Stuff

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HacDC has lots of stuff. More stuff is always coming in. HacDC has a limited amount of space. Some stuff has to go out.

The trick is to save what's most useful, and to be able to find it when you need it. What follows is an organizational scheme that's worked well in my (Myself/Nate) life, and I think it'll apply here since the types of stuff are nearly identical.

There are a few basic rules:

  • Label everything.
  • If a label isn't clear, rewrite it.
  • When a box fills up, either:
    • Split it into subcategories and label them.
    • Purge some stuff from the box.
    • Move it into a larger box.

Simply put: A place for everything, and everything in its place.

See also: Inventory, Components Store, Resource Disposal

Without further ado, here are the categories and subcategories that've worked for keeping a massive pile of stuff under control:


  • Consumer Gear
    • Video: TVs, VCRs, DVD players
    • Audio: Boomboxes, tape decks, CD players, speakers, headphones
    • A/V cables and adapters, RF modulators
    • Game consoles, games, controllers
    • Cellular phones, cables, cases, earpieces
    • POTS phones, answering machines
    • Kitchen appliances
    • Wallwarts, small power adapters, battery chargers
    • Gadgets (catch-all. Pagers? Thermometers? etc!)
  • Office Supplies
    • Packing supplies: boxes, foam peanuts, bubblewrap, clear tape
    • Pens, markers, paper, envelopes, stamps, stapler
    • Bottles, boxes, baggies, bins
  • Supplies (physically in a project but not always on the BOM)
    • Heatshrink tubing
    • Ty-raps, string, electrical tape
    • Chemicals, cleaners, anticorrosive compound
    • Paint
  • Materials (primarily identified by properties)
    • Wood
    • Plastic
    • Metal
    • Rope and chain
  • Parts (primarily identified by dimensions)
    • Wood and sheetmetal screws
    • Machine screws, nuts, washers
    • Brackets, wheels, swivels
    • Chassis parts, project boxes
    • Bezels, knobs, feet, sticky nonskid
    • Switches, buttons
  • Components (primarily identified by electrical values)
    • Resistors, potentiometers
    • Capacitors
    • Inductors and transformers, ferrite cores and beads
    • Sensors
    • LEDs, gauges, indicators, displays
    • Discrete semiconductors: diodes, transistors, FETs, varactors
    • Simple ICs: gates, buffers, optoisolators
    • Complex ICs: microcontrollers, memory, PAL/GAL/FPGA
  • Prototyping supplies
    • Breadboards, perfboard
    • Jumper wire
    • Connector breakout adapters
    • Dev kits, demo boards
    • Etching supplies and bare board
  • Cabling
    • D-sub connectors
    • Modular connectors (RJ45, RJ11, MMJ, Lego NXT)
    • D-sub to modular adapters (Cisco console adapters, etc)
    • Other connectors and adapters
    • Serial/parallel cables (D-sub, standard pinouts)
    • Wacky cables (UPS pinouts, etc. Keep separate and tag!)
    • USB/Firewire cables
    • VGA/DVI/KVM cables
    • Cable tester (see wishlist)
    • Power cords
  • PC Stuff
    • Vanilla desktop machines and cases
    • Motherboards
    • PCI cards
    • ATX power supplies
    • RAM and CPUs
    • Heatsinks, fans, thermal goop, retention clips
    • Optical drives, internal and external
    • Hard drives, internal and external
    • Floppy and tape drives
      • Media: floppy, tape, CD, DVD, punchcards ;)
    • Laptops
      • chargers
      • PCMCIA cards
      • flash memory, CF-to-IDE and CF-to-SATA adapters
      • docking stations
    • Monitors
    • Printers
    • Keyboards, mice, joysticks
    • USB devices other than the above
    • SCSI cables, adapters, terminators
    • Power supply tester, POST diagnostic cards (see wishlist)
  • Embedded hardware
    • PC/104
    • CompactPCI and VME
    • PCISA and PICMG backplanes and SBCs
  • Non-X86 machines
    • Funky monitor adapters
  • Networking
    • Hubs, switches, routers
    • Bulk cat-5 and cat-6 cable (see wishlist)
    • Wireless accesspoints, routers, and bridges
    • Modems, access servers (portmasters)
  • RF
    • Bulk coax cable
    • Assembled cables and pigtails
    • Raw connectors and tooling (see wishlist)
    • Adapters, Unidapt kit(s)
    • Terminators, dummy loads, attenuators
    • Transceivers, receivers, modems
    • Duplexers, diplexers, splitters, combiners
    • Antennae and mounting hardware
    • Test gear, analyzers
  • Tools
    • Hand tools: screwdrivers, pliers, cutters
    • Power tools: drills, saws, routers (the other kind!)
      • batteries and chargers
    • Blades, bits, tips
    • Soldering irons and supplies
    • Safety: Earmuffs, earplugs, glasses, faceshields, gloves
  • Power
    • Extension cords
    • Benchtop power supplies
    • Battery chargers and analyzers (see wishlist)
    • Banana plugs, test leads, alligator clip leads
    • 12-volt stuff: lighter sockets and extensions
    • Powerpole connectors, adapters

There. Simple, ain't it?