Quick note: For now we just have lots of rain and a few wind gusts thanks to Hurricane Sandy, but things are supposed to get a bit rougher later today and tomorrow so we expect to be without power for a while (although we’ll post remotely whenever we can). We hope everyone else is staying safe and dry!
Since pegboards are my new favorite thing, you knew I was bound to write another basement organization post that mentions them (along with some other methods to contain/control things like screws and nails) right?
Here’s how I brought some sexy back to the basement (which I recently started to clean up after a yard sale, a bagster pickup, and some yard tool organization).
Next up on the organization to-do list were my regular tools. We actually made the decision to relocate most of our tools to the basement after years of being weirdos who stored them in our kitchen drawers. We’ll still keep duplicates of a few popular items – like hammers, nails, and caulk – in our sunroom (where everything’s been living most recently) but having the rest of our arsenal neatly hung/stored in one place (aka: the basement workshop) definitely outweighs the extra trouble of walking down to the basement now and then to get a few things.
So we began this phase of basement org by trucking everything down (i.e. drawers, toolbox, etc) to the basement so I could begin sorting. Forgive the sucky pictures. Sherry was using the camera for another project so I was stuck taking phone pics.
First I spread everything out on the work table to see what I had and how I might categorize everything.
Going through everything was kind of a weird, sentimental walk down memory lane. It was just so funny to see old items that were hanging around after projects from the past, like our old kitchen knobs and the clothespin chandelier that we made.
How could we forget those eyeball-ish kitchen knobs?
I also found tools with some memories behind them. Like the Boy Scout pocket knife passed down from my Papa (sidebar: I was the first in the line of my male cousins on my mom’s side NOT to become an Eagle Scout. I started and stopped right at Cub Scout. #blacksheep). And there was the first set of screwdrivers that my dad gave me back in high school (at the time I’m sure I accepted them with some sort of angsty “when will I ever use these stupid things??” type of look).
My dad actually gave me those screwdrivers along with the toolbox below, which traveled with me to college and even to New York – although for most of its lifespan it has held a measly three or four tools. But one reason I’ve kept it is because my dad taped a picture of his family inside. The couple on the right is my grandfather Emanuel and his second wife Helen. His first (my dad’s mom) died when my dad was young. She’s the Clara that our bean is named after.
But enough sentimental stuff. On to the pegboard! After a couple of hours (and a trip to Home Depot to buy a set of pegboard hooks) my tools finally looked like they always should have: orderly and ready to go.
Here’s a couple of closer shots for ya, in case you’re like me and enjoy staring at pegboards full of tools for extended periods of time.
This actually isn’t everything. We decided to keep paint & craft supplies (i.e. glue gun, staple gun, etc) upstairs in the sunroom along with a few other essentials (like picture nails and anchors, along with a hammer and caulk) since we tend to use them more in the house than in the workshop. And I stashed a lot of my project-specific tools in the toolbox (finally it’s getting use!) so I know that’s where to go when I need plumbing or electrical supplies.
I could stare at those pegboards all day. But then I wouldn’t get any actual work done. And sadly I still had this crazy drawer full of screws, nails, and other hardware that was crying out for help.
So I used a similar process to sort them. First I spread everything out on the table and started grouping similar items. Then those similar items went into mason jars together.
I actually had a bunch of mason jars sitting around from a failed project Sherry tried taking on. She was going to repackage our vacation time capsules into smaller jars… but realized too late that the stout new jars that she bought obscured the items inside too much (so taller mason jars like the ones we used originally actually work best). So the too-short jars got passed down to me after she had already spray painted the silver tops a cool midnight blue color. Lucky me.
But Sherry’s pint-sized hand-me-downs weren’t quite enough for my sprawling assortment of screws, so I did have to invest in some (even smaller) half-pint jars myself (from JoAnn with a 50% coupon).
Here’s everything once it had found a jar to call home. Don’t mind the pieces of paper sticking out of them. Those were labels from the hardware packaging that I hung on to so I could remember what was what (since I planned to hand-write my own labels later).
