I have a set of tools I use on my desk that are bulky and never seem to store well. These include my wirecutters, pliers, ruler, and snips.

At the moment, the best way I've found to store them is in this pencil holder with half the leg inside and the other hanging outside. This is unstable and ugly but allows me to see and grab the one I need.

Due to the nature of the way they balance on the rim, placing them is awkward and requires a lot of empty space around it for the handle to flare out.

I don't like it. But I'm not sure how else to store these.

I could put them into a toolbox but I want them to be easily accessible while I'm at my desk; I would have to dig to find them inside a toolbox. And I don't want the edge on my good wire snips getting damaged.

For those wondering why I have three sets of wire snips, one is a nice snip and the other two are junky ones I got for a $1 when I want to cut into something hard.

What solutions are available to organize these on my desk or in a wall?

enter image description here

  • 8
    magnetic knife holder
    – jsotola
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 1:22
  • 1
    or this youtube.com/watch?v=nqwCRFB1tN8
    – jsotola
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 1:34
  • Looks like you need a second bucket. Also, 'sharps' should face down.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 17:14
  • Have you considered leaving them out on the table? The least-used ones will tend to be underneath and so are indicated for secondary storage further away from the primary work area. Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 19:47
  • 1
    Desk space is always at a premium. To place tools on the desk would be an anti-pattern in this situation.
    – Zhro
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 0:01

12 Answers 12


Here is my invention for you.

pliers holder

It is a board. The pliers and snips that volunteered for this project straddled it nicely. If you cut off the ends of the board and reattached them at right angles (with glue or a screw) so it looks like a letter I it would be steadier than this one, which was propped on the 2x4 back there.

The little red pliers did not have legs as heavy as the others and so wobbled a bit. You could cut a notch in the top for any like that.

  • If he falls on this, he'll be dead. Also, upward facing blades are a hand-cutting hazard. -1 from me.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 20:31
  • And it's basically identical to the solution he already has.
    – Hobbes
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 14:49

How about something like this?


Olsa Tools Plier Rack | Pliers Organizer for Tool Box Drawer Storage | Plier Holder Holds 16 Pliers Red

If you want more ideas then run a Google search for "plier rack"

  • 2
    That's mighty purty. Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 20:28
  • I like how all the tools match. Like they all are in the same family. Clean, too!
    – Willk
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 0:17

The problem is you are using office supply organizers for tools.

Try hitting one of the Borgs (Home Depot, Lowes or Menards) and visit their tool section. They should have plenty of tool organizers. Be warned: they won't work very well on office supplies.


You say hanging them on a wall is acceptable. In that case:

Put them against the wall.

Wall mounted tools

More wall mounted tools

Grab one at your nearest toolshop or hardware store or make one yourself. All you need is a piece of metal/wood, stick it to a wall and put screws, nails, clips or other objects in it to hang your tools on. The boards with pre-fab holes in them are pegboards.

  • 4
    Just don't grab that one that is displaying merchandise for sale.
    – Kaz
    Commented Jul 29, 2019 at 16:20
  • 2
    @kaz If you can find it, ex-retail shelving and display pegboard is an order of magnitude better than home-grade stuff. Shops going out of business may be selling every last thing, or bigger cities have dedicated second-hand shop outfitters who deal with this kind of stuff.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 9:21
  • 1
    And even better than peg boards, use french cleats. Examples.
    – hlovdal
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 12:15

I use a grey foam block like is typically used for packing or cut out in shape for instrumentation cases:

Foam Block

I use an X-Acto knife to cut out slots for the heads of the tools that roughly contour the shape of the head, but slightly smaller for a snug fit:


This provides immediate access to my most commonly used tools, with each tool having it's own location to assist with muscle memory, while keeping all sharp edges(including said X-Acto knife) properly protected. While I could secure the foam to the desk or weigh it down, the weight of the not-currently-being-used tools in the foam is significant enough in my situation to not require additional weighing or securing.

