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Topic: Managing your personal inventory.
Message: Posted by: leinadnallareyem (May 12, 2010 10:39PM)
My mother was a librarian so I know the Dewy Decimal system. But my Magic inventory is a mess. I have Cabinets, Shelves, Boxes, Tupperware, and cases.

Any insight on how to managage this addiction.

Message: Posted by: Blair Marshall (May 12, 2010 10:59PM)
Rubbermaid bins!!! LOL I've cornered the market on these!

Actually I use the clear storage containers now mainly.

I store different shows in different bins. The end is labeled with the show name, or type ie. "Adult Cabaret" "Halloween Show", and then in each container I have the list of props in the bin and/or the show script.

Into my larger 6' file cabinets with the double doors I have seperate shelves for the type of props ie. silk, comedy, supplies etc.

I actually toured the main warehouse of the Mad Science headquarters and it is full of Rubbermaid bins. They put a show in each one, and when a franchise wants to buy a new show for their area, the appropriate bin is shipped out. It is then used by their performers, and the show props are stored in them.

I also use many dozen bins for my show costuming, the clear bins allow me to see the costume, and I also label the ends. These are mainly the 5" high ones. I can then stack the required costumes in my wardrobe touring cases.

Message: Posted by: Carducci (May 13, 2010 02:08AM)
I have a fondness for the rubbermaid modular drawers. They come in all shapes and sizes, are stackable, and make everything easier. I use the drawers to organize consumables, extras, marketing materials, props that I don't use frequently but what to keep track of, etc.

Regarding the stuff I use on a regular basis, I use these: http://www.staples.com/Staples-Expanding-Folding-Crate-on-Wheels/product_440122?cmArea=SEARCH

One crate holds the core of my stand-up show (collapsible tables, props, extension cables, etc) three more hold the larger stage show (backdrop fabric, additional props, PA, etc)

I also have a briefcase that holds my close-up stuff (I found a desk drawer organizer that I placed inside to keep everything somewhat organized in there.
Message: Posted by: Bob Sanders (May 13, 2010 09:48AM)
Unfortunately, I have some of everything here at the ranch. However, there are six walls of shelving with loads of labeled Rubbermaid sweater boxes. Also we have rows of metal briefcases with lectures and shows in them.

Geoff Williams even saw my box labeled "Where does this go?".

For larger props I have footlockers (32") for "box" magic and stage props. Larger stage props that are stand-alone are stored in the horse barn, in our rehearsal theater, and in Lucy's "Art" studio. Others are in storage at our other house (Collinwood).

In the workshop, we have a "clean room" 8'x10' that is for costumes and special curtains.

It is not the easy project that was planned.

Bob Sanders
Magic By Sander
Message: Posted by: Decomposed (May 18, 2010 03:54AM)
:lol: I also have totes from Walmart all over the place also. :lol:
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (May 18, 2010 12:43PM)
Don't even fight it...... Always leave everything out in the open. Put all your stuff on shelves and completely Junk-up the entire house, for two reasons.

#1. It's going to get that way eventually.
#2. You can see what you have and get to it.

I only know a few magi who have perfectly clean cars mostly because their wife makes them do it. The others either don't do a lot of shows or only work with cards but if you have props, you'll eventually feel like you live in a museum... then you'll die and all your stuff will get sold for ten cents on the dollar and someone else will have the pleasure of junking-up their place. It's a vicious circle, welcome to the club.

A clean desk is the sign of someone with too much time on their hands.
Message: Posted by: leinadnallareyem (May 18, 2010 03:31PM)
Very refreshing view jay leslie. What do you do about dust?
There is a well known Al Flosso story where he took over the former Houdini owened shop Martinka. Al never dusted the magic or shelves because it was the dust of Houdini.
Message: Posted by: jay leslie (May 18, 2010 08:24PM)
My Friend, Robert Baxt has a vial of that dust in his very possession! Next time you see him at the Castle ask him about the Houdini Wand story.

- - - -

And about your collecting, just give in and join the club... you won't be the first and you won't be the last either.

I'm not advocating letting everything lay on top of itself like some of the guys in the workshop area are known for, or maybe I am... No... No I'm not (had to think about it). It looks like I just unloaded a truck full of stuff here, but believe me it's all where I can get to it and every week the pile on the table is gone and another one fills the same spot. 10.000 Props, should be the sign over the shop

My illusions are in road cases on top of the shelves then the shelves are marked with what's in the boxes but the showroom and warehouse are so full of stuff that it would take three weeks to pack it, if I had to move.
Message: Posted by: AGMagic (May 22, 2010 03:02PM)
For years I have housed my collection and unused stuff in an old music cabinet. It has 3 shelves designed to hold music books, that now hold parlor sized effects. It also has 22 flat drawers designed to hold sheet music that now house my close-up stuff. Of course, it is overly full and things have accumulated on top, on my desk, and on my close-up table.