Once everything was labeled and canned, I stuck them up on this shelf that the previous owner had built in above the work surface (don’t mind the edge that looks like it was once on fire – we plan to stain it all soon).
The shelf spacing is a bit much for these tiny cans, but it’s not worth rebuilding the shelves or anything, so I’m just happy they’re here to house my collection.
As for the labels, I just bought some 1.5 x 1.5″ square Avery labels at Staples for a few bucks and hand wrote the info on the front. I debated printing them on the computer to make them look slightly fancier, but I figured that was a system I’d never keep up with.
Eventually I hope to take these two projects a step further by painting the pegboards and staining the shelf as I mentioned (along with some other items in the room like the built-in work table). We think that’ll really help pull things together and make it look a little more workshop-swanky as opposed to old-ignored-basement. I don’t think I’m going to go too over-the-top with things in the basement just because I like to be realistic about what’s worth my time and what’s easiest to maintain over time. Which is why I’ve decided to pass on the idea of outlining my tools on the pegboard, since I feel like it’ll just create frustration when I have to add or subtract a tool and don’t want to repaint the whole thing. But who knows, I could change my tune someday (Sherry mentioned chalk outlines since those are easily changed, but we don’t want chalk dust all over our stuff so we later both dismissed that option).
I was just grateful that the drawers I was bringing back upstairs to the sunroom were looking much more clutter free. So these are the items we kept upstairs since we think we’ll use them more up there while the rest makes more sense to keep together in the workshop.
And while my newly organized tools and hardware supply was making me quite confident about how the basement was shaping up, let us be reminded that I still have this to deal with: the wall o’ paint, spray paint, and other buckets. But that’s a project for another day…
Okay, so who has a pegboard obsession? Is anyone else planning to paint and stain things in the basement for a little more of a finished look? Do you have a hard time figuring out which tools should stay out in the garage, basement, or attic and which ones should be inside and easy to grab? I gotta admit that once we spent a few minutes thinking about what we use upstairs vs. what we use in the workshop it really wasn’t too tough to commit to keeping stuff in the areas that make the most sense.
Psst – We finally have our apple picking photos up on Young House Life (spoiler alert: Clara’s life was made when she got to be a worm, well, a caterpillar).
Katy @ The Non-Consumer Advocate says
Wow, you’re the Julia Child of home improvement supplies! But why did you not take a Sharpie and draw around each tool?
I don’t think I’m going to go too over-the-top with things in the basement just because I like to be realistic about what’s worth my time and what’s easiest to maintain over time. Which is why I’ve decided to pass on the idea of outlining my tools on the pegboard, since I feel like it’ll just create frustration when I have to add or subtract a tool and don’t want to repaint the whole thing. But who knows, I could change my tune someday (Sherry mentioned chalk outlines since those are easily changed, but we don’t want chalk dust all over our stuff so we later both dismissed that option).
Katy @ The Non-Consumer Advocate says
And I just posted this blog piece on my husband Facebook wall. ;-)
Haha, thanks Katy!
I agree with Katy. Once you remove a lot of tools for a major project, you’ll wish you’d outlined their locations as you try to re-figure your original arrangement. Just sayin’…
We’re definitely open to adjusting how we do things as we go along! A few others mentioned that we have these photos for reference, so that will definitely be helpful (and the pegs will all still be in place, so pegs + a pic should make it pretty straightforward). If not, we can always outline things down the line! Just didn’t want to jump the gun (especially since my birthday is coming and I’m hoping for a few new tools- haha!).
How about using a pencil (6B) for outlining? If you later change the constellation of your tools you can simply erase it with an eraser (my favorite has always been the Staedtler Mars Plastic white one).
Ooh that’s another idea!
Or maybe just take a photo of your pegboard from time to time and refer to it when it’s time to clean up. That’s what I do when we travel with our kids’ toys. I’ll just take a photo of all the toys right before we leave the house, so we can just look at it to remind ourselves what we need to locate before checking out of the hotel.
print a picture of it full for reference, laminate it and it will last forever
[email protected] says
I love pegboards! Can you believe we don’t have them here in Spain? Insane!