  • 1
    A really good idea and one that prevents the blades from conflicting with the user.
    – Valorum
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 20:32
  • @Valorum That's a great euphemism ... "the blades conflicting with the user" ... I'll have to remember that one.
    – Moshe Katz
    Commented Jul 31, 2019 at 17:13

I would get a board (of ply or similar) and lay out the pliers etc in a sensible arrangement. Then insert a screw for each tool so that the tool sits on the screw by its hinge when the board is vertical.

Probably cheaper than buying a board that may be larger than what you need...

You could also add elastic across the handles and make it so the board is self supporting, which means it could be stored under or to the side of the desk, if your desk surface is at a premium...

  • AKA "shadow-hang your tools on a pegboard" and then mount it vertically behind your desk or on the wall.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 19:25
  • 6
    Don't forget to outline every tool so that you know directly which tool is missing and where each tool should go. Commented Jul 28, 2019 at 19:49

steel sheet with tools held by magnets

Here's yet another tools-on-the-wall idea. This is light gauge galvanized sheet metal -- probably 24 ga from the HVAC duct aisle at the local big box store. The non-magnetic tools (flux pens, tweezers, etc) have a magnet bonded to them with epoxy; the magnetic tools have a magnet epoxied to the steel sheet instead.

  • +1 For DIYing this :-) BTW - instead of bonding a magnet you could also have installed a few extrusions to support the tools' weight. In fact, that might be a good idea for magnetic tools as well, since it would be more "hand-waving-resistant".
    – einpoklum
    Commented Aug 3, 2019 at 21:43

Typical is a wall rack with holes in which one part of the handle is inserted. Wooden home-made or wire/plastic for pegboard mounting purchased. If you want it on the desktop rather than wall-mounted, then a stand supporting a board which has holes drilled along the edges.

Some results (unlike those) I have not seen in person show up when I put "plier rack" into google...

You can get hard wire cutters that cut hard wire without becoming junk, BTW.

Personally, I mostly use a clear zip pouch system (which was perhaps intended for fishing tackle) that I picked up surplus.


It looks like there's a window behind the desk but you mention a wall so as others have mentioned, a pegboard is a cheap and simple solution. Make sure you mount it with spacers behind it so that you can actually get the accessories in. These 'plier holders' are perfect for this:

enter image description here

They are less than a dollar each. The tool goes in business-side down.

If you want something that you can place on the desk I would go with something like this. If you can't find something like it you could get small piece of 3/4 inch plywood and fashion it yourself with some basic tools.

enter image description here

The 'window' cutouts on the side are for aesthetics and purely optional. The big advantage of making it is that you can customize it exactly to your needs.

If you aren't sure how to go about making something like that, reply and I can provide more detail.

  • 1
    Your last picture - I made a pegboard shelf like that for pliers and so on, and put two pegboard hooks into horizontal holes at the back. Bonus, it can be rearranged on the backing board.
    – Criggie
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 9:24

In lean manufacturing circles as well as aerospace vehicle maintenance an accepted way to deal with tools is with foam cutout tool trays, either canted near the work surface or hanging on the wall. Google for "lean foam tool wall" etc. You'll quickly see that Fastcap's company founder has produced a bunch of youtube videos about this -- here are a couple of hits from an images search. (Not affiliated with the company -- I do buy foam from them though. I got infected with the tool foam practice myself while in the USAF.)

canted foam tool tray wall mount foam tool tray

  • 1
    I believe the general term for this kind of thing (minus the foam) is a "shadowboard". The foam is just a 3D shadow :)
    – Steve
    Commented Jul 30, 2019 at 21:51

Many years ago my father just drived a pretty big nail to wall, near the table. You can easily hang big/small pliers on it, they're pretty stable and easy to access.


Pegboard, or a magnetic tool holder (Harbor Freight sell those for only a few dollars)

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