Inventory Your Way:
8 Places Begging for Organization
By: Grainger Editorial Staff
Everyone has inventory to manage. On the job it’s a tool crib, workshop or maintenance supply closet. At home you have junk drawers, maybe a kitchen pantry, or a workshop in your garage. And when it’s time to relax? There’s that tackle box again. When it comes to these day-to-day inventories, we all have our own strategies for keeping it all under control. And while there’s no right or wrong way there sure isn’t any shortage of advice out there. Here are some helpful tips for 8 everyday inventories.
1. The Tackle Box
It’s easy for a tackle box to get out of control. After a successful day of fishing, putting everything back in its place is not a top priority. If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. After a little research, we found a lot of folks out there with tackle box issues. Are you one of them?
- Sort everything in your tacklebox by function. This just means store the poppers with the poppers, spinners with the spinners, bobbers with the bobbers, and so forth all by size.
- Lures should be stored separately and by function too. You can buy small utility boxes in a lot of different sizes to fit all kinds of tackle. Take a look and see what’s out there. Small compartment boxes can be used to store small flies and lures.
2. The Toolbox
Your toolbox is your own, personal system. The last thing you need is someone telling you how to organize it. So instead of trying to solve your toolbox organization issues, we thought we would just share a couple handy tips.
- Cut a piece of cardboard to fit the bottom of your toolbox. Cardboard acts as a nice barrier from moisture and can also soak up any grease that finds its way to the bottom of your toolbox. Another plus is cardboard is easy to replace.
- Place a few pieces of chalk into your box. Chalk absorbs moisture and helps prevent rust.
3. The Truck
Do you operate a fleet of service vehicles? If so, you already have your hands full managing several inventories coming and going all day. Everywhere we looked we found the same advice. Standardize, standardize, standardize.
- Keep your inventory of tools and other supplies uniform for your fleet. When all of your vehicles are set up with the same configuration, it’s easier to transfer from one vehicle to the next. This really comes in handy if a vehicle breaks down. Your technician can move easily from his vehicle to a working one without having to figure out where everything is. It’s also a huge time-saver when it comes time to check the inventory.
- Create a map of tools and supplies to post on the inside back door of your vehicles. This is a handy, quick-reference visual for your technicians.
4. The Tool Crib
Centralized tool cribs are common, and often necessary when you have to stock a lot of items. But if your tool crib serves a large space, like a manufacturing floor, space is typically divided up by function.
- Create smaller inventories of tools and supplies for designated areas where they are used the most. This cuts down the back-and-forth traffic from workstations to a centralized tool crib, and improves worker productivity.
5. The Kitchen
Commercial kitchens are more efficient when they are divided into specific zones. Set up specific work areas for prepping, frying, baking, plating and so on.
- Stock each zone with the proper implements so cooks don’t have to leave their stations. This means the prepping area has all the knives needed, the baking area has the stand mixer, and the cooking area has pots and pans.
- The same concepts for a commercial kitchen apply to the home kitchen on a smaller scale. Consider how much walking around you do to collect the ingredients and tools you need to make a meal. Knives can be kept in easy reach on the wall if you have space for a magnetic strip.
6. The Garage
Some people actually use their garages to park their cars. Crazy, right? If this is you, then you know space is a premium. For many people, the garage is also where the workshop is located, maybe a garden potting area, or an outdoor toy chest.
- Whenever possible, get stuff off the floor and use overhead space. Loft or ceiling storage racks work great for getting stuff off the floor. You’ll be amazed at how much more room you actually have in your garage.
- Take advantage of the walls too. Now that you have some dedicated workspace in your garage, maximize your wall space. You know that metal knife holder you’re using in your kitchen? If you put another one (or several) on the wall over your work area, they make great tool holders and are great for small items too. It’s a lot easier to find a drill bit right on the wall than it is to search for it in a box.
7. The Pantry
Your pantry inventory changes throughout the year, with different menus, seasonal foods and so forth. So whether you’re organizing a pantry for a commercial kitchen or one at home, there’s a lot of great advice out there on how to do it more efficiently.
- Store stuff you don’t use that much up high.
- Use mesh baskets whenever possible so you can see what you have without having to move other stuff out of the way.
- If you use ingredient labels for canisters, use chalk labels so you can change them whenever you want.
- You can store small appliances you don’t use all that often in your pantry to free up space in your cabinets.
- Take advantage of pantry doors to store canned goods and other small items if space allows you to close them.
8. The Workshop
Just like the garage, the first step to getting your workshop organized is getting everything off the floor. There's bound to be stuff you don't use very often, but still want to keep on hand. Get it all out of the way with sturdy, rubber bins that you can label. If you haven't already done it, you'll need to create shelving. Whether against the wall, or hanging from the ceiling, shelving can be done easily and inexpensively.
- Glue the top of some clear glass jars to the bottom of your workshop shelves to store different sized fasteners.
- Have any old ice cube trays laying around? They make great storage in drawers for nuts and bolts and other fasteners too.
- If your workshop is in a garage or area where there are exposed studs you can fit dowel rods between the studs to hang twine, rope, and tools.
These are just a few ideas we found, but we’re sure you have a lot of great ideas too. Share your tips on organization and show off your workshops and toolboxes on social using the #inventorymyway.
The information contained in this publication is intended for general information purposes. No representation is made that the information or references are complete or remain current. Click here for Grainger's full legal disclaimer.