After watching Adam Savage on Tested.com show off his Sortimo sorting bins, I knew that is something I had to have for my own shop to organize my chaos. I started an internet search to find a distributor in my area with no luck. It appears that they are not readily available in the US, and the ones that I did fined where way over priced for plastic boxes, no matter how cool they are.
I didn’t let that stop me and started looking for similar alternatives, what I mainly found everybody recommending was the Stanley boxes. However those where not nearly as nice, or as versatile when it came to configuring the different size bins in each case.
After about a week of searching, I finally came across something that I thought would work well from Lee Valley tools, called Allit. They come in three different styles, Economy, Small professional and large Professional. After I consulted my pocket book, I decided to go with the economy version; they are about $20 each.
The economy version functions much like the Sortimo. The bins are completely removable, so you can take them to your work. When the bins are in the case, they register nicely in a grove in the lid, so they stay in place when carrying the case around even if you don’t have all the bins in place.
The lid is clear so you can see through it, eliminating the need to have to open and close the cases to see if you have the right one. The groves in the lid register tight enough that it keeps even the smallest screw from cross-pollinating to other bins.
The latch on the lids stay latched and are easy to use with out any fuss, like the ones I checked out at Harbor Freight.
The bins come in four different sizes and are completely module, with in the case. You can configure the case with any combination and size of bins you want. You can even order additional bins in each of the sizes you need, and the bins sold individually are at a great price.
When it comes to labeling, the economy Allit boxes have one up over the Sortimo; they have a clear plastic cover to keep the labels clean and prevent them from wearing off. They also have a plastic ruler on each side, one in metric, and one with inches. When I first saw the plastic rulers, I thought they were cheesy, but I find myself constantly using them when sorting screws back into the bins or verifying that I have the right size.
The only down side that I have with these is that they don’t make a rolling or wall hanging bookcase to store cases in. However, I plan to build my own out of plywood. Look for that in an upcoming blog post. However they are nestable and stack nicely on top of each other.
When I ordered them a couple of the lids where cracked in shipping, but Lee valley immediately replaced them with no hassle. They provided the best customer service I have had from any company all year, which basically sealed the deal in buying more from them as I expand my shop.
Right now, I am incredibly happy with the economy style of box, and they are meeting my shop’s needs. In the future, I may buy one or two of the other boxes to see what I am missing, and write an updated blog post to include them.
You can find the sorting bins here on Lee Valley’s website.
Here is the video of the rack build I had talked about