If you’re anything like me, you’ve got the best intentions of being well-organized but theory never meets action. Car projects get purchased before a new 3-ring binder does and before you know it you’ve got a box stuffed full of random receipts, notes, flyers, and instruction booklets!

I’m here to encourage you that getting organized in the garage with your car projects is easy and will pay off in the long run. Continue reading for what I do as I learn and work on 4+ different garage projects… but first, here’s:

6 Benefits of Creating a Car Project Organizational System


  • You’ll always have records of part numbers when you need to purchase another one
  • Tracking how much $$$ you spend on your project is simple and is useful for insuring and re-sale
  • Easy-to-locate learnings and notes
  • Keeping parts manuals handy in case you need them again
  • Ability to look-up when work and maintenance was done
  • Being organized will help you to take over the world (insert menacing laugh here!)

I mean, technically, this simple car organization system could be used for any vehicle, classic project car or modern daily driver!

Here’s the simple organizational process I use in my garage…

  1. Each car has it’s own notebook
  2. Each car has it’s own folder for receipts

Car-Project Notebook


Originally I had tried making my Studebaker’s notebook fancy and part-scrapbook, but what I found was I never added to it because I wanted to make it look good! Instead, I started using an old notebook which happened to be lying around. You might find that having a single notebook for any car-related info/learnings/etc suffices, but I like to keep separate notebooks for each project car I’m working on.

Here’s what goes in my notebook:

  • Front section noting major car parts numbers & things I need to reference commonly
    • Having a hot rod means having parts from all sorts of years/make/models which can be hard to keep track of!
  • Start a new page with a date whenever I:
  • Tape in handy parts instructions/tech sheets whenever applicable
  • Rear pages with dedicated maintenance log for recurring items like oil change, tire rotation, etc.

Garage Receipts Easy File System


In addition to a car-project notebook, each car in our garage also has its own file folder that we keep inside a plastic file box that’s stored right by our tool bench. As soon as new parts are purchased, the receipt goes in the file folder attached to that project. It helps if you always put the receipt either in front of or behind the last receipt, because that’ll automatically keep them in dated order and super easy to locate.

Having receipts is great for: jogging your memory of exactly what parts & parts numbers were purchased, locate phone numbers to contact parts companies again, and providing verification if anything needs returned. Your handy car project receipt folder can also be used to sum up total $ spent at the end of a: project, year, month, or whatever milestone you want to use. Keeping track like this is helpful for obvious reasons, but can also be helpful documentation for insurance purposes or if you’re ever going to sell your project.

In my file I also keep a folder for tools purchased… we all know how those can add up over time! And if you’re like me with multiple cars, then having another folder where car titles/registration/insurance information is kept can be really helpful as well!

It’s really as simple as that! Getting organized doesn’t take a lot of time or effort but it’s one of those things that gets pushed aside – so use this as inspiration or a reminder to start now if you haven’t already!

What’s your system look like? Leave a comment with what works for you!

One Response

  1. Tony Colombini

    Kristin, this is a most fascinating and inspiring article! I LOVE IT. Thank you for sharing your organizational secrets, challenges and triumphs!!! Did I tell you I LOVE IT!?


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