Saturday, 16 April 2011

Box file labelling project

After many years of messing around with various sizes of boxes, tool boxes and drawers I have now reached the point where most of my toys live in box files.  Specifically, all the 20mm (WW2), 15mm Napoleonic & Modern Africans, 6mm Ancients, some terrain and various other odds and ends. 
This has the dual benefits of making shelving and transport easier to arrange.  I started using box files in the early 1990s and their numbers, in an entirely predictably way, rapidly grew out of control.  The true horror of this was brought home to me when I moved house five years ago and I decided to shift the box files by car.  My initial delusion that I would only need a single trip evaporated rapidly when the car (a not very small VW Touran) was full, and the toy room far from empty.  Three trips later....
I started off labelling them when they only numbered about 20, and initially printed rather grand bespoke labels which I then glued onto the box files.  Needless to say this labour intensive system soon fell by the wayside and the post-it notes which succeeded them had a tendency to fall off.  Small hand-written labels served as an interim measure but a proper solution was clearly required!
A couple of years ago, therefore, I began creating sheets of suitably marked posting labels (I keep them in stock for business purposes) and the quality of these has taken a step forward with the acquisition last year of a colour laser printer.  I can now report that around 90% of my box files are labelled in this way.
Some of the British Megablitz toys.  I have, to an extent, been able to colour code the box files by nationality.  Most of the WW2 Brits are in silver boxes, French in blue, US green, German grey or black etc.  Most box files accommodate a division.
Italians - as their divisions are smaller, I can usually fit two in a box.  Some (infantry) divisions will fit in the half-height boxes.
Some of the WW2 Soviets - while the Rifle Corps (of 3-4 divisions) have a box each, because of the ever changing organisation of Tank Corps, Artillery Divisions and so on, other Soviet toys are boxed by category - 'Light Artillery Regiments', 'Heavy Tanks' etc.  Incidentally, the thing on the right which looks like a rifle barrel is in fact...a rifle barrel.  Of an airsoft AK.
All 3 boxes of Sudan toys. 
Some of the 6mm pointy-stick guys and a whole box of stands for 1/300 and 1/144 aircraft.

25 comments:

Paul´s Bods said...

OH OH!! Watch out. I started doing that and my wife looked at me and tapped her head with her pointy finger. I got the black marker out and carried on with that. Does look neat though...I´ll have to wait until she´s out for a while!! :-D
Cheers
Paul
PS...are you filing them by scale and cross referencing for era, unit strength, early or late war period..:-D

Tim Gow said...

Filing? You overestimate my level of organisation! The WW2 stuff is on one side of the room, grouped by nationality, and that's about it.

Paul´s Bods said...

:-D Good man...that´s as far as I got!
Cheers
Paul

Biff Tanner said...

Good luck i hate labeling and organizing

Tim Gow said...

The whole labelling process was simply intended to make finding particular units and toys slightly less of a box file lottery.

Paul said...

I envy your organisation approach, sadly I too am in need of a tune up. Maybe one day...

Don M said...

I have so far to go.....
I'm happy if I get the right troops
on the same shelves !

Ross Mac said...

Snazzy looking labels! I like the flags.

Trebian said...

As someone who is naturally disorganised and untidy I too use box files and I'm rigidly disciplined about labelling them up and putting in dividers. The consequence of not doing this is that my hobby will descend into complete chaos.

But then I'm clearly an amateur in terms of numbers and variety....

Tim Gow said...

Paul
It's all a facade - everything else is still in chaos!

peter said...

Let's see. I have stuff on two atticks, one room on the first floor, then another place where I paint, all filled with boxes of unpainted and painted figures of different periods.
Just call it CHAOS :-D
So I like the idea of what you're TRYING to do Tim :-D

Greetings
Peter

Tim Gow said...

Don M
Getting all the toys in one room was my real breakthrough!

Tim Gow said...

Ross Mac
The labels were created using MS Publisher - the flags and other images are a combination of clip art and internet-sourced.

Tim Gow said...

Trebian
Actually it was your box file labels which inspired mine!

Tim Gow said...

Peter
It has been a long term project - motivated largely by the desire to spend less time rummaging in dozens of boxes looking for a particular model.

Arquinsiel said...

This may be exactly what I am looking for to solve my storage space problems... I may have to look into this.

Tim Gow said...

Arquinsiel
I can't think of a better solution for 15 & 20mm toys.

Sun of York said...

I would like to see how you have organised or packed your figures and models within the boxes. Is a photo possible?

I too use box files, but inside things are free to move about which causes problems. I have a box that I conveted by putting in dividers and a top tray, but it's not perfect.

By the way, I have just started on my first Megablitz unit.

Tim Gow said...

Sun of York
I'll post some pics of box contents soon - any nationality preferred? What's your MB unit?

Sun of York said...

Here is the link to my first MB unit. I should have some more pictures soon. I'm still wrestling with exactly how I want to base them - mainly the vehicles; I'm so used to having them loose.

http://onesidedminiaturewargamingdiscourse.blogspot.com/2011/04/50th-northumbrian-infantry-division.html

Tim Gow said...

Sun of York
Great minds... I already have 50 Div - built about 15 years ago. I have dug out the box so I can photograph it and it's contents for you soon. There is a game on my table at present but as soon as it's cleared (later this week?) it'll be the turn of 50th.

Conrad Kinch said...

...moved in six weeks or so ago...still haven't gone near the box files...

Tim Gow said...

Conrad Kinch
After my last move it took me nearly 6 months to get them accessible, and a further 2 years to begin the labelling project. No rush.

Arquinsiel said...

Well, upon investigation the box files have turned out to be a resounding success. Much appreciated.

Tim Gow said...

Arquinsiel
Glad to hear it - I look forward to hearing more about your box file-related adventures.