Tips for Setting Up a Workshop

For any carpenter, hobbyist or DIY enthusiast, having a workshop is like a dream come true. But for a workshop to be truly successful, it needs to be properly set up. Here are four things to keep in mind.

Work Zones

Dividing your space into work zones helps to keep your space organized and creates room for traffic flow. In my own workshop I have a zone for working with power tools, a seating area for detail work, an area devoted to sports equipment and another with a bar fridge (because what good workshop doesn’t have a bar?). The number of zones you have will depend on how you want to use the space, but most workshops have between 3 and 6.

Get Everything off the Floor

If you want to stay organized I highly recommend getting everything off the floor.  In garages and workshops people have a tendency to lean ladders, rakes and other tall or awkward items against the walls. Instead consider wall storage. In my own workshop I used a combination of sliding cabinets, hooks and panels from Gladiator GarageWorks so that everything has its place, but it’s still totally flexible if I want to move things around.

Tool Storage

Keep your tools together in one place, but don’t just dump them in a drawer or bin. You don’t want them banging against each other and getting damaged. Consider storing smaller items in boxes or chests specifically intended for tools so they don’t get lost or damaged. Or you can go the DIY route and create your own storage solution by using pegboards, or homemade racks. But do consider large tool cabinets for big and bulky items, and make sure you have a few that can be locked so you can put away dangerous items like saws.

Workshop Organization

Workshops get messy – it’s almost inevitable. With the number of small pieces of hardware (nuts, bolts, screws, nails, etc.) it’s easy for things to get lost and misplaced. If you want to keep yourself from going crazy keep every piece in it’s own container. Organize by size, material, and purpose and make sure all the containers are labeled. Giving every nut, bolt and screw a home means you can focus on what you’re doing without having to go searching when you’re in the middle of a project.


Photos courtesy of’s Moving the McGillivrays

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