The Genius Reason You Should Be Keeping An Egg Carton With Your Tools

If there's a bigger time-sink in the DIY universe than waiting for paint or stain to dry, it's probably pushing around a pile of little bolts and screws you just dumped out of a coffee can, looking for just the right one. If you're the frugal type, you know what we mean. Every fastener you run across gets saved in a can, jar, or perhaps little plastic drawers organized broadly by size or type. But if you're being frugal enough to save old screws, odds are the cost of off-the-shelf parts organizers gives you hives. One cheap and effective solution: egg cartons rescued from the recycle bin.

There's no shortage of genius ways to use old egg cartons around your house and in your garden, but this one is particularly effective. Sort your reclaimed fasteners into old egg cartons, usually by size. Because they're designed to stack, you can slide them onto your workshop shelves, label the ends, and never be without a #4 screw when you lose a battery cover screw or your houseflies need barstools. Aficionados of plastic parts storage bins will immediately object that egg cartons waste space and things can fall out of them, but remember that you're putting 12 compartments per carton on the shelf; try that with bin drawers. And at least egg cartons have a cover, unlike many store-bought trays and all drawers. The only challenge is avoiding the inevitable egg puns, but you should have no problem cracking that.

How to store hardware in egg cartons ... and which hardware

If space is at a premium in your workshop, one egg carton solution might be to tear off the tops and stack them. This compresses the space they use and lets you move a ton of things around without spilling them since the layer above always protects the layer below it. You can leave the lid on your top carton.

As for what to put in them, you're only limited by size. Small screws, bolts, and nuts can be stored by size, and you can have different trays by type: pan head, oval, flat, hex, carriage, and other screws and bolts, or standard, locking/Nyloc, wing, cap, castellated, jam, and other nuts. You could separate imperial from metric measurements and have entire cartons for oddball specialties like shaft collars and sex bolts. We know you're going to ask, so yes, jam nuts are a thing.

You can organize anything small enough that you have in quantity. You might have a carton of Arduino sensors, different types or sizes of wire terminals, computer hardware connectors that were obsolete a decade ago, hex driver bits, and all the rest. This might not be one of the inspirational garage storage ideas that will inspire the handyperson in you, but it is an eggcellent way to stay organized. We're sorry, we're so sorry. If it doesn't work out for you, you can just use the old egg cartons to fire up your grill.