[hackerspaces] Circuits lab organization and parts retention for noobs

bownes bownes at gmail.com
Wed Mar 18 21:30:29 CET 2015

At the center of gravity, we have just recently introduced a very similar policy for everything in our stockroom. We have a stock room czar and czarina Who have gone through the stockroom and organized everything into small plastic bins available from the office supply store, and larger Ben's also available from a similar location. We have a bin for cable that is going to be recycled and the like each of which gets put in the entryway with a sign. Pictures are also circulated amongst the membership letting people know what is available so they may come down and rescue it if they desire. Generally there is a week or so to save something or it goes to recycling. 

We only had this in place for a couple of weeks and already the stockroom is looking significantly better on a regular basis. In the past and it had been very difficult to keep the stock room clean and organized because it was overflowing with too much junk.

They also set aside things in a eBay pile, and allow members to take things out of this before they get sold off and the money placed into general revenue. 

We have had a number of rather large donations recently (where large is defined as a box truck or bigger). This policy is going to be very instrumental in winnowing the wheat from the chaff. 

It would be interesting to also make this stuff available to other maker spaces in some fashion. Probably little of it is worth shipping, but we are a community of communities seemingly attuned to sharing and doing things for the greater good. 


> On Mar 18, 2015, at 15:45, justin corwin <outlawpoet at gmail.com> wrote:
> One of the more successful policies at crashspace has been making 'dead piles' in the front room. We put marginal stuff on display, and give a countdown for when it's going away. People who have strong feelings about a particular bit can always save it, but usually they confine themselves to picking one or two things to put back, so we still manage to recycle/trash a fair amount, but nobody feels bad because they all had a shot to save thing they felt strongly about. 
>> On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 12:40 PM, Joshua Pritt <ramgarden at gmail.com> wrote:
>> All makerspaces tend to have the packrat tendencies on what to keep vs throw out / recycle.  Depending on how much space you have for parts / hackables storage would be the main factor.  If you have a lot of shelves you might use several banker boxes to keep the bigger things sorted like "hard drives", "5V wall power supplies", "junk cables", "Power cables", "USB cables", etc.  Then for the smaller things like individual resistors and diodes it is very helpful to purchase or ask for a donated organizer like this one: 
>> http://goo.gl/J6uYIO
>> I've never heard of any specific rules or ways to scientifically determine what to keep vs throw away / recycle since there's always that, "someone might be able to use this on a project" mentality that is very much in line with just plain pack-ratism.
>> I hope this helps (you probably already knew all this)!
>>> On Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 3:23 PM, Shirley Hicks <shirley at velochicdesign.com> wrote:
>>> Good afternoon everyone,
>>> The Red Mountain Makers in Birmingham is in the process of organizing and binning parts from donated defunct equipment.
>>> Do any of you have notes, write-ups or links regarding how to decide what to recycle and what to keep? Any recommendations regarding how much to keep on hand? The person who is organizing the work (me) is a relative noob to lab organization, and those who are parting the stuff out have packrat tendencies. :) Our lab guru who is guiding us has given some general recommendations, but his experience is within a development workplace with far more resources than we currently have.
>>> By way of example, we have 2 paper box sized bins of SATA drive cables, and a similarly sized box of VGA cables.
>>> My main concern is managing the supply while we shuffle the space to accommodate renovations. It's all binned and on racks, but isn't clustered beyond like with like (first sort). I have electronics recyclers coming in two days.
>>> Thanks!
>>> Shirley Hicks
>>> RMM Secretary
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> Justin Corwin
> outlawpoet at gmail.com
> http://programmaticconquest.tumblr.com
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