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My personal lab at home is a total mess!

I was keeping my inventory items in small storage cabinets like below:
enter image description here

But as my inventory expanded in time, they became inadequate to hold all of my items neatly. My work space at home is limited, so I don't want to fill up my room with more cabinets.

I filled 100, 1k, 10k, 100k,... resistors to a cabinet. 47, 470, 4.7k,... resistors to another. This way, all similar resistors to one separate cabinet. All capacitors to another. Transistors, voltage regulators, inductors, ICs, connectors, etc to separate cabinets. For example, when I need a specific BJT in TO-92 package, I have to search among all those TO-92 transistors for minutes with a magnifier in my hand.

The ones in the cabinet are the most frequently used ones. There are much more items stuffed in packs, waiting to be organized someday...

Is this mess normal for someone working at small space like me?

Also, how do I keep stock control of my equipment? Should I prefer a computer software for this?

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In my experience, no matter what the size of the space, electrical engineering = mess. You spend a day or two every couple of months cleaning and organizing and making everything look nice. And within a week, entropy takes over.

For resistors, capacitor and other small parts, I prefer binders with plastic sheets that are subdivided. Similar to those used for baseball cards or coin collecting. I find they take up less space and allow you to find what you need with a quick glance. Especially if stored in value order.

For bigger components like ICs and larger capacitors, I use plastic bins with adjustable subdividers. Same principle as the binders but the bins work better for parts that are less "flat" than resistors and certain types of capacitors.

As for "stock control" I've never had the time to implement a good system. If I'm out, I just jump on DigiKey or Mouser and wait for the new parts to show up. But you can go crazy trying to emulate a larger shop and get a barcode reader and print out your own barcodes. Then you just need to find or write software to manage everything. For home use though, I think that inventory management is a little overkill.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Olin conquers entropy. If someone can invent a bottle of spray on or wipe on Olin anti entropy solution the world would be a tidier place. And a better place? That's open to discussion of course :-)*. But definitely tidier. (* I am a strong entropy source . Anything more Olin like organisationally is less me like. For either to be better implies the other is worse. A decision that probably doesn't have to be made. ) \$\endgroup\$ – Russell McMahon Jun 18 '12 at 21:04
  • \$\begingroup\$ @RussellMcMahon I'm fairly new to this site so I have yet to be witness to "Olin-anti-entropy" (patent pending?). But any EE that can maintain a tidy workspace has my undying respect. I hope he shares some of his magic. It doesn't look like he weighed in on the above mentioned possible duplicate. \$\endgroup\$ – embedded.kyle Jun 18 '12 at 21:25
  • \$\begingroup\$ agreed, every place I have worked has attempted to organize their EE parts, but there are always at least a couple of big boxes of unorganized mess, but that may be used in the future. The best bet is to organize what will truly save you time throughout your day (common passives, IC's) as best you can and keep the rest of it accessible to dig through later (imho)! (I am not sure how BIG companies do it though) \$\endgroup\$ – justing Jun 19 '12 at 5:24
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I have discovered one very nice solution for small parts. The "half letter" or A5 binders 1 inch thick. Full letter sized or A4 will be too large. They are kind of expensive if you buy too many. But they look very neat, have different colors and can stack on a book shelf.

There are many 3-hole punched plastic pocketed inserts/envelopes for parts big and small, with zippers or just clear pockets. I will eventually find the source with cheap enveloped inserts and fulfill my dream of organizing the storage.

enter image description here

Yeah. and I can not wait for when I get rid of this oversized plastic boxes, they are just poorly designed and occupy too much space.

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