Tool Review: Organizers

The tool review for today is one of the most important items to have available during disassembly and reassembly of your vehicle.  I use these organizers not only when working on cars, but when I am working around the house as well.  We have all probably seen a couple of different methods of storing screws and small hardware.  Did your Dad have a shelf full of coffee cans, or a bunch of jam jars containing every screw that ever crossed his path?  It is strange that men have an uncontrollable desire to save screws, nuts, bolts and all other varieties of miscellaneous hardware.  Or more to the point, they have an inability to discard random screws; they always end up in a can or jar somewhere to be saved and never used again.

 Here is a tip that may seem obvious, but will reduce clutter and enable you to utilize the random hardware that has been passed down through generations of your family:

 Saving random screws, nuts, bolts, washers and mildly bent nails is only worthwhile if you can find the right one when you need it.

 So, I recommend using the organizers pictured here for small screws and other hardware.  And here are the reasons why: 

  1. You can see through the clear plastic cover or by opening the cover, exactly what is inside all of the compartments.  No more looking in can after can, or drawer after drawer of those tiny screw filing cabinets to find the group of screws that you are looking for.
  2. The compartments are removable and can be organized in the case many different ways.
  3. The whole unit is portable; you can pick it up and take it to wherever you happen to be working.  No more walking back and forth to the screw shelf.
  4. There are an appropriate number of compartments in these cases.  If you fill each of these compartments with a different type of screw, there is little chance that you won’t have and easily be able to find the right screw when you need it.
  5. They represent a good volume of hardware to be keeping around the house or garage.  If you can fill one of these units up with a good variety of screws, you will no longer need to save screws.  Believe me, I utilize as much used hardware as any man on earth, and it is a rare occasion when I cannot find what I am looking for in my organizer.
  6. During disassembly or maintenance, you can use these organizers as a rallying spot for whatever you are working on.  Try keeping one just for ongoing projects.  As you disassemble something, you can keep the appropriate hardware in separate compartments for each step of the reassembly later on.  That way, if you get interrupted (Your nosey neighbour wants to borrow your lawn mower.), you can pick up where you left off and not forget to put one or two screws back into something before you move on to the next step.
  7. They are great for keeping track of irreplaceable or unique hardware.  Let’s face it, there are some small items that you know right away would be hard to find if you lost them.  If you put 10 items like this in ten coffee cans, how much space have you just used up?  However ten items like this in one organizer will still use up a relatively small amount of space.
  8. Having a constant visual reminder of the hardware that you have taken off your vehicle helps you keep track of what you need to do and where all the necessary parts are.  If you see the small screws from your gauge set in the organizer every time you open it, you will be reminded to get the parts you require and put your dashboard back together.  (Just an example)

 The organizers shown here cost around 20 dollars and are available at Home Depot.  I recommend getting the ones with the yellow bins as it is brighter and therefore easier to see what is in the individual containers.

 Let me finish this post with a couple of tips for organization and keeping track of hardware: 

  1. During the disassembly of your vehicle, replace missing, broken, or worn out hardware immediately.  Do not wait years until you are reassembling your car.  You will think that you have lost some of the hardware.  Take samples and the next time you are at Home Depot or your local parts store, buy the replacements and file them in the organizer.
  2. Make specific notes about where hardware goes and what it is for. Not ‘firewall bolts) Use complete sentences.  ‘These 4 screws hold the heater fan in place.  The long one goes in the hole on the top driver’s side.’
  3. When organizing large bolts that are too big to go in the organizer, separate them into cans according to diameter.  Have and old floor mat or piece of cardboard near the bolt shelf that you can dump the contents of the cans onto, find what you are looking for, and then easily funnel back into the can.
  4. Take a Sunday morning and collect all the screws and random hardware that you have inherited from your grandfather.  Organize the screws by type and length (not diameter like bolts). THROW OUT ALL THE SLOT HEADED SCREWS.  Yes I said it, although they are used much more in theUSA as inCanada, they are inferior… stop using them.  Also throw out all the screws that are not in perfect condition.  Fill up one of your organizers completely.  Then throw out everything that is left over. I know, this is three generations of screw hoarding that is going in the garbage, but you will feel so much better. Trust me.
  5. Unless you are doing a show quality restoration, don’t be afraid to upgrade hardware.  Old slotted screws can be replaced with new Phillips head screws.  There are no rules against this.
  6. Other than high strength bolts, as long as the thread size is the same, all bolts and hardware are quite similar.  Don’t drive across town to the auto parts store to get a ‘1/4” automotive bolt’, you can get the same one from the hardware store. Once again, Home Depot has an impressive selection of hardware, all of which is suitable for automotive use.

    Enough random hardware to accomplish almost any job

 That’s it for now, if you have any ideas or comments, we would love to hear from you.   And remember, tell your friends about www.howtobuildhotrods,com