There are countless reasons why you should organzine all your damn bits. You are less likely to lose them if they are appropriately stored. You are more likely to use them if you can easily retrieve them. You can quickly brainstorm conversions if there is an easy way to see the options available. Selling or trading bits becomes far more feasible if there is some efficient method to stock of your inventory. And, most importantly, your workspace becomes less of a mess.
I have been collecting Games Workshop kits and saving as many of the spare bits as possible since I was a kid. I am from New Orleans, and have part of my bits collection that was actually salvaged from our flooded home post Hurricane Katrina! I have had random kits given to me over the years as gifts that I had no practical use for (like an old Warhammer Fantasy castle terrain piece even though I have never played Fantasy). Other bits were found at garage sales or as stores cleared out their dusty stock of old-school metal blister packs. Plus, I am a total pack rat and never, ever toss out a sprue if there is a single part still on it. So, in short I have had a pile of sprues and boxes and bits taking over my hobby workspace and flowing into my wife’s yoga sanctuary. With a baby on the way, and my wife and I giving up an entire room to this new family member, the time finally came to get my crap under control. Here are the best tricks I have found to keeping your spare sprues, random kits and all those bits organized:
Tackle/tool boxes for individual bits: Go to any big box mart or shop online for cheapo multi compartment tackle boxes. Or look for the similar boxes designed to hold screws, nails, etc in the hardware section. These will instantly make organizing bits not only easy…but almost …almost… enjoyable. Sit down in front of some Tiger King or Game of Thrones with a pile of sprues and clip off the last few bits left on the spues. Then store them in their own dedicated compartment in one of these boxes. All the spare Space Marine heads go in one compartment, all the spare pouches go in another and so on. I have a tackle box or two for the various armies, making it super easy to find what I need. There are a few things to look for when getting these boxes. Make sure they are clear. They need to have a lid that closes securely. Ideally the internal dividers have no space for tiny bits to slip under. If they are stackable, then that is a huge plus. I would also lean on the side of getting multiple smaller boxes than a massive one.
Ziplock bags for any sprues with lots of bits on it: These are far more space efficient then keeping models in bulky boxes. And by these bags being clear, you can see exactly what sprues you have and what bits are left of each sprue. I group all the same type of sprues, or all the sprues from similar kits, into a single bag to keep things easy to find. So I have a bag full of Leamen Russ Tank sprues that include all the turret variants I never used. I have a bag full of Ork infantry sprues with the weapon alternatives I have not used. etc etc etc. I write on the top of the bag, along where the opening is, the name of the sprue so that I can easily pick the bag out of my bins of bagged sprues and bits. I tend to keep one set of instructions in the bag so I can reference it if necessary.
Bundle projects together: I usually have a few fun hobby conversions happening at the same time. I may be assembling a new unit for my competitive army but at the same time still slowly collecting the conversion bits for a totally different side project. It might be weeks before I begin to start gluing together that side project. So I have a small drawer system filled with tiny, labeled “snack size” ziplock bags where I put all the bits and pieces together until I am ready for them. I currently have 4 or 5 different little bags filled with the arms and head and toros and various components that will go into makeing character units for my next army.
A tray for use during assembly: I am sure I am not the only one who has lost a tiny antenna or microscopic bit while building a brand new model. I have since learned when working on a model, to keep all the bits that have been clipped from a sprue, in a shallow, non-skid bowl that sits right off of my cutting board. This has been game changing and keeps me organized during the assembly process and has prevented me from losing anything. Look for a tray or low-rimmed bowl that ideally has a color that contrasts with the color of the plastic bits. If you can find something with a rubber base, than that is ideal. I use a baby’s dinner plate which has a non-skid silicone base, and low rise rim, and is perfectly sized to fit on my hobby table.
Bye-bye for boxes: Many of us see a shiny new release and go and buy it even though it may just sit in its box for several more months. Most of these boxes, while having pretty pictures on the front, just take up too much space. Toss the boxes out and put the sprues in their own large Ziplock bags as mentioned above. Or at least try to consolidate them. I have fit 2-3 brand new Ork Buggies into a single box. Some of the larger army-vs-army sets have massive boxes that have plenty of space in them, so you can store other kits in with them.
Bins for all of the bags and boxes: All the above plastic bags and boxes fit in affordable collapsable storage bins that you can literally find anywhere. They fit the larger GW “tank-size” or “start collecting” boxes vertically and work great for keeping all these ziplock bags organized. Of course the compartmentalized tool boxes for the cut-out bits can all go in these too. Once everything is stored in the bins, then your hobby space will be far less of a mess and everything will at least look streamlined.
Take some time and get your bits in order. It will forever be something that you are glad you did!
And remember, Frontline Gaming sells gaming products at a discount, every day in their webcart!