Storing components

I don’t know if this is related to the terrible weather we are having here but I’ve received several questions regarding how I store my electronic components from people who have decided to rearrange and sort their electronic components.

Traditionally parts are stored in small storage drawers with a label on the front, so they can be quickly located and accessed. This is fine for a limited variety of parts but I’ve been collecting junk… err I mean valuable and sometimes rare items, for over 40 years, and I’ve a lot of stuff. Whilst I’ve got modest quantities of common components like resistors and capacitors in assorted values, there are some components that I’ve only got one or two of, and it’s a waste of drawer space to hold one weird diode I pulled from some vintage TV set 25 years ago.

So, I have storage drawers for my “bread-and-butter”, frequently used components, and the rest go into zip-lock storage bags. Each bag has a number on it, and then the bag is placed into a plastic tote (large plastic storage box with a lid), and the details entered into a spreadsheet.

Bag number, bag location, part number, number of parts, and some other details like if I’ve a datasheet for it in my datasheet disk archive, are all entered into an Excel spreadsheet.

When I want a part I just search my spreadsheet and it tells me in an instant if I’ve got the part, and where it’s located.

The bags don’t have to be in any numeric order, as long as each bag has a unique number or code on it, and you record exactly where the bag is. ON a couple of occasions I’ve moved bags around to even up the tote fill levels or merge / split totes up as required and it’s just a simple matter to update the spreadsheet for each bag you move.

You can start small with just a shoe box for your bags and as your collection grows, upgrade to larger storage boxes. I like the large plastic totes because they are strong enough to allow me to stack them quite high and they keep the dust and damp out of those totes that are stored in the garage.

Hope it helps.

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