I have found that "Sterelite" shoe boxes and larger bins work equally as well as "Rubbermaid" and are about 1/2 the price. I used them to organize my garage and they are now begining to hold more and more magic.

Original instruction sheets are copied then filed away. Copies are kept in a set of notebooks filed alphabetically. Everything is listed (well OK most) on an Excell spread sheet with columns for check marks that include venue size, appropriate age range of audience, type of effect (vanish, transposition etc.) type of props used (ball, coin, silk), where it is located and my performance status regarding the trick (learning, proficient, with review, museum piece only).

It's not perfect and it is nearly always out of date, but it is a starting point. If you remember anything about a trick, you can look it up. You can sort on the various columns to assemble a show, and it can remind you that you already have that trick before you buy another or similar one.
Message: Posted by: MagicJim (Jun 18, 2010 02:50AM)
Jay...you made me laugh!

I just cleaned the vehicles...and yes, my wife asked me!

Lots of shows! I am trying to stay more organized. It is tough. I am glad I am not the only one. If I don't see the props. I don't use them and continually evolve/improve the show!
Message: Posted by: jamesbond (Jun 18, 2010 01:14PM)
Heck and I thought that MY wife was the only one who makes me clean up the car - lol!
Message: Posted by: MagicLaw (Sep 6, 2010 07:00PM)
I agree that Rubbermaid Bins are the most useful. Another useful way I keep up with my collection is to store all of the instructions in a file, with two copies of each instruction sheet. I store one copy under the NAME of the trick and one copy under the MANUFACTURER of the effect. Sometimes, I even add a third copy for the name of the CREATOR (if different from manufacturer). Keeping track of instruction sheets is very important when trying to build a magic collection, especially for vintage or antique pieces. Let's face it, we like to display our magic is nice curios, shelves, etc...but the instructions often get thrown in a pile of other papers. Using the above system is a way to become disciplined with the paperwork of magic :)
Message: Posted by: Blair Marshall (Sep 6, 2010 07:26PM)
There are several types of "Rubbermaid" bins, and similar bins made by many manufacturers but here is a head's up. My friend Alain choquette stored many of his pieces in bins, in his storage area....Collectors Workshop, Anverdi etc. His bins were the moving type where the lid came together in the middle of the bin, it was tight, but NOT water proof. The sprinkler system went off above his storage area and each bin, because of the angle of the sides and the seam down the middle, took on water. What a mess!

I only use bins where the cover overlaps the sides.

Message: Posted by: MichaelDouglas (Sep 7, 2010 01:16PM)
Jay....you're a nut...too funny. Yes I'd be neater if I wasn't as busy...not always with magic but just busy.

AGMagic and MagicLaw....thanks for the comments on handling the instruction sheets. I've not progressed that far in my orginization of magic stuff yet, but that'll be useful.

AG...I also keep a magic spreadsheet with columns similar to yours. It helps me think through how much time tricks take, the best age group, group size, etc.

I've also rec'd comments about magic stuff laying around and other things junking up the car. This will become more of an issue as I'm starting to build more stage props. However, putting things back when done helps me make sure that I don't loose things and have to spend unnecessary money replacing something that I've lost. This has happened a few times....grrrrr.

It is useful sometimes to just lay things out for a few days as I'm prioritizing which effects to work on perfecting and which I need to still learn.
Message: Posted by: Alex Kilcup (Sep 14, 2010 10:47PM)
ATA cases to the rescue :P
Message: Posted by: Bill Hegbli (Sep 18, 2010 07:33AM)
Notice, when the instructions are not with the prop, the props are of less value. I attend a number of auctions. They sell the porps, then at the end of the auction, they sell all the instructions in their neat folders and binders. So everyone that bought the prop, do not have the instructions.

If by chance, your widow gets the stuff sold, she has no idea what is what. Thus she is will be left with junk and you know what junk is worth.

The best method is to put each prop in a plastic bag, then put the original instructions with the prop. Now the value has just increased by 10. Only put the instructions in a file if it is a copy or the prop is in use by you, and out for performing in a show.

The plastic also helps keep the props from rusting and the like. Office Depot sells plastic zip lock bags in many sizes.

If you care about your family, I would keep the instructions with the prop. Have a discussion as to value with them as well and possible resale value and who to help distribute the props.

I have been taken to a number of widows houses, the guy ripes the poor women off, get thousands of dollars of magic for $100.00. I am brought along just to give him an idea if anything there is of any value. I don't like it, but I am not the money man. I don't get anything out of it, except to see some old magic, that I never would have been able to see before.