Reader Tyler Capobres writes:
Like many gun guys, I don’t have a spare room or a lot of extra space for all of my guns and accumulated gear. My gun closet was a mess for the longest time before I finally broke down and decided to do something about it. Part of the problem was sheer laziness and part was due to the closet’s size. I had plenty of room for clothes on one side. I kept my guns and ammo in the center, and kept the tangled mess of parts, boxes and accessories on the other side.
I just sort of worked around all of the clutter, keeping some of it in different piles on the floor, and the most-used accessories and parts hung from a shoe organizer. Yes, the system was flawed, but I made it work until things finally had to change (read: I got married and I had to find a better solution).
I moved all of my guns and related equipment to a smaller closet in the spare bedroom, along with additional totes that needed a home where they’d be out of the way. But access to the main water shutoff valve was through the crawlspace in the far left corner of the closet, so that couldn’t be blocked. With less than one third the space I used to have, it didn’t take me long to bump into the shoe organizer and start spilling accessories and parts all over the floor. Something needed to change, and drastically.
I spent a couple hours online, scouring through products offered by Home Depot and Lowe’s. I was tempted to go with inexpensive plastic shelves, but that would require me to buy multiple bins for everything, which made it less inexpensive with each bin I needed.
Eventually I thought about buying a used tool chest on wheels. I could have multiple compartments for everything, and it could be easily rolled out of the way. Sadly, most that I looked at were not only expensive, but too tall. My wife wanted enough space so any guests staying over could still hang their clothes there. I had all but given up, when I came across the perfect item: a compact Husky-brand toolbox on wheels.
It’s not a revolutionary concept by any means, but fits my needs perfectly. At $80 it was more than I wanted to spend, but it was still cheaper than most of the other alternatives.
The top has small compartments for all the random parts and accessories I had accumulated, while the middle and bottom storage compartments let me stow larger items.
I use the middle compartment for knives, manuals and optics, while the larger bottom section is for all the camera equipment — including a tripod — I use for doing YouTube reviews. I can even leave the top two compartments at home and bring just the bottom portion with me to the range, which makes filming much less of a headache.
I’ll most likely pick up another one to be used for any ammo and accessories I need on range trips.
If you’ve been holding off on cleaning up your gun closet, work area, etc., I’d highly recommend a similar solution. It’s a small investment compared to the money you’re probably put into all of your guns and equipment. I wish I’d done something like this a long time ago. If you’ve found a different solution that works for you, I’d love to hear your experience in the comments below.
Tyler Capobres has years of experience torture testing guns, knives and gear to their limit. If he’s not writing about gun projects, reviewing products or mocking anti-gun zealots on Twitter. You’ll usually find him at the range. He’s the owner of thegoodgun.com, a website dedicated to all gun and knife enthusiasts.
I am running out of room even with my meager “collection”. Short of kicking my sons out(LOL) I may have to move some crap to the attic😫Spare room…hah!
I use a huge black footlocker I was issued in Iraq. Sadly it fell off a truck on the day I got out luckily it reappeared in my closet. I’m currently contemplating putting a combo lock on that door instead of the key lock it has now along with a new reinforced door.
I’m considering something similar for my guns. I really don’t need a massive safe.
Check the US Cav, Ranger Joe’s, Brigade Quarter Master, or Etsy (yes Etsy they carry a lot of vintage military stuff and even some new stuff.) You might get lucky and find em on sale. Also ask any veteran buddies you might have, you’d be surprised at the things that fall off the back of those Army trucks when you give the supply sergeant a bottle of good bourbon.
In addition to those, Colemans Surplus has a wide variety of cool containers for decent prices.
Good article but I would point out that sale shopping provides some alternatives should you have the time to wait. I never really considered one for gun stuff but they’d be a great way to keep some of my reloading gear better organized than just shoving it in a cabinet.
I seriously considered this box but there are better ones out there in terms of organization. The trick is to wait until there’s a “super sale” at Home Depot (or similar) and then get there early. The DeWalt (I’m not a fan of that brand but it was cheap.) I picked up came with a bunch of extras for organization and cost ~$45. Organizes my wife’s leather working stuff really well.
If you need organization *now* that’s obviously not a good plan but if you can wait there are some serious sales at various times of the year from HD, Lowes and Ace where stuff like this gets stupid cheap.
Leather working stuff? Dude, the comedy gold you just gave out is……..golden.
Different strokes different folks. You’d be surprised how much the “recreational” leather crowd overlaps with the gun crowd.
*facepalm* Like dealing with a bunch of middle schoolers around here I tell ya.
Kettle, meet pot.
Well most of us are guys and we never really grow up we just buy bigger, louder, and better toys as we age.
This pot is metallic and blackened. I suggest you find a new dealer.
Great points! On this one time was a factor, sadly.
I’ll definitely keep that in mind with the holidays coming up.
Cheap means more money for guns and ammo. 😀
I have most of my gun stuff in my tv room. It’s my man cave. Most of my guns are in a safe there. Most of my ammo is in the walmart plastic bins lining the bottom of the closet in that room. The closet holds most of my hunting clothes and other gear.
I have a small safe in the bedroom with a limited number of guns and ammo there. I have a work table in the garage with cleaning supplies for the guns and things like my dekes are stored out there.
I keep a couple of pairs of hunting boots in the back of the 4runner along with emergency supplies.( I live in earthquake country.)
I don’t see a man cave in my near future, unfortunately.
It’s still a long-term goal, though. 🙂
Trying having gun stuff and all the accoutrements for riding a horse in a two bedroom apartment….as a girl! There’s no room for anything or anyone else!
