Getting Organized

One of the problems with a hobby is preventing it from taking over everything. I prefer things to be put away when not in use, which can be a challenge when you are working on a project. I also like to paint sub-assemblies, so a model will be in pieces until it’s finished. I have a few ways of keeping everything clean, organized and out of sight.

Books, clothes, gadgets, all of these things tend to accumulate. I find the best way to deal with clutter is to set a limit and be ruthless about throwing things away. In general I don’t own a lot of stuff. I use a kind of modular plastic box system for storage, like this:

The only thing I’d save from a fire.

My hobby stuff including paints, glues, rattle cans, tools etc. are all kept in one of these cubes. I also try to keep these boxes no more than 60% full; otherwise it becomes difficult to find things and the boxes are too heavy to move easily. When I am finished painting or modelling for the day everything is put away. I find a lack of clutter really helps to reduce general stress.

I really think this is a key point. There is an aphorism: relaxing isn’t doing nothing. It’s doing something you enjoy. I enjoy the hobby because it’s a relaxing way to be creative and I take satisfaction in seeing my skills improve. For me, if my hobby stuff wasn’t organized, it would just become a source of irritation and the enjoyment would be lost.

Due to my limited space I haven’t been buying things like the Betrayal at Calth Boxset. Although I will probably buy 30 marines, I simply don’t want the Terminators, characters or Dreadnaught. I suppose I could sell them but I’d still have to store them in the meantime and I’d almost certainly be shipping overseas as I live in Asia. So, I tend to buy from ebay.

Buying sprues tends to leave you with a lot of extra parts. They tend to come in handy so I don’t want to throw them away. They are small parts so storage isn’t a problem. However, it can be difficult to find things over even keep track of what you have. I tend to group things by type and store them in ‘baggies’. They come in a variety of sizes, are cheap and can be labeled easily. Everything then goes into a bag like this:

My bits box.

I find these bags also good for storing assembly instructions and decals. I live in a humid climate so keeping moisture out of the decal sheets is important. These are useful for storage in general. When I travel I put my clothes etc. into ziploc bags. It makes packing and unpacking much easier and also speeds up bag checking at customs. I also don’t have to worry about anything getting wet or dirty during transit.

Although I’ve said I put everything away, I’m going to contradict myself. When I’m batch painting, everything gets put away at the end of a session. But, when I’m working on a single miniature I’ll generally keep it out. When I’m painting I tend to mount my miniatures on a used deodorant stick with poster tack:

The only intersection of hobby and personal hygiene.

One of several YouTube Channels I like is IDICBeer. His videos are often shot on his work area. He covers projects he’s working on with an empty ice cream box to keep off the dust and prevent accidents. I like the idea and ice cream, but I don’t have a dedicated work area. So I usually just cover the mounted miniature with a baggie. I often have sub assembles glued to wooden skewers, stuck into a small block of polystyrene. The benefit of that is that you can seal the bags around the sticks and put them away without worrying about chipping, braking or losing anything.

As my collection of finished miniatures grows, I have a bit of a conundrum. How to store them? I want to be able to take them in and out easily, but also protect them from damage. I may also want to transport them to games in the future. This is what I’ve come up with:

Battlefoam for sandwiches

The idea is to use them upside down. I won’t be pinning my miniatures to their bases, so I’ll glue a washer to the underside of each base and put some magnet tape inside the lid of the box. Tuppaware comes in a variety of sizes so I’ll be able to find one to fit any kind of squad. They are also stackable, which will make storage really easy.


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