Shopping for Tool Caddies

Because it’s nearly fall: Time to get organized.,


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Sometimes it’s the smallest things that are the hardest to organize. What are you supposed to do with all that clutter — those extra pencils, paper clips, sewing needles, screwdrivers or whatever else you have on hand — short of sweeping it into a drawer and trying to forget about it?

Shira Gill, a home organizer based in Berkeley, Calif., has an answer: Try using a caddy or a toolbox.

“I’ve found them to be remarkably helpful,” said Ms. Gill, whose book, “Minimalista,” will be published by Ten Speed Press in October. “It’s a versatile, portable, practical solution.”

Ms. Gill uses caddies to contain home-office accessories, chargers for electronics, and art and school supplies for her children. But they’re equally handy for corralling tools, toiletries and cleaning supplies, she said, and even creating a “wellness station” by the front door, to hold face masks and hand sanitizer during the pandemic.

Just make sure to choose one that you find visually appealing, as it will frequently be on display.

“They’re utilitarian objects,” Ms. Gill said. “But there’s no reason they can’t be stylish, as well.”

  • Should a caddy have lots of compartments? A container with many small compartments is good for little things like arts-and-crafts supplies, Ms. Gill said, but “generally speaking, I like a handful of bigger compartments,” for flexibility.

  • What’s the best material? “I prefer caddies that aren’t made of plastic, both for aesthetics and sustainability,” said Ms. Gill, who favors boxes made of metal or wood.

  • Should a caddy have a lid that closes? It depends. A lid provides a cleaner look and keeps things from falling out, but it also makes the contents less accessible.


Powder-coated steel caddy in two sizes

From $25 at West Elm: 888-922-4119 or


Japanese metal toolbox with foldout trays

$95 at MoMA Design Store: 800-851-4509 or


Resin caddy with rubberwood handle in two sizes

From $39 at Urban Outfitters: 800-282-2200 or


Birch toolbox from Verso Design of Finland

$120 at KonMari:


Powder-coated galvanized iron toolbox with perforated bottom

$95 at Ferm Living: 011-45-7022-7523 or

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