[email protected] says
So jealous of your incredibly well-organized basement! That was a lot of work. I spent the weekend reorganizing an out of control credenza…
I’m keeping a good thought for you guys, and all my other RL/blogosphere people in the path of this monster.
Oh I love peg boards! Maybe this will motivate my husband and me to get our garage organized!
Mona O | Renters in Love says
Wow, that’s really pretty and yet still masculine. :)
I’m sure you’ve got it covered but be sure to stay safe from Sandy. You guys are the only people I “know” out there so I was a little worried.
Thanks Mona! We’re hunkering down and hopefully it’ll all pass by Wednesday. Everyone else on the coast – you stay safe too! My mom said she was driving to work today as usual (she lives in NY) and I’m all worried.
Anele @ Success Along the Weigh says
Claaaaassic Peeeeeg! One of my all time favorites and always call it Trrgit.
I love how sentimental you are, I think that’s important. It’s so funny the things you think as a kid you’ll never need/use and it turns out to be the things you use the most. That space is lookin’ mighty spiffy, if you’d like to head on over and do our place next, I wouldn’t be mad atcha!
Emma (Broke Ass Home) says
We’re doing the same thing over at our house so you KNOW I’m on a pegboard spree right now. All of a sudden, everything can be pegboard. Mud room? Peg board. Craft Room? Peg Board. Kitchen? Peg Board. I’m trying to restrain myself, but they’re so practical!
Hahah, totally! That’s John’s new theory too!
Robin @ our semi organic life says
If Sandy gets bad tonight you can double that newly cleaned space as a storm shelter! lol
Eeks! Hope it doesn’t get that bad!
Jess @ Little House. Big Heart. says
Wow! That look so much better. Of course, we’ve tried to organize our garage like that. It stayed perfect until the first project, and since then it’s been a disaster again!
We tore down an old deck this weekend and found an old hot tub underneath! http://littlehousebigheart.com/2012/10/29/the-structure-with-the-black-lagoon/
Good luck with, Sandy!
Eeeeeeeekkkkksss! What a crazy discovery!
Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage says
Loving it so far! Those mason jars make me swoon personally. Okay I have an idea on the outline/chalk dilemma. They make chalk markers which don’t have any dust, erase completely when you get them wet, but won’t rub off. You could paint your pegboard in chalk paint. Then use the chalk markers which come in white or colors. Then if you need to redo you would just have to wash with water and redraw. :) No dust. No rubbing off. Hmmm….you can tell I am in love with chalk markers right? I use them for our family chalkboard calendar so the kiddos don’t inadvertently erase the events! :) Just an idea if you choose to go there. :)
Haha, I actually heard about those but then when I looked into them some more people said they could stain chalkboards if they’re not erased regularly, so I worried I’d leave it up there for a while and it would be the same as using a marker since it would stain!
Angie @ The Country Chic Cottage says
Hmmm…never had a problem with staining but I erase once a month. The true test will be when I change my 2012 to 2013 I guess. ;)
Oh yeah, keep us posted!
I was wondering if you would outline the tools to help you remember where they go, but then I realized that you have a photo. Just print it out and post it near the board! Great job! So neat and organized!
The problem with outlining them is if you add a tool, and have to reorganize everything. Solution: paint the pegboard with chalkboard paint, and outline in chalk!
Oh yes, but check out the post… we didn’t want to get chalk on everything. And we heard that chalk markers can stain when left on too long, so they’re just like regular markers…
I’m pretty much obsessed with organization, so those pegboard shots are eye candy to me!
An option to remember where all of the tools sit might be to take a photo of the pegboard as you like it and tack up that photo in a corner — that way you can reference (roughly) where tools go if you have to take off several. Stay dry and safe as Sandy approaches!!