Wow! I can’t begin to imagine… 😯
I’m sure you’ve come up with some creative storage solutions.
Well, let me put it this way…the tack trunk triples as a tack trunk, coffee table and gun cleaning bench in the living room.
Have you considered writing an article about it? I’m sure many female shooters would appreciate your experience and perspective.
Nice article. I gather up the plastic tubs and screw-top containers that we’re just gonna toss anyway and put them to use for various things: hardware, gun parts, etc. The tiny baggies that accompany small parts in various things you buy are handy for keeping an OEM AR trigger group in one spot, or a set of firearm screws that you don’t want to lose among a larger tray of parts.
Another way to save space is to dump all the 50-100rd boxes of ammo into a .30 or .50cal ammo can. You can toss the cardboard and plastic trays, add a couple desiccant packets, and a nearly full ammo can takes up less space that all those boxes. They stack easier than cardboard, should be watertight, and are a solid foundation for stacking other things on top of them.
Be sure to only dump like bullet weights into a container, so you at least know what they are. Mark the front of the can with a sharpie, or if every round in there is identical you can even cut the label off one of the boxes and clear tape it to the front.
If you only need a couple hundred rds to hit the range, grab a screw-top plastic container and scoop out what you need.
Last year I finished moving the last of my ammo into cans. I added a dehumidifier for boat cabins to keep everything dry.
Great minds think alike. 🙂
This thread reminds me I need to build a work bench.
Now I feel “sorry” for some people. I have 20′ x 16′ shed for camping and reloading gear. Plus one spare bedroom inside for two safes.
Ok that’s 30 plus years worth of stuff. Used to have everything in a footlocker and two hard cases under the bed when I had one room in boarding house for a few years at university.
You tend to collect more space and stuff to fill it with as you get older.
Eventually I’m sure I’ll get to that point.
It’ll be a nice problem to have. 🙂
Man. I remember the small house phase. Now I’m blessed with a 10×24 foot shop I can’t seem to keep organized. Glad this solution works for you.
Aaaannnd, I just brought home another rifle in yet another case.
Gonna go shoot this AI tomorrow and see if she’s a keeper.
Harbor Freight may be shit on toast when it comes to it’s Chineseum tools, but their tool cabinets, carts and work benches are reasonably priced and are likely rebadged versions of the same stuff you find at Home Depot and Sears.
I will say two things, first off organizing can be expensive second off it doesn’t have to be. When I was running a server environment on the low buck plan, I ended up using an organizing system of boxes with flaps. While the ones linked below are a buck each, the ones I used were free because they were what the parts came in. Use your head, and what’s in your environment.
I found a similar solution with the Rigid stacked tool boxes. They have several boxes and can stack in different configurations based on need. Bottom has big wheels to roll to the range. Put French cleats on either side and on 2 cheap rifle cases so they attach to the sides. Can take 6 handguns, 2 rifles, ammo, gear, and tools to the range on wheels. Quite handy for storage and range trips with anything you could need.
I’ll have to look into getting some for my setup.
Good OP, thank you, and congrats. Makes me review my situation. Organization is good.
Thanks! I hope it was helpful. 🙂
The more room one has, the more CRAP one collects. It never ends. LOL.
I have an old metal filing cabinet that I installed this lock on:
It’s secure enough for ammo and accessories, and it was designed to be full of paper (which is heavy) so it’s holding up very well to being full of ammo. It’s a tall 5 drawer model so it’s got a lot of vertical space in a smallish footprint. It wouldn’t stop a determined burglar like my gun safe hopefully would, but it keeps children out.
The wife and I are into many outdoor sports and shooting. I have a 8ft wide 5foot tall shelf made from cheap metal:
– ammo cans get labeled by caliber and bullet type.
-A local nursery gives away plastic trays (like 18x24x4-6″ milk cartons) they receive their seedlings in. These are labeled with contents: tents: hunting stuff:gun parts, knifes and hand tools, etc. they are perfect depth for a shelf and act like a drawer you can just pull out to access gear. The also are stackable and have knockout ends so you can stack them in the corner and just reach in to grab smaller items.
Big things like skis and snowboards get hung direct on the wall over the gin safe with cheap 1.99 brackets. So do life jackets, cases, fishing poles and other big long gear.
I’ve had to do multiple creative things to store all of my gun stuff. I had guns in three separate cabinets or safe. Now I have a 84 gun safe. It doesn’t hold 84 guns unfortunately. Better than the 24 gun safe though.
I keep my ammo in ammo boxes, but have also discovered MTM ammo crates. I really love those! I even store odds and ends, tools, and reloadong equipment in them and stack them under my work bench. I was storing my ammo boxes in a folding footlocker. It’s something I picked up brand new at a surplus store. I’ve never seen one before. It’s steel and can be locked. Very sturdy. I wish I had a second one. Online searches don’t turn up much of anything.
For magazines, I now store them in my safe. The pistol mags go in small stackable trays. I have to figure out how to store the various rifle mags. They are a cluttered mess currently. I was using a behind the door shoe storage setup from walmart. It worked for the most part, but in my current house, I don’t have a storage closet for them. Keeping them in the safe keeps everything tidy.
I have a 48″ “Job Box” in my closet.
We tried to open one at work with a forklift, not happening!
I have a bookshelf that has a bunch of stuff (ammo, powder, brass cases, ultrasonic cleaner, cleaning fluids, primers) on top of it. I also keep my boots (when I actually put them up) and a pair of sneakers on the bottom shelf. I keep the brass sorted in things that would have been thrown away like jars and food containers. Some food is really hard to wash out. Peanut butter jars are the perfect size, but peanut butter wants to stay in the jar.