At this point my collection of Chaos Toy sets is fairly large: I have a Tower Set, a Starter Set, an Intermediate Set, and two Master sets, plus some miscellaneous parts picked up along the way. That’s more than 1700 parts, and it fills 3 storage tubs, and then some. After working with Steve Jackson’s machine and the Penguicon machine, I really appreciate the merits of organization, so I set out to organize my machine (or at least the parts).
The first stop was at WalMart, where I located a set of modular latch boxes, made by Sterilite. The boxes I selected come in a variety of sizes (2.5qt-12.5qt), and they all stack together neatly. They’re transparent, with lids that latch shut. Unfortunately Sterilite has discontinued the boxes I chose, but that just means that I was able to get a good price for them. Also at WalMart I picked a Rubbermaid storage tub that was just the right size to stack the latch boxes.
The next stop was Lowes, where I picked up a pair of Stanley Deep Professional Organizers. These are made of heavy duty plastic, with individually removeable bins and a sturdy lid that snaps shut against the bins. When the lid is latched down, there’s no way for the parts in one bin to mingle with any of the other parts. This makes them ideal for organizing all of the small parts (ball joints, beam joints, bells, etc). It has 8 small bins, and 2 large bins. The Stanley organizers are about the same depth as the medium-size latch boxes, and two of them will fit side-by-side in one of the Rubbermaid tubs.
I took all of my finds home, and then started measuring parts to see which parts would fit in what containers. Then I went back to WalMart and bought two more storage tubs and enough of the latch boxes to fill the tubs. Then home again, to begin filling bins and boxes with parts.
As it happens, all of the parts fit neatly into the bins or boxes, except for two: the old screw-drive elevator motors and the long tubes from the Tower set. I keep these carefully stacked in one of the tubs (with latch boxes stacked to fill up the remaining space). I have a couple of boxes of medium and short tubes that don’t fit in the three storage tubs, but that’s ok — I don’t really need to take ALL of the parts to a convention … yet. And when I do, I’ll get another storage tub.
The only thing I need to do at this point is to get out the label maker and label each of the boxes and bins … and maybe print pictures of each part, to tape to the bins …