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How to Organize Your Hobby Tools
Organization is always a problem among hobbyists. Where do you keep your tools? How do you display your collections and creations? Without proper storage space, the “relaxing” hobby has turned into a stressful, unmanageable mess.
Of course, the most serious and dedicated hobbyists can have a room or closet custom-fitted to hold all their tools and equipment. Into woodwork? Racks can be installed to hang carpentry equipment, and drawers divided into small compartments can carry the small details such as screws and ornaments. Scrap bookers can buy cabinets especially designed to hold the odd-sized papers, embellishments, and stickers. Many of these cabinets are modular, so you can add items as you need them. (Given that a real scrap booker will never come home from a scrapbook store without new stock, you may need to add pretty frequently!) The same goes for those who are interested in cross stitching. In fact, there are stores that sell an entire system that includes a lamp and magnifying glass for those fine stitches.
However, those who are just experimenting with hobbies (or are trying to stick to a tight budget or work in a small space) may not yet be willing to spend a lot of money on a full storage system. How, then, can you stay organized?
The first step is to identify the tools you frequently use, the specialized tools you occasionally use, and supplies for next projects that you won’t be touching for a few more weeks or months. Segregate them, then store in different boxes. Keep your favorite equipment by your regular work area, within easy reach. For example, do you like assembling your models in the kitchen area, where the light is good and you have a lot of space to work on? Then place your box in that room, where you can grab it when you’re ready to “play”. The less frequently used items can be placed in another box, which you’ll open only when you need it, while the others can be hidden away in a closet. Always label a box. If you have many boxes, you can also label the contents—“Christmas embellishments” for example.
You may need a big box to carry all your things, but don’t pour everything in where it can get all tangled and jumbled up. For example, get a smaller box for your scrapbook eyelets and buttons, and a small bag for your small scissors and acid-free glue. Divide them according to your work process. Which tools will you use together? Which accessories will you end up comparing, matching, combining? Don’t make too many complicated subcategories that you’ll have a hard time keeping track of where to put something back.
You can also buy small Ziploc bags or clear boxes, so you can find what you need without actually having to open them. They should be the right size so that they don’t bulge or pop open, and you can return things without any hassle. It’s more tempting to throw everything back into a box if organizing takes too much time and effort. The key is to make the compartmentalization as easy and fast as possible. After all, the hobby is supposed to be relaxing…so should packing up.
About the Author: Philip Nicosia is the webmaster of Resources.eu.com an online resource centre covering many topics including hobbies.