Favorite SNL skit of all time! I recently used a pegboard in our hallway to store our ironing board and other such laundry-related materials. Looking good so far.
Stay safe (we’re hunkered down for the storm as well, except much closer to the shore than you all are)!
Chelsea @ Riding Escalators says
Nice! This looks great! I actually was doing the exact same thing over the weekend. Problem here is that the owner before us was apparently REALLY tall. He hung the pegboard overtop of the work bench, but I’m short enough that when I lean over the bench, I can only reach the lower quarter of the pegboard! So I was trying to figure out how to make that pegboard more useable… no dice. I’ll just have to use a step stool until I figure out something better!
Stay safe! We’re hunkered down and hanging on just NE of DC!
You stay safe too!!
Ali Miller says
Go John, go! I find that my own “Dude Get On That Already” challenges get done more often when my tools are organized and easy to find. Tools put away means more space to work, also!
Katie @ Domestiphobia.net says
Ugh. Now I suppose I have to get my husband some pegboards for the garage. I did this with one that was already in the garden shed for gardening tools, but this looks incredibly practical for other tools, too. I’m just not sure how I’ll get a giant pegboard home in our tiny car! (Maybe cut into pieces?)
Or strapped to the roof?
Good job, John! Those pegboards really appeal to my CDO (that’s OCD but with the letters in alphabetical order like they should be)! I’ll be thinking of your family during the next few days of bad weather. We’ve been having some pretty strange weather in South Africa too. Stay safe! x
Megan @ Rappsody in Rooms says
Wow. You have inspired me to make places that I don’t think need to be pretty…well pretty! I would never have thought of making a place like that look so nice. Thanks for the inspiration!
We love our chalk pens. They work on a chalkboard, but then are more of a wet-erase option – they don’t smudge when you touch them and don’t leave the chalk dust. Just a wet washcloth wipes the chalk pen clean. Check them out – http://www.chalkink.com. Might be a good option for your peg boards.
They sound awesome! I have read if you don’t erase them they can stain after a while, do you have that problem?
If you “prep” your painted chalkboard (use regular white chalk all over the chalkboard/pegboard that you painted and then wash it completely off) you shouldn’t have the staining issue. I like to use 3 coats of the chalkboard paint to also help with that issue. Works like a charm for us.
Good to know!
Tamrah Ryan says
It’s looking great! My husband keeps telling me he needs to start organizing his “dad cave” (aka, a little nook in the basement, tucked away behind the furnace area). There’s a workbench and peg boards from the previous owner, as well as a big ol’ mess of tools, etc. piled all over the place (that was our addition when we moved in. haha.). My hubby is also on the hunt for some cool “man decor” for his space (an old model sailboat, vintage Beatles memorabilia, etc). Maybe the extra shelf space could hold some cool man-decor? Ya know, something that makes you smile when you’re sawing away down there.
Stay safe these next few days!!
Hhaha, “dad cave” and “man-decor” = hilarious and awesome. Love the idea.
Amanda B says
I love when everything fits together so neatly! Wanted to share one workplace trick that also works at home… I work in manufacturing, and we organize tool boards like this for different jobs.
One way we keep it organized is to print out a photo of the board with all the tools in place. That way, if you get into a DIY frenzy and have 10 tools down at once, you don’t have to re-solve the puzzle to see where they all fit. You can just refer to the photo.
Bonus, it’s easy to snap/print a new photo if you change up the layout or add new tools. We keep the photo (either laminated or in a sheet protector) up on the wall next to the board, or you could stash it in a drawer nearby. Maybe this will be useful for you! Keep up the great work, and stay safe in the storm!
Love that tip!
Laura @ Chaotic Domestic says
The basement looks great. I love the mason jars for hardware storage. Great organization post!
Gabriella @ Our Life In Action says
Love it – everything in its place and a place for everything. :-)
We’re going to get slammed by the storm as well, now we are just waiting as it comes up the coast. You guys stay safe and dry.
