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Whether homeowners have a handful of tools or an entire collection of equipment, proper storage of these items means the difference between staying organized and safe or having to waste time looking for tools and running the risk of injury.
Tools often gravitate to other rooms of the house or become misplaced. When they're brought out for use, tools may not be returned to the toolbox or shed, taking up residence in drawers or closets or just being left out in the open.
Improper storage of tools also may create safety risks for the persons doing the renovation and other members of the household. The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that hundreds of thousands of injuries treated at emergency rooms are related to power tools and workshop equipment. While the majority of these injuries occur while using the tools, improper tool storage can still cause injury.
By taking care of tools and keeping them orderly, homeowners can lengthen the life expectancy of their tools and reduce the likelihood of tool-related injury.
• Read the manufacturers' instructions. In addition to providing operational guidance, owner's manuals or product packaging may give insight on tool care and storage. Following the directions regarding cleaning and storage can prolong the life of tools.
• Keep original cases and labels. Many tools come in hard cases to protect the tools and reduce users' injury risk. Paints, varnishes, stripping agents, and other chemicals should be stored in their original containers with labels intact.
• Get a cabinet that can be locked. Shop for a secure cabinet that can be locked so more dangerous items, such as sharp blades, saws and chemicals, can be safely stored. This helps keep these items out of the curious hands of children, as well as away from pets who may sniff around at new smells.
• Store tools vertically. Avoid tripping over large tools, including shovels or rakes, by storing these items on the walls of garages or storage sheds. Small tools can be placed on shelves or hung on pegboards or magnetic boards on the wall over workbenches.
• Keep items dry. Address any moisture issues or leaks so that tools do not suffer water damage. Never operate power tools if cords are running through water.
• Buy sturdy containers. If your space is limited but you still want to organize your tools, rely on sturdy, clear containers. Tools can be placed inside and easily transported from project area to project area. Clear containers enable you to see inside and know which tools are being stored within.
Ensuring tools are stored away properly means they'll be easy to find when they're needed again, and they'll be kept in a manner that promotes the safe use and longevity of the tools.