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What to do with stuff you don't know with what to do?

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  • What to do with stuff you don't know with what to do?

    Sorry if this topic was addressed already in this forum. If it was can someone please provide a link?

    During processing, what do you do with physical "stuff" that needs to be kept for later use?

    For example, computer parts. I have spare cables, spare routers, a spare monitor, etc. These are things I would only need if the computer is having a problem. Currently I do not have a space allocated for these items. One of my current projects is to set up shelves in the storage area, but until that project is complete I am not sure where to put this stuff.

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

  • #2
    I've been trying to store this kind of physical stuff alphabetically in suitably sized containers. This works great for little components as I have a number of 4 by 4 plastic drawers which I can label and order A-Z. Slightly bigger things I store in a bookcase, again alphabetically, in plastic trays of the type used by chinese takeaways to deliver your food in (much to the amusement of visitors...)

    I try to keep physical support material for projects grouped together on shelves but this can take a hell of a lot of room because it's difficult to organise efficiently. Ideally I would like a big room with plenty of shelf space and a space for each of my projects that require physical "reference" stuff.

    Of course the project spaces would be ordered....... alphabetically.

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    • #3
      someday/maybes stuff

      Im not sure if you are organizing reference or if you dont know what to do with it... Jason Womack on the Gadget Show talked about renegotiating agreements with "the stuff". He suggested to box it all up and label it as a someday/maybe in your system. that way there is a periodic review, but its not on your psychic RAM.

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      • #4
        I would use a reference system like this:
        http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...ight=infoindex

        and substitute "hardware" for "paper" and "rubbermaid container" for "file".

        "For loose pieces of hardware, she put a number on them and put them into a single labeled rubbermaid storage container with lid. When she wanted to find something, she'd enter the search words into Word, and eventually find what she was after. If it had a number, she looked in the container. If it was a book, she'd entered its shelf location. If it was a file, she had its cabinet and drawer number."

        Tom

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        • #5
          For storing physical stuff, I use ziploc bags (of various sizes) these are then placed in a storage box (a.k.a. bankers box - clear plastic from Staples). For bigger items, I use clear soft plastic containers that are designed for clothing or bedding. Some of these come in really big sizes and would hold a monitor.

          If I need to further id the contents, I either write (directly or via blue painters tape) on the bag or place a tag within the bag. Simple, effective and makes retival a breeze.

          It also helps to go through this "stuff" and trash/donate what you don't need. All to offen we end up with stuff that has no value now and has even less value in the future.

          Hope it helps.
          Last edited by ReBuild; 04-18-2006, 03:09 PM. Reason: typo

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          • #6
            The Container Store has a great deal on clear plastic shoe boxes; they are for storing shoes but they are a good size for storing hardware and other small things. They have some deal if you buy a dozen at a time.

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            • #7
              Plastic, see through "shoe box" size boxes

              Im not sure if you are organizing reference or if you dont know what to do with it... Jason Womack on the Gadget Show talked about renegotiating agreements with "the stuff". He suggested to box it all up and label it as a someday/maybe in your system. that way there is a periodic review, but its not on your psychic RAM.

              Hey all, I've got about 10 of these at home, in the "supply closet." And, although they are all plastic see-through boxes, I do put little labels on the outside:
              "ethernet cables"
              "batteries"
              "2-way radios"

              etc.

              Works like a charm, and I make that closet area part of my "quarterly review."

              Comment


              • #8
                Great advice everyone. Thanks for the input.

                On a slight tangent, my "supply closet" is a small unfinished area of my basement. One of my current Projects is "Add shelving to storage area in basement and garage." The first task for the project is "Decide whether to build shelves or buy them."

                Any one have experience in this area?

                Thanks.

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                • #9
                  In my garage, I currently have one Spaceglider unit and am planning to add two more this spring. Perhaps they would be useful for your situation?

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                  • #10
                    The spaceglider solution looks really good.

                    Turning to my own expirence - efla shelving from the container store.

                    Once the header bar is installed you add vertical rails and brackets plus shelving (either open wire or sold wood). The system/shelving is customizable - as your needs change move the shevling or add to it. Other manufactures also offer this type of system - Home Depot and Lowes have a whole range of "closet options".

                    From there you are getting into the sloted wall systems (ie Garage Teck). I'm currently looking at this for my garage.

                    On the question of buy or build, I recommend buying your selves. The folks at the container store will even design you a elf layout then print out a punch list of materials. The slightly higher cost of using a design service is off sets against the amount of time you have to spend designing and ensuring you have all the parts. Remeber D.I.Y always requires 3 trips to the hardware store. For installation, elf is a D.I.Y process, which can be done in a couple of hours.

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                    • #11
                      Having installed elfa shelving from The Container Store twice in the last few months, I can attest to the quality of their products and their service.

                      And their design service is free.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Tom R
                        I would use a reference system like this:
                        http://www.davidco.com/forum/showthr...ight=infoindex

                        and substitute "hardware" for "paper" and "rubbermaid container" for "file".

                        "For loose pieces of hardware, she put a number on them and put them into a single labeled rubbermaid storage container with lid. When she wanted to find something, she'd enter the search words into Word, and eventually find what she was after. If it had a number, she looked in the container. If it was a book, she'd entered its shelf location. If it was a file, she had its cabinet and drawer number."

                        Tom
                        Amazing, how often I find that an idea I came up with has already been thought of I have a system like this, with transparent plastic boxes on shelves, columns in Excel etc. As I use ActiveWords, I can go to my PC (which is 6 feet from the shelves, on the opposite wall, type "filing" and hit F9, and up comes the list. Then it's CTRL-F and enter a keyword to find something by what I call "bin number". I think, by the way, that the date is vital. It enables me to sort the spreadsheet by date and identify stuff that's been hanging around too long and probably isn't needed.

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                        • #13
                          little suggestions

                          If you use the items often or in critical situations, store at point of use, even if the items are unmatched. Otherwise, store like with like. Doubles are handy but a little extravagent depending on one's budget. Label on all sides and on top. Also label were the item goes back to if you are forgetful like I am.

                          When buying containers, make sure that what you are storing will in fact fit into them and likewise that shelving, if the shelves are "fixed" , will accomodate the containers. I found "tote boxes" large enough but only two could fit on a certain shelf system because of the location of the support columns but with another brand, three could fit. These shelves were the same size. Also, decide if you want handles that protrude or not. Also, sometimes cardboard boxes are really advantagous. Often free, you can find like-sized boxes and stack them and make a hole in the front to put items in as you find or sort them. That way you don't have to pull them out and remove the lids.

                          Beware of over-subdividing, espeically on things that are not used often.

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