How do you organize your projects?

Philip H Mar 1, 2024

  1. Philip H

    Philip H TrainBoard Member

    One of the many things I had on my Winter Layout Party plan - which did not come to fruition - was better organizing my space. A bigish part of that was trying to figure out a better way to organize my underway projects. Currently I have a cut down copier paper box with project loco and cars, two sets of plastic snap together "lunchboxes" which house other projects and some or all of their parts; and at least 1.5 plastic shoe bins with lids for other rolling stock and vehicle projects.


    It makes it hard to see what I have accumulated much less to take something out and work on it. The lack of order is a mental barrier to working on the layout.

    So, here's my challenge - show us how you organize your projects. Any and all solutions welcome.

    to quote a semi-famous podcast "Subway chimes ... go!"
  2. HemiAdda2d

    HemiAdda2d Staff Member TrainBoard Supporter

    Define organize?:ROFLMAO::ROFLMAO:
    I know where everything is, until I don't...
    cbg, SLSF Freak, SP-Wolf and 3 others like this.

    BNSF FAN TrainBoard Supporter

    Peg board over the work bench and now on my work cart for the tools and parts has helped an awful lot. It does free up room for things in progress.
    To me, it's still messy but has been worse.

    I use a lot of these medicine bottles for smaller parts. They are all about the same size and easy to label (like I usually forget to do)

    Containers like this for paints and bigger projects. Fairly cheap at the Dollar... oh wait, I mean the dollar + 25 cents store. They are space hogs but work well. Reminds me that I really need to make a paint rack and one for those medicine bottle storage units too.

    I use notebooks with those clear pages to store decals, one for styrene, reference materials, and other flat items.

    I'll tell ya Phillip, all that helps some but what has really helped me the most was finally making up my mind to finish up my older projects and get down to where I only have a few going at any given time. That doesn't work for everyone and I struggle with it as I often have very bad cases of Shiny Object Syndrome and tend to stray before forcing myself to get back on track. :)
  4. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

    Much like the others here - pill containers for small parts, bigger plastic bins to put couplers, paints, various extra parts, electronic parts, static grass doohickey stuff, etc. etc. I have one or two plastic bins to put current projects and their associated parts in.

    Organization is also planning - to a certain extent. I use an Excel file for maintaining my roster (road, road number, status, Kadee'd or not, photographed or not, weight, etc.) and plan "work orders" to execute on my roster and layout. There's even a page on how much weight I need to add to a freight or passenger car to bring them up to NMRA standards and how many pennies that represents. So far the best way to keep track of the many, many things that are either in progress, planned or done.
  5. MRLdave

    MRLdave TrainBoard Member

    I'm lucky to have a lot of space. I have 2 tables in my train room.....each end of each table is a "work area". One area is set up for DCC/loco work, the other end of the table is for car work....trucks/couplers/ect. One is where I work on buildings, and the last area is for misc. which includes vehicle kits . I try to never have more than 2 projects going in each area. For each area I have drawers to store things for that the table for locos and cars share a small screwdriver set, some glue, MT couplers and trucks, ect. The area for buildings has saws, exacto knives, assorted paints, ect. I seldom need to steal stuff from another area.....they are each pretty self sufficient. By limiting to 2 projects per area, it sort of forces me to complete projects. I don't have shelves of things I started and then left. I probably wouldn't even do 2 projects, but my main focus has been buildings for the layout, and they frequently have a lot of "down time".......glue walls, then wait for glue to dry.......then paint, and wait for paint to dry.........then more glueing, and more waiting. So I frequently move from area to area, or have 2 buildings going and move back and forth. In that case the parts for each kit remain in their original box.
  6. jwaldo

    jwaldo TrainBoard Member

    Things I've finished go carefully into foam-lined storage boxes. Things I'll get to eventually live in a stack of cardboard boxes. Things I'm actively working on cove almostr every horizontal surface of my apartment like a layer of very coarse dust.
  7. Grey One

    Grey One TrainBoard Supporter

    One 'railroad car' project at a time.
    I choose the practice tranfer caboose.
    The next '1 car project' will be the functional version.
    It is laid out in a large *shallow*, (vertical 6"), box with one side that folds down over the edge of the table.
    Fold it up and carry everything back to the train room.
    That is the only way I can do it.

