Socket organization solutions aren’t always expandable or convenient. I’ve used rails in the past that aren’t always the most convenient to carry around.
If you get a few extra sockets of a particular size, it can throw a wrench (pun intended) into your organization methods. If you’re like most people, I’m sure you’ve experienced digging through a toolbox looking for the right size socket you need.
Socket Organization – Rails
Many years ago I bought a 300 or so piece mechanics tool set and bought several socket rails to try and keep them attached. I still had several sockets that were leftover and many rails that weren’t filled up. Overall, I just didn’t find this method very practical for my use. At least, certainly not when trying to create a custom solution.
My newer Kobalt set came with rails that are removable from the main case. At least these are sized for a specific set of sockets. No extra slots, etc. It simply was designed to fit. They are however, somewhat difficult to pull off their clip. I imagine over time it will wear a bit on the plastic material and become easier to remove.
Instead of looking for a range of single sized sockets, with either a 1/2″ or 3/4″, I’ve found it easier to have them in one spot location. Whether it’s a 6 point, 12 point, shallow or deep socket, 1/2″ drive or 3/5″ drive, I’ve found it easiest (for me at least) to have them divided by size, and in order.
So what does this look like? I have my sockets divided by metric and standard (also known as imperial), and sorted in sequential size. 8mm, 9mm, 10mm, 11mm, 12mm, etc. one after the other. This was how I organized them a few years back, I had cup which I labeled by size.
I wanted to get a better feel for how space I was going to need, and planned to build a custom organizer. Ultimately, I opted to go with something a bit more generic. These are organizers by Dewalt.
These bin organizers by Dewalt are decent in my opinion. I would have liked to see additional slot options for smaller compartments. I’m likely going to glue some dividers into a few spots, particularly on smaller socket sizes.
Once I get everything set the way I want, I’ll label each section with what size it is.
It wasn’t about trying to cram as much into a drawer as possible, but rather making sure there’s enough room for everything while still being organized. This falls in line with a concept known as 5S, which stands for Sort, Set in Order, Shine, Standardize, and Sustain. More on this below.
5S (or Kaizen)
For anyone interested, the 5S methodology is a concept for keeping only what you need and giving everything a specific place of it’s own. It can help give a more efficient work area and a much cleaner and far better organized one at that.
A brief overview of the 5S methodology on Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/5S_(methodology)