Organizing the hobby shop

Somehow I seem to have collected an assortment of tiny packets of detail parts to rival many hobby shops. There are enough windows and doors to see me through a lifetime of model-making, parts I will never require for locomotives (diesel and steam) I’m unlikely to build, some potentially useful parts for cars, generic parts like nut-bolt-washers that I use all the time and more. There is even a couple of bags of cats!

Up until now, I have squeezed all the packages into two ugly plastic drawers, which have lurked for years out of sight above the layout. Every time I’ve wanted to find something, it has meant flicking through every package, like shopping for records without the titillating cover art. To make matters worse, the drawers wouldn’t open all the way, and so, if I was really serious I would have to take the last twenty or so packets out to see what they contained.

Matters came to a head a couple of weeks ago when I was looking for some chain for the flat cars’ brakes. I was certain at least one package of chain was in there, yet I went through both drawers twice to no avail. If you can’t find something, you may as well not own it.

The Girl and I were shopping for Tombow markers at Michaels last weekend, and they had a big pile of photo boxes. I walked one over to the measuring tape where they cut fabric to confirm it would be deep enough, and sure enough, it was. So, for $6, I walked out with two plain white boxes.

I cut some dividers from Bristol board, and then sorted all the packages into coarse categories. Within the categories, the packages are then sorted by type – all nut-bolt-wash castings arranged by size, for example. One of the boxes is for parts for buildings, and the other is for rolling stock. So next time when I’m looking for chain, I should be able to find it with minimal browsing.

The plastic drawers have been banished to the garage, where I will no doubt fill them up with parts for large-scale projects I may never undertake. At least they’re out of the house.

2 thoughts on “Organizing the hobby shop

  1. Those detail parts packets certainly do add up. I love buying them, but I’m terrible at keeping them organized. I have a couple of those plastic organizers with lots of little drawers that are used for small parts. But they also end up in two different catch all drawers, or in one of my totes. It’s a PITA finding things sometimes.

    Looks like you’ve tackled the problem for now.

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