How to Organize Sandpaper in a Small Workshop

An accordion file makes sandpaper storage simple, easy to transport to a job site and is the perfect space-saving solution for a small workshop.

An accordion file makes sandpaper storage simple, easy to transport to a job site and is the perfect space-saving solution for a small workshop.
There are many great sandpaper storage ideas out there, but often most are too large for a small workshop. Today we’ll explore a sandpaper organization solution that’s easy to use, easy to transport and fits easily in a small workshop.

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A few weeks ago we looked at 9 Clever Ways to Make Your Small Workshop Feel Bigger. One of the things we said that can make a small workshop feel cramped is poor organization. Disorganized spaces feel cluttered and cramped while organized spaces no matter the size feel large and spacious.

While working on a furniture project I reached for a piece of sandpaper and I decided it was time to take my own advice. My sandpaper storage was a DISASTER! It was totally disorganized. Calling it “storage” is an outright lie. I open up the door to my workshop cabinet, throw the sandpaper in the bottom and hope for the best. That’s it.

Sandpaper Storage Solution - my sandpaper storage was a disaster!

Then the next time I would open the door the sandpaper would fly out, tumble to the floor and I would get frustrated. Really frustrated!

Sandpaper Storage Solution - I would open the door to my workshop storage cabinet and the sandpaper would fly out

There had to be a better way for those of us with a small workshop to organize our sandpaper. You guys know I love a workshop DIY project, so first I researched some DIY sandpaper storage ideas. I loved the look of those wood DIY sandpaper storage racks, but many are designed to hang on the wall and I don’t have much wall space in my small workshop. The other thing is many of them are big and I need as much space in my shop as possible.

I had three requirements for my sandpaper storage. It needed to be small and not take up too much space. And you know I like to keep things mobile in my small workshop, so it needed something that could be easily transported out to the yard or could be taken with me to help with a DIY project at a buddy’s house. You know, like the DIY folding workbench or the Mobile Project Center. And finally, it had to be easy to use.

So what’s a DIYer to do? What’s the best way to store sandpaper in a small workshop? Then I remembered how my friend Cher-Ann at Designs by Studio C organizes her sandpaper. She stores her sandpaper in a pocket folder. In her post, she said “don’t judge” about the way she stores her sandpaper. Who’s judging? I think it’s a great idea! But I had an idea that would take Cher-Ann’s pocket folder idea one step further.

Accordion File Becomes a Brilliant Sandpaper Storage Solution

Instead of a pocket folder, I found this zippered 13 pocket accordion folder. The accordion folder met all of my sandpaper storage criteria. It wouldn’t take up much space in my small workshop. It would easily transport to the job site for a DIY project and thanks to the zipper all of the sandpaper would stay where it belongs. Plus, it would be super easy to use.

Sandpaper Storage Solution - 13 pocket accordion folder

I started my sandpaper organization process by taking all of the sandpaper out of the workshop cabinet and organizing it by grit. Because the sandpaper was so disorganized I discovered I had bought two packages of 120 grit sandpaper, I only had one 150 grit round sanding disc and found two hammers buried under all of the sandpaper. This organization process was looooong overdue!

Sandpaper Storage Solution - I started by organizing my sandpaper

The sandpaper grits I typically use are 80, 100, 120, 150 and 220. I decided since I had 13 available pockets that I would separate the random orbit sanding discs from the sheets of sandpaper. I wrote the sandpaper grits on the labels included with the pocket accordion folder. Here’s a funny side note… there are 13 pockets, but only 12 blank labels included in the package lol

TIP: One of those fancy label makers would have made this project look even more professional.

Sandpaper Storage Solution - the accordion pockets were labeled

Then I placed the labels on the tabs in the pocket accordion folder.

Sandpaper Storage Solution - the labels were placed on the tabs

I added my sandpaper to the pocket accordion folder. There’s plenty of room to add more sandpaper.

Sandpaper Storage Solution - then added my sandpaper to the pockets

Lastly, I put the pocket accordion folder in the cabinet. It looks sooo organized now and look how much space I gained in the cabinet!!! Now don’t look at the other shelf… that needs some organization too!

Sandpaper Storage Solution - now the sandpaper is organized and hardly takes up any space

Sanding Tips

Since we’re talking sandpaper before you head out be sure to skate over to my post about How to Sand your DIY Project for a Flawless Finish.

More Ways to Get Organized

Are your tools neatly organized or in a jumbled pile on your workbench? My tools were a mess, but I finally got them organized!

In the How to Organize Tools in a Small Workshop post, I’m sharing 5 steps to get your tools organized. We’ll compare pegboard vs. cabinets, ways to store hand and power tools and how to keep them organized once and for all.

Skate over to How to Organize Tools in a Small Workshop now!

Learn how to organize tools in your small workshop! We'll compare pegboard vs. cabinets, ways to store hand and power tools and how to keep them organized!

Final Thoughts

An accordion file makes sandpaper storage simple, easy to transport to a job site and a perfect space-saving solution for a small workshop.

Thank you for stopping by. If you found this information helpful, would you please pin it to Pinterest? Other DIYers would appreciate it and I would too! Thank you – Scott


  1. Great idea, I actually use a couple of those plastic packages that Halloween costumes come in that have an attached hanger at the top with button closures. This way I can hang them above in the shop near my sanding station or on the side of my sanding cart.


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