About a year ago I made an entry entitled "You Know You're In Deep When..." where I detailed some of the ways you can tell if your life is really consumed with the hobby. I pretty much can check off most all of the symptoms myself, as I'm probably in the realm of being considered "obsessed".
Just the other day it dawned on me that I missed a common situation when you are REALLY "In Deep". It always starts with "Now where did I put that thing?". You know the feeling, you are looking for a part that you may have stored or removed ages ago, and just can't find it anywhere! For me it seems to be almost a weekly (daily as of late!) ritual where I find myself roaming all of my bins and shelfs in search of that ONE part I need. It doesn't seem to matter how organized you are, when you get in too deep, you start to amass so much "stuff" that it's overwhelming to find it first try! I have so many projects that I'm currently working on, have waiting in the wings, or am finishing up.. that it happens all too often.
For instance, some of you may remember my first blog entry where I introduced myself, and my long term project, a 1976 VW Rabbit. This summer I've slowly started the process of sending items to be chromed, polished, or recoated for my suspension and engine bay. The next item for attention is the unique steering rack only found in the first 3 years of production of this car (which my car falls in). So naturally I go to my other shop where I store the car, lift the car cover.. and behold, there is no rack in the car. "Now where did I put that thing?" I dig further, and I find the tie rod assemblies from the rack, but no actual rack. I think a bit harder, and I have a vague memory of starting this process months ago, but no idea what happened to it. I know I'd never throw anything like that away.. but who knows where I put it "so it won't get lost". (Insert facepalm here)
After all of the searching it becomes apparent I must have really tucked it away good, and now I'm forced to shell out some real cash for a NOS (New Old Stock) steering rack. It's quite frustrating, but I know it will eventually turn up, and I'll still have a spare if I don't misplace it again!
After this last costly "misplacement", I've decided I need to take the time to really start organizing my parts for all of the projects I have going. Here are some ideas I currently use, or have used in the past. Feel free to share your crafty ideas that help save you time and limit "misplacing" things forever!
1.A large Bolt Bin and a Magnetic Bolt Tray- I think more than anything, it annoys me to no end when I can't find a bolt I need to put something back together. Buying one of those wall racks with all of the little bins to hold lots of nuts, bolts, and hardware, has really saved me some time. In it I have all of my hardware sorted in the use for the bolt. So all sheet metal/self tapping screws together, all similar engine bolts together, lugnuts in another bin, etc. Only downside is it makes it even easier for friends to come over and snag bolts for their projects!
2.Stackable Large Plastic Bins- You can get these from your local department store, or even check with local retail stores that may get them in shipments. Sometimes they have older ones they will give you for free. They stack nicely to save space and have been the #1 thing that's made assembling a car easier for me. I like to sort the bins by the section of the car they are for (interior small bits, engine parts hard parts, fueling parts, exterior trim, etc), or I separate the bins by the car that the parts are for. It's nice when you are reassembling a car to have the one or two bins you need right there with everything easily accessible. Additionally, separating the small items into labeled ziploc bags within these bins really makes things tidy.
3. Drum or Crates- This is another item you might be able to score for free. Especially if you know anyone that works at a garage, or in a warehouse that might get large plastic, metal, or wood crates/drums. These can be used to organize everything from heavy/clunky parts like alternators, brake parts, etc., or even mass storage in a drum for all of your random wiring you have ( always keep spare wiring/harnesses around in case you need connectors, bits of wiring for repairs, etc).
Those 3 ideas have helped me in the past, but I obviously need to revisit my storage and organization to find some more ideas. I'd love to hear your ideas, so feel free to share!