A Question about Organization

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    nkomo
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    A Question about Organization

    Post by nkomo on Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:37 pm

    As many of you know, I am currently moving my collection from one area to another. During the moving process, I had seriously considered organizing my uniforms (BDU's, DCU's, ACU's, Multicams) by Division and by branch of service. What are your opinions on this?

    I will say this much....I have an enormous amount of uniforms and this organization would not be a small task. One thing I have decided is that all modified uniforms will be seperated and stored together. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
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    Mercenary25
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Mercenary25 on Mon Sep 24, 2012 10:56 pm

    Good question, I couldn't organize mine.

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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by downboy on Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:14 am

    Depends if you`re in a rush.I`d put the same patterns(assuming all US)ie.woodlands,DCU`s etc...together and then organize them as time goes on.
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by nkomo on Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:49 am

    Thanks to you both for the comments. Very Happy
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Darktrooper on Tue Sep 25, 2012 1:43 pm

    My thoughts Arch would be to seperate by OEF - OIF - latin America. Then I'd break em down from there chronologically.



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    fourtycoats
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by fourtycoats on Tue Sep 25, 2012 2:47 pm

    The best way to organise is to think about how you want to find an item. Imagine 2 years from now that something makes you want to check one of the uniforms. What is the way your mind works as regards remembering where you put things? That is the way to organise them.
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Bluehawk on Tue Sep 25, 2012 9:48 pm

    nkomo wrote: As many of you know, I am currently moving my collection from one area to another. During the moving process, I had seriously considered organizing my uniforms (BDU's, DCU's, ACU's, Multicams) by Division and by branch of service. What are your opinions on this?

    I will say this much....I have an enormous amount of uniforms and this organization would not be a small task. One thing I have decided is that all modified uniforms will be seperated and stored together. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated.
    May I ask you, what is the FIRST thing YOU think of when you go back to your storage to find a specific uniform in order to find it?

    I spent more than 35 years of my life organizing and preserving museum collections, in the tens of thousands of artifacts. I learned a lot from that, and may be able to suggest something useful.

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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by nkomo on Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:30 am

    I normally have things grouped by conflict or nation. So I know which boxes to go to in order to find things. That being said, I have not been able to keep up with my US collection as well.

    First thing I think of is that it will take hours to find what I'm looking for. Is that what you are after?
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by fourtycoats on Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:27 am

    I have a 2 tier system.
    Tier 1 is recent acquisitions and suits that are used regularly, organised by frequency of use or time of acquisition.
    Tier 2 is all the rest, organised by age within country.

    Items from Tier 1 often move to Tier 2 as new items arrive in Tier 1.

    In answer to the question about the first thing I think about:
    The first thing is whether I have seen something recentely, if so Tier 1, if not Tier 2 and by country.
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Bluehawk on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:34 am

    nkomo wrote: I normally have things grouped by conflict or nation. So I know which boxes to go to in order to find things. That being said, I have not been able to keep up with my US collection as well.

    First thing I think of is that it will take hours to find what I'm looking for. Is that what you are after?
    Yes, that's it.

    One more question, if you will bear with me.

    Do you have dozens or hundreds?

    If a couple dozen, then it is possible to order them according to the key distinguishing characteristic such as type (e.g. shorts, pants or BDU, ABU etc), color, conflict, era, branch etcetera - all of which you have probably already thought of. There may be some other feature(s) you know about which kind of automatically sort themselves when you think of them in total.

    But, if several dozen or hundreds, then I would be tempted to start using tags and numbers or some other combination of letters or letters and numbers cross-referenced to index cards or an excel type record. The record would include where it was stored, or at least in what group.

    I wish I could be there to look at the collection in person - the solution would come to me rather quickly.

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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Ben on Wed Sep 26, 2012 1:00 pm

    I don't have a huge war room to organise my collection in (yet). Laughing

    But I make the best use of what space I have. The way I sort my collection is by type of pattern, then country, then age. Basically I separate between woodland, desert, and everything else, then subdivide from there based on country and age.

    My 2¢ only...

    But Arch, I would be keen to see how you set it up once you've developed a method!


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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Mercenary25 on Wed Sep 26, 2012 3:31 pm

    I have hundred, if not, more DCU's. I just pack them in boxes and stack 'em up in the closet shelves. But I organize by branches. I usually organize by few piles: NAVY, NAVY modified, ARMY, ARMY modified, 173rd AB, and SF. Lastly, a pile is for random patterns that I don't have many such as ACU, UCP-DELTA, DBDU, Iraqi camo patterns, and Multicam.

    Tactical gear, well, they just piled up in few boxes.

    Still, not effective enough. I still have to look for certain stuff.
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Bluehawk on Wed Sep 26, 2012 4:52 pm

    Mercenary25 wrote:I have hundred, if not, more DCU's. I just pack them in boxes and stack 'em up in the closet shelves. But I organize by branches. I usually organize by few piles: NAVY, NAVY modified, ARMY, ARMY modified, 173rd AB, and SF. Lastly, a pile is for random patterns that I don't have many such as ACU, UCP-DELTA, DBDU, Iraqi camo patterns, and Multicam.

    Tactical gear, well, they just piled up in few boxes.

