Every mechanic eventually accumulates extra nuts and bolts. Sometimes it’s just a handful sitting on their toolbox, or it’s a box full on the work bench, or for some it’s an entire drawer of their toolbox. Most hardware collections I’ve seen are just jumbled messes, or with only the slightest organization.
This is the drawer of my roll cart. It’s where I first started collecting and sorting my extra hardware and parts. I did basic sorting, with bolts going in one box, nuts in another, and so on. It worked well enough for a couple years, but I did eventually outgrow it.
I ended up filling a box with even more extras, probably ending with a few pounds worth. Even though I knew I had extras of stuff, I would rarely feel motivated to go digging through everything to find what I needed.
In December last year, I finally decided to sort everything. One reason I decided to then was that winter is the slow season, and I would have a lot of time to kill, and sorting out thousands of fasteners would surely take a while. I started by sorting into nuts, screws, and bolts. It actually went a lot faster than I expected, and I got to this point in only about an hour.
Once I got the three main categories sorted out, I put some separators in the boxes and started sorting into different types of nuts, screws, and bolts. I had to decide as I went how detailed I was going to sort things out, like keeping all 10mm bolts together or sorting out the different lengths or whether they had flanges or not.
Finally, I bought some sets of drawers. I started out with just the set on the right, but it filled up so quickly I had to get the ones on the left. I would still like to sort out more, like to different lengths and thread pitches, but for now it’s good enough. It’s such a time saver that when I need a bolt or screw I can go right to the drawer that will have what I need instead of searching through a box. I found out I have a lot more of some things than I thought. This was definitely worth the time, and I would recommend doing it to your collection if you want it to be easier in the future to find what you need.
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