturally occurring dust, there’s also dust from the jobs you actually use your tools for.
While not quite the same as dust, metal or wood shavings can get absolutely everywhere while you’re hard at work with your power tools. Dust is bad news for power tools. Dust particles can get into the inner workings of your tool and cause damage to the moving parts, especially larger particles like wood or metal shavings.
Proper cleaning is essential after you use your tools and before putting them back into storage. After you’re done using each tool, wipe it down with a lightly damp cloth to remove excess dirt, dust, and even grease that could be lingering.
For metal tools, you may also want to consider using a type of metal-protecting agent like WD-40 which will greatly extend the useful life of your tools. These cleaning agents work by creating a lubricating coat over your tool that actually repels dust.
Dust is a problem for tools because it acts as a magnet for — you guessed it — moisture. A dusty tool will quickly become a wet tool, which will then become a rusted and broken tool. WD-40 is inexpensive and a great way to protect your tools in storage.
One more note: WD-40 and other metal protectants will make your tools quite slippery to the touch. Be careful handling your tools after you treat them with protective agents, as they can easily slip out of your hand. This can cause damage not only to the tool but also your foot!
Where to Store Your Tools
Where to store your power tools is a different question than how to store your power tools. When you think about where you’re going to store your tools, it’s important to consider ease of use and accessibility, as well as safety and longevity.
For example, storing tools in your garage will probably make them easy to get to, but you might not have enough space to fit all your tools. Space can get tight with your vehicles and other items. Storing them in a shed might give you more space but put them further out of reach when you need them.
If you choose to store your tools in a backyard shed, moisture will be a major concern. Since your shed most likely sits on the lawn, (or possibly turf) the moisture in the ground and grass could quickly rust your tools.
The best kind of shed for tool storage will be ventilated as well as insulated. Ventilation will help air and moisture move through the shed instead of just collecting and pooling up inside. Since your shed is outside, you will also need to worry about temperature control.
Depending on the climate where you live, cold winters and hot summers can be damaging to your power tool collection, although heat is worse than the cold in general. Winters would have to be excessively cold for you to have to worry.
Regardless of the type of tool you’re trying to store, an outdoor shed should be well-insulated to help provide some protection from the elements.
The downside to storing your tools in an outdoor shed is that, generally, they’re designed as nothing more than an extra storage unit. Sheds will not usually contain adequate insulation to properly protect your collection.
You’ll have to install some insulation if your shed doesn’t have any, although you could also consider using a professionally installed heating unit.
Speaking of heating units, you should also consider them when storing power tools in your garage. Garages usually do contain insulation, although they may not be adequately ventilated.
Unfortunately, there might not be a perfect storage space immediately available for your tools. Considering that your power tools were likely an expensive investment, it’s worth it to ensure they are as protected as possible in storage.
An insulated garage with a professionally installed heating unit or space heater can help provide an adequate, temperature-regulated environment to keep your tools safe and protected.
How to Store Power Tools Right
The best way to store your tools is in the original box! After your tools have been properly cleaned, repack them into their original box with a silica gel pack to absorb any moisture. Store the toolboxes in a climate-controlled shed or garage with proper ventilation and you’re good to go!
Of course, storing all your tools in the original box probably isn’t the most efficient way to store your tools. This is especially true if you have a large collection and you need to maximize your space. If lack of space is a concern, you can also consider creating your own workbench and pegboard!
In a few hours’ time, you can create a professional quality workbench to store all your tools inside a garage, shed, or workroom. You won’t need to worry about silica gel as long as the area you build the workbench in is well-ventilated.
Using a pegboard is also a great, space-friendly, alternative to storing your tools in their original boxes.
Avoid Expensive Repairs
By learning how to store power tools properly, you can avoid having them break at critical moments. Storing your tools safely can require some effort and even some financial investment if you need to install heating or ventilation. Still, it’s worth the investment to keep your tools safe and functional.
You’ve already invested in a high-quality set of power tools. It’s worth spending a little more to keep them in top condition. When it comes to how to store your power tools, you have to first choose the location and method of storage, and then properly prepare your tools!
Whether you choose to store them in a garage or shed, in a box, or on a pegboard, taking the time to properly prepare your tools for storage will ensure they stay in great shape for years to come!