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How to organize nails, screws, nuts, and bolts

Everyone has that jar or kitchen drawer filled with nails, screws, and everything in between. Trying to organize all those tiny pieces can be a huge hassle. It can feel impossible and pointless. Finding the perfect organization techniques can make your home improvements so much easier. You can spend less time trying to find the right nut or bolt and more time on your projects. 

Use recycled containers

You can use nearly any firm, plastic container with a sealable top for organizing nails, screws, nuts, and bolts. Bubble gum containers are one option for this. You can organize your hardware by type, size, or color. It also helps to label each container so you can easily find what you are looking for.

organizing nuts and bolts
Klyuchinskiy Oleg/Shutterstock

Buy a hardware and craft cabinet

Another great option is to purchase a cabinet for this specific purpose. Amazon has some great options for hardware cabinets. They are made of hard plastic, so they are light and durable. They have multiple compartments with varying sizes, which makes it perfect for keeping small pieces organized. You can also label each drawer, so you know where everything is located. 

Use clear, plastic trays

You can also buy some clear, plastic trays on multiple websites. They have little compartments and are perfect for people who have a smaller number of pieces to organize. These little trays can easily fit in your kitchen drawers or wherever else you need them.

Utilize an old tackle box

If you have an old tackle box lying around, you can use it for organizing your nuts and bolts, as well. Tackle boxes are made for organizing fishing equipment and can be the perfect solution for organizing your smaller hardware pieces. Tackle boxes are great because they have handles and can be perfect for transportation. If you need to bring your small hardware pieces to work sites, then a tackle box can be a cheap solution.

organizing nuts and bolts
David Pereiras/Shutterstock

Organizing tips and tricks

If you have found yourself with a bucket of nuts and bolts and are ready to get them organized, there’s no easy way to get around it. The tedious process can be frustrating. To get through it as quickly and painlessly as possible, here are some simple tips:
Break it up. If you sit down and try to sort a 5-gallon bucket of pieces at once, you will lose motivation quickly. That is why it is important to break up the process. Splitting up the time it takes to organize so many small pieces is what will keep you sane and determined. Don’t spend more than an hour at a time organizing.
Entertain yourself while organizing. The great thing about organizing and sorting is that it requires little brain power. This means you can listen to some great music or watch your favorite TV show to make the time go by faster. It will help you focus on the distraction and not on how many more nails and screws you need to organize.
Get your kids involved. Kids love to get involved in your projects, and this is an easy one to explain. It is something that can keep them distracted and entertained. They can also learn a bit about building/construction and the pieces involved in doing that.
Dump the pile. Dumping the pile can be a satisfying part of the organizing experience. It is laying out everything you need to organize. Dumping out the small hardware pieces onto a white piece of paper will help you see the pieces more clearly and help protect your work surface.
Use screws, nuts, etc. for reference. If you have reference pieces, organizing will go much more smoothly. You can even tape reference pieces to your white sheet of paper so they won’t roll around if something gets knocked or jumbled. Eventually, after you get all the pieces that belong together in one place, you will find yourself with weird parts with no home. Those are great for a miscellaneous tray.
Materials for sorting:

  • Small portion of the parts you want to organize. You can use a coffee can to size each of your batches.
  • Paper and pen. White paper is perfect for organizing on. It contrasts perfectly with dark, rusty nails and protects the table surface that you are working on. A pen is the perfect tool for separating and spreading out pieces that are jumbled together. 
  • Temporary storage containers. Using temporary storage containers is important when you have a lot to organize. Since you don’t know exactly how much of each nail, screw, or bolt you have, having temporary storage allows you to reassess the right sizes at the end of organizing.
  • Specific sized nuts and bolts for reference. If there is a common theme in nails, bolts, nuts, or screws, you can use them as a reference for organizing. Keep out a type of piece for reference, and it will help you know what fits into which category.

Organizing these parts and pieces can be easy if you take your time and have the right tools. You can get your small parts under control in many ways. With all the options, there is one out there for you. Everyone can get organized if they put a little effort into it. Remember to explore your home for organizing tools you may already have. Don’t be afraid to buy some tools if you find that it would work better for you. Happy organizing.

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