    Terrain and figure painting are relageted to sheets of foam.
  8. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    One project at a time. That makes it a lot easier for me to stay organized, motivated and within budget.
  9. Doug Gosha

    Doug Gosha TrainBoard Member

    I have a strict policy of insisting all projects are someplace in the house.

  10. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

    come on guys PICS or it didnt completely unorganized ......i use these containers that have handles ,dont remember where i got them . I think it was wally world an i also use pill bottles for smaller stuff everything else is in boxes that are in boxes ect...
    remember we like PICS.............

    Attached Files:

  11. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    Most things I simply have a place for. A tool box with drawers house all my fastracks supplies, while wiring supplies and tools go in clear totes. Once track laying starts most related supplies and tools end up on the plywood pacific.

    I organize my efforts with hit lists. They are not prioritized but rather are items jotted down to motivate me as I progress. I usually create a new list every month and many tasks are moved to the new list.
    Mike VE2TRV, BNSF FAN and CNE1899 like this.
  12. sidney

    sidney TrainBoard Member

    tell me more about these hit list im interested to see if that could help me . im bad about not staying motivated....
    Mike VE2TRV and BNSF FAN like this.
  13. jhn_plsn

    jhn_plsn TrainBoard Supporter

    I simply have a list on a clipboard that I add to and line through tasks as completed. No numbers or letters as they are not prioritized.
    sidney, Mike VE2TRV and BNSF FAN like this.
  14. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

    OK... OK... Call it organized disorganization. Orderly chaos. A tidy mess. :p

    Everything is in plastic bins or totes or pill bottles. It's those containers that are piled up pell-mell all over the place... :whistle:

    At least the containers are labeled. :D

    Rule #1 of tidying up and storing things in their place: you won't remember where the heck you put them.:oops:

    Rule #2: when you're looking for something, you'll stumble upon what you didn't find the last time around...:LOL:
    Doug Gosha and BNSF FAN like this.
  15. Glenn Butcher

    Glenn Butcher TrainBoard Member

    I've got a small space for doing work, so I have to make the work move-able to accommodate other work. To that end, I use these cheap small lunch trays I originally bought for 3D printing:


    So, when i want to use the lathe/mill, I just move the tray to the shelf on the back of the bench (not pictured), frees up the space to schlep the lathe/mill from the nearby bookshelf (not pictured) to the workplace (pictured).

    All the tools I'm using, or recently used, are kept in the carefully organized clutter in the top-right...

    These trays have their shortcomings, the bottom is warped so stuff rolls around. I like the size; however, gonna keep my eye out for something like it in a different, less-warpy, material.

    BTW, the trays work like a treat for 3D printing. I use one to move prints around as I post-process them, and I use one to store each vat I have filled with particular resins. I even made a rack for them, fits in the duct-ventilated cabinet where the printer lives:


    Yellow tray is my move-around tray, in the top-right of the cabinet is the vat rack. Got two vats going right now, red one is the last of my very first bottle of resin, black, and the white one is my current printing resin, gray. Can't see 'em here, but the vats have covers, came with the extra vats I bought.
  16. Kitbash

    Kitbash TrainBoard Supporter

    My organization is a (ahem, cough) "general grouping" of schtuff I need around me while working on a project. The goal is to minimize how many times I have to get up out of my bench chair and go grab something. So I have a top drawer to my left on the bench and a top drawer to my right. Both full of tools, goodies, and who knows what that I bet each and every one of us has for the most part. Then of course I have the "schtuff" on TOP of the bench like sanding sticks, tweezers, ventilation fan, soldering station, Kapton tape dispenser, stapler, old coffee cups w/ scissors, twist drills, hemostat clamps, a small hardware bin w/ mini-drill bits, Dremel parts/bits/collets, who knows what. Then there is the disaster bin above where I have more tape, glues, straight-pins, wire bending tools, phosphor bronze wire, glues, super-glue de-bonder, accelerators, Wahl oil, probably some old wine bottles, and sure other stuff I don't even want to know about.

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