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Tool storage question

I’m moving from a house to a small (650 square feet) apartment but have no where convenient to put my tools (jack, jack stands, hand tools, etc). I don’t have a tons of tools but enough to do most basic to medium sized jobs. All the tools must go in the apartment. Does anyone have any creative ideas on how to store everything but not make my apartment look trashy?

A cupboard of some sort, maybe? 6-7 feet tall with a couple sets of doors. One big enough may hold your TV with storage underneath.

The bigger question may be, just where are you going to work on your car? Many apartment complexes don’t allow working on cars in the parking lot and the street is not safe for more than checking the oil level.

Perhaps you could put most of them in a tool chest-on-chest.
Unfortunately, unless you have a friend who can store them for you, the bigger stuff will have to go.
When I got divorced and lost my house 21 years ago I had to move to a small apartment. I put a tool chest in one closet and everything else had to get sold. A friend stored some bigger stuff for me. ix years later I bought another house and pretty much started over.

I’ve stored mine inside toolboxes on closet floors, under the clothes. That way I can slide them out when I need them. If you have a large foyer closet, this would be the place for the toolboxes, but if you don’t, a bedroom closet will do.

In a pinch, you might also store some of them in the trunk of your car, but make sure they’re secured so they don’t fly around in an accident.

I’ve also stored my automotive chemicals, such as oil and brake fluid, under the kitchen sink with the other hazardous chemicals.

Get a coffee table that is also a storage chest. When in college, in my dorm room I used a truck bed box as my coffee table. I put a fabric cover on it to hide it when the ladies were coming over but most of the time it was uncovered with tools or parts on it. It’s other use was a work bench. I would rebuild carburetors or lap valves and assemble heads and other small jobs in the dorm room. I used the box to store tools and parts that I was working on. Others in the engineering field were over in my room using my tools and work bench all the time.

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I live in an apt tool and use one of these.

They hold a lot.

@Zachfrantz - the other ideas here are good, but I have one more. I wouldn’t recommend it for any heavy chemicals but when pinched for apartment storage space, I found the low-profile under-bed storage boxes to be lifesavers. You could also loft your bed a bit to get yourself some extra space if you’re really stuck.


And a lot of apartments have storage lockers that either come with the apartment or that you can rent for an extra fee. The last apartment I lived in had one that was 5x3, plenty of space for my jack/stands/etc.

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Yep all good ideas but I think the big stuff will need to go. When I was in an apartment I rented a garage in the apartment complex and that helped. You also may want to think about renting a separate storage garage. In school I used to just keep everything in the trunk of my car but moisture is a problem in the winter.

+1 for @shadowfax suggestion. If you haven’t rented the apartment yet, look for one with a storage area. You can get your lift, ramps, and jack stands in it. Even better if the storage cage is on the floor. If you end up without extra storage, buy lawn bags at the home stores like Home Depot or Lowes. You can store your big stuff that touches the ground in them and put them in a closet inside the house. They still need to be clean or your apartment will smell of engine oil and bag leaks will leave spots on the carpet that you will be responsible for.

If you have a porch or patio an outdoor storage locker could be a solution.

Check with the landlord before doing this. They might not let you.

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Yeah, I think that’s what the OP meant by “All the tools must go in the apartment.” Otherwise, a small outdoor tool shed on the patio would be a good idea.

I like this idea. I wish I’d thought of it years ago when I needed it.

Coffee table? :smiling_imp:

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I see a ‘kitchen island’…and a VERY nice one, at that!


It’s the floor space that’s at a premium. OP could build some stand-alone customized shelf space that extends from floor to ceiling, in unused corners. 2x4’s, plywood, and wood screws, nothing fancy; it can all be removed and taken with them next time they move. Throw a sheet over the unit so you don’t have to look at the Makita battery charger.

You folks ever live in an apartment? I’ve lived in everything from a single bedroom for $5 a week to a trailer to a 400 sq ft apartment. Not a whole lot of room for much of anything but the trunk of your car is your friend. Forget the jack stands and ramps etc. They won’t fit in the trunk and you can’t do repairs in the parking lot anyway. I think best idea is the under the bed storage.

$5 a week? Do you know Roger Miller?


It was an 80 year old widow who rented out a spare bedroom to students. If I shoveled the sidewalk in the winter, I could use the garage.