For once you’re doing something that rings familiar! My husband is rebuilding our deck (not nearly as much of a project as John’s amazeballs deck design and buildout) and he is using composite wood, but somehow also trying to hide the screws. For a few of the holes he is saving the composite drill shavings to make a plug to hide the screws with.
He was all looking in my kitchen the other day for a Dixie cup to put the shavings in, and I waited and listened to what he really wanted, and my only answer was “Mason jar! Here, we have lots.”
My canning jar obsession apparently knows few bounds.
Stay dry, guys.
Haha, thank Shani!
I am so jealous of all that space.
We really struggle to keep on top of all our DIY supplies and 1/2 finished projects as we only have our boxroom to store them in. It is probably even more chaotic than your basement as it is used to store everything that doesn’t have a home!!http://madeinmorningside.blogspot.co.uk/2012/06/our-hidden-shame.html
Any tips for staying organised in a small space?
Hope your ok in the storm. xox
Hmm, maybe try labeling as many things as possible or color coordinating bins (red for tools, green for christmas stuff, etc). Or try clean bins so you can see inside?
Crystal @ 29 Rue House says
Here’s to hoping neither of us (or anyone else for that matter) loses power!
We’re slowly chipping away on our own workshop/garage diaster! I can definitely see pegboards in our future. Doesn’t look like you need the space yet but maybe when you do you could kreg jig another shelf in between the two with the most distance – then your smaller jars would all fit in there and you’d have another blank shelf.
That’s a good idea!
I love the pegboard and would like to do something like that in our basement but my husband has this strange aversion to hanging anything on the cement walls. He things that anything hung will cause holes for water to come through (our basement walls are at least a foot thick and minimal cracks).
How about using glossy paint and “old fashioned” wet erase markers (like used during college for presentations on overhead projectors). Those will wash off with water and don’t stain unless heated.
That’s a fun idea!
[email protected] says
Things are looking good! I cleaned out our garage a few weekends ago and used a bunch of those begs as well! http://www.attemptsatdomestication.com/garage-cleanup/
I’m really glad I cleaned it when I did, because we have my car parked there now to protect it from flying debris while Sandy is here!
Smart! Say safe!
Our new house came with a pegboard in the garage. I want to put all the tools on it but the fiance wants to keep them all in the toolbox so they’ll be easier to tote around. How do you deal with this? A second set of tools?
We seriously never use our toolbox, so it makes more sense to put our tools out where we can see them. But if your fiance uses a toolbox to tote them around, that makes sense for him!
The basement looks awesome, John!
We’re prepared for the storm, too here in CT. Hope you fare it will little to no damage! Stay safe, Petersiks!
The target lady is one of my favorite SNL characters. My most recent favorite one that at first was weird but now I love it is Stefan on Weekend Update. It cracks me up. OH and the basement looks great! It’s always nice to get organized. I wish we were at the painting and organizing point but we’re more at the “we just ripped our staircase out and opened two walls” point.
No more open concept, open reality!
Looks great!! Makes me want such an organized workspace!
Lynn @ Our Useful Hands says
Yeah thanks for the SNL clip. How I’ve never seen that – I don’t know! Classic Lynn… I love your nails in a jar idea. This space is coming along veddy veddy nicely. Q: is that insulation showing through the overhead beams and if so, are you planning on covering it up?
My best, Lynn
Yes, we’d love to tackle that eventually… although it’ll be a challenge since there are ducts and pipes that jut out in certain places, so it’s not as simple as hanging drywall or beadboard. We’ll have to see where we end up!
You guys even make organizing fun! Want to come to my house next?
Stay safe these next few days…we’ll understand if you aren’t as on the ball as you normally are. No power is kind of a good excuse.
I am having an orga…nizational moment over those labeled mason jars. :-) (Did you see the 30 Rock recently when Liz realizes her biggest turn on in life is organizing and color coding her planner?)
If only I could get my better half to whip our basment in shape. It’s a total disaster/the dirty little secret in our house, and I dream of the day it looks 1/2 as good as this!
Hahahahah! Yes. That 30Rock was hilarious!
