So I've collected a bunch of "stuff". Probably too much, but I have some ways to keep it organized that means I can have a very sizeable inventory of tools and materials that is still manageable, findable and clean.
Sort and label everything. I use a USB labeler so I can have a real keyboard. I hooked it up to a little bot so I can make labels from my phone. I try to get things into the smallest unit possible (Micro USB cables not "USB") when I actually take the time to sort through bins, which is when I'm frustrated with their clutter.
I keep an empty bin for "to be sorted" in 2 different places, and when I can't shove any more crap into it, I sort it.
Clear latching sterilite Bins. They Stack, they close, they're clear, they fit well on shelves and in my larger box of choice. I've had my first ones for a decade and I can't tell which are old and which came last week. The latches are the most fragile part
Akro-Mills round trip boxes. Big grey bins on movers storage wheels for the awkwardly sized but not-often-used things like camping gear or household electrical equipment.
Akro-Mills storage drawers for small parts like through-hole resistors, switches, nuts and bolts, chap stick and earbud rubbers. I have 12 drawers in rolling cabinets that are about 70% full.
Everything on wheels. I built rolling cabinets for bins or have otherwise utilized rolling carts for my desk, server rack, assembly tables, couch, everything in the basement. Things can be densely piled up but still easy to get to, and off the ground "just in case" for the 3 days a year it gets wet down there.
The Bad: SMD parts. Surface mount parts can be less than 1 milimeter on their longest length. These are one of the hardest things I have to organize because they are very small but their packaging usually isn't. I think that a very small card catalog + small envelopes is as close as I have come to the idealized solution for my home shop, likely a filing cabinet would be a better choice for a small team.
Hand tools. I need to make some first-order storage for my hand tools: chisels, clamps, planes, screwdrivers, hammers and pliers. The toolbox was great, but is now overflowing, which makes it much less useful. If it's hard to find, it's hard to use.
23rd August 2020
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I'm Issac. I live in Oakland. I make things for fun and money. I use electronics and computers and software. I manage teams and projects top to bottom. I've worked as a consultant, software engineer, hardware designer, artist, technology director and team lead. I do occasional fabrication in wood and plastic and metal. I run a boutique interactive agency with my brother Kasey and a roving cast of experts at Kelly Creative Tech. I was the Director of Technology for Nonchalance during the The Latitude Society project. I was the Lead Web Developer and then Technical Marketing Engineer at Nebula, which made an OpenStack Appliance. I've been building things on the web and in person since leaving Ohio State University's Electrical and Computer engineering program in 2007. Lots of other really dorky things happened to me before that, like dropping out of high school to go to university, getting an Eagle Scout award, and getting 6th in a state-wide algebra competition. I have an affinity for hopscotch.