Aww that pegboard has got me all hot and bothered. At one point I thought you were going to do that thing where you drill the lid of the mason jar through the shelf above – but I can imagine this working better for you because you can easily tote the whole jar upstairs for a project. If you ever run out of space you could add extra shelves.
PS. I hope Sandy is kind to you!
you inspired me to clean up my hubbys workshop as a surprise for him! ;-)
That’s so sweet!
Any chance you could start to include an SNL clip with every YHL post? (kidding…kind of!)
Very informative post…thanks for including so many behind-the-scenes thoughts on your decision making
Thanks Molly! Glad to help! Also, I’d love a new one-SNL-video-per-post rule.
We have done the same thing with mason jars however, we drilled a screw through the lid into the bottom side of the shelf. When you want something out of the jar, simply unscrew the jar. By doing this, you don’t run the risk of them falling off of the shelf and breaking. Hope that makes sense. :)
I like that idea a lot! I just realized we like to bring the container upstairs sometimes (so having the lid with it makes it easier to move the whole thing). Who knows where we’ll end up though!
Doug M says
This is what my grandfather did in his workshop 50 years ago. The jars are mounted at an angle, and you unscrew them as needed. It works great.
Nice job with the jars. Looks like you’re getting into canning! My Dad had a board that he attached to the exposed beams on the ceiling. Then he would nail the lids to the board and screw the jars into the lids. He would just twist them on and off. You could see what was in them from below. I guess it wouldn’t work for a short person, but it was kid friendly because I couldn’t reach them.
Sending good vibes your way as you get ready for Sandy aka Frankenstorm!
I’m in love with the shelf full of screws. So neat and orderly…..ahhh. I keep scrolling back up to look at it.
And…you have extra space for more jars….because you know eventually you will end up needing some that you don’t have.
Lauren @ muchadoaboutsomethin.blogspot.com says
I LOVE the Target lady! Some of our friends had an SNL themed party a year ago and of COURSE I went as the Target lady. Red vest, nametag and 10 candles…oh yeah. :)
Isn’t it a wonderful thing when an organized pegboard makes you say “Wow!” out loud :)
Love the nails and screws in the jars –
is Sherry gonna paint the new lids blue for you?
I keep a measuring tape in the kitchen drawer and I have a little rolling cart that holds all of my household tools/drill that I keep in the third bedroom – which is my craft room where I put up a whole wall of shelving to hold all of my crafting supplies.
She has offered to paint them blue or “another color of my choice.” Although for now the silver is fun too (silver + navy = manly, right?). Haha!
My husband and I organized our basement storage room and tool areas this weekend. I kept desperately wishing we had a peg board. Instead, I’m just going to live with it being nicely organized on shelves. And dreaming of peg boards…
Sorry…..that was awkward. Just drooled a little heehee. I just got a piece of pegboard and painted it, and hung our few but growing tool collection. I do love looking at it…. Also, stay safe through the storm!!
I just recalled that I wanted pegboards to organise some of my jewellery! Need to get around to it soon.
Regarding the Mason jars: it would be sort of cool to fasten the lids to the bottom of the shelves, so you pretty much just need to twist the jars off to access the content. No worries about them being knocked off the shelves this way.
Of course, if you do work regularly outside of this space, then the idea would be pretty much rubbish!
Oh yes, we thought about attaching them but do think we’ll bring them with us (upstairs or to a friend’s house to help with a project) so having lids that come with them seems to work better.
Your basement clean-up is looking a lot like our garage clean up! Pegboards rock! We also have a similar tool-storage situation, where I keep a hammer, finishing nails, some pliers, a set of screwdrivers, and various (duct, electrical, masking, packing) tape in my office/craft room, and the rest get stored out in the garage. That way if I need to get my home improvement on, I don’t have to go all the way out to the garage for the basics.
My husband is actually finishing off a workshop area in our garage, so maybe we’ll have to send you the before/after pictures whenever that gets done!
Keep up the good work!