    Still, not effective enough. I still have to look for certain stuff.
    That last sentence tells me that the collection has grown past the superhuman ability to remember it all and then find a specific artifact.

    Frankly, I am thinking the moment may have come, for your own sanity and the sake of history, to consider a tag-and-record system of cataloguing the material. There are several possible fine methods, and simple ones, of accomplishing that; some of which cost some money to purchase and are not mandatory, and others which come from the genius of necessity.

    If I can be of any further assistance, do let me know. It would be a professional courtesy to offer whatever information is available and coach along the way pro bono.
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by nkomo on Wed Sep 26, 2012 7:25 pm

    For myself, I have WELL into the several hundreds of uniforms in my collection. It is funny you mentioned a catalogue system, as my wife mentioned the exact same thing yesterday. How would I proceed with something like that? Suggestions?

    Arch

    p.s. Thanks for offereing to help us out!
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Bluehawk on Wed Sep 26, 2012 9:07 pm

    nkomo wrote: For myself, I have WELL into the several hundreds of uniforms in my collection. It is funny you mentioned a catalogue system, as my wife mentioned the exact same thing yesterday. How would I proceed with something like that? Suggestions?

    Arch

    p.s. Thanks for offereing to help us out!
    What you do is begin with a thorough (must be thorough) list of major headings under which your artifacts would be identified. Here might be an example (knowing little about your collection myself):

    - Headwear
    - Web gear (I don't know what you guys call it these days)
    - Dress uniforms
    - Combat uniforms
    - Uniform accessories (gloves and etc)
    - Weapons related
    - SSI/Insignia/Badges
    - Personal gear (soap boxes, sunglasses and etc)
    - Ephemera
    - and so forth

    Give it a week or so of thought if necessary, writing down MAJOR categories as you think of them. Be sure about this step so that you won't end up with major categories in minor ones later on.

    Then, break down those families into sub-groups so that under each one you will end up with specifics that make sense to you. An example might be:

    - Headwear (major category)
    1. Helmets
    2. Garrison caps
    3. Billed hats
    4. Rhino stuff
    5. Balaclavas
    6. Helmet covers
    7. Helmet straps
    8. and so forth

    Do the same for all categories.

    Then (if you want to) you can further divide into groupings such as branch, color, material, era or theater etc.

    Keep as few categories and sub-groups as you can possibly get away with.

    What you eventually want to arrive at is a way to string tag each and every artifact individually with an identifying series of letters or numbers (or combination of letters and numbers) that refer back to a master list (such as would be kept, for example, in excel format or some such).

    Alphabetizing is good at all stages.

    If you want to get fancy, there is even a way to identify WHEN and in what sequence during a given year you added an artifact to your collection using those cataloguing numbers. You can then tell at a glance what the thing is, when you got it, and where it is stored, even.

    Here is a simple fictitious example using the above data:
    2012.9.H.5

    That ^ would mean: Added to collection in 2012, in September, Headwear, Balaclava (to which you could add another point noting where it is stored)

    These are ideas of best practices, in a range of possibility.

    Some folks in militaria swear by any one of various commercial data bases. They are expensive and can be unwieldy, but are perfect for a certain kind of person. The truly brilliant computer expert level cataloguer might even do tagging with a bar code method - far out of my ability to advise upon.

    I favor making one up for myself, tailored to what I collect. I like that better because I want my cataloguing to be in sync with me, so that I or my family will understand what the heck was meant by what I have done.

    Lastly, the cataloguing system (summarized above) is usefully then cross-referenced to an artifact description listing everything you know about the year of manufacture, named attributions, named groupings, provenance, method of acquisition (e.g. trade, purchase, road kill etc.), unit involved, condition, value (remembering that original cost and appraised value are often different numbers), even a photograph of it and any number of other particulars.

    Is this helpful?

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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Zeked on Fri Oct 19, 2012 11:57 am

    I forgot to post on this thread when it started. I have a semi accurate catalog system but I forget to add new items when I get them so it is pretty inaccurate right now.

    What I do is track the uniforms by the name (if the uniform has one) on a spreadsheet. The main line in the spreadsheet is the name of the tunic and with that I add if the branch is indicted, current patch, combat patch, para wings, CIB, CAB, CMB, rank, US flag, air assault wings, halo wings, era of top, pants with it, hat/caps, when bought, cost, who I got it from, price paid and anything that makes a top unique or any details pertaining to the one top.

    With that if a uniform is a mod or custom version then I usually add a tag to it with an ID number on it and the ID number is just something I make up and go in sequence. If the uniform goes into storage I add that information to the spreadsheet as well. I number my storage contains so I can always find what I am looking for.

    I am not as detailed as BlueHawk who offered up great suggestions but my process works for me. I am working on adding pictures to my spreadsheet but that will take an incredible amount of time to do and I am not happy with how excel works with pictures. The other idea I am toying with is to just create a 'local website' on a USB thumb drive that has all the same information but is easier to work with when dealing with photographs.

    Anyway please let us know when you figure out what works best for you. Thanks Clete
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Bluehawk on Fri Oct 19, 2012 12:18 pm

    Getting a system together that works for YOU is always the first choice, no doubt.

    That labyrinth I attempt to explain above is, believe it or not, based on that exact method -only designed for thousands of dozens of different types of artifacts.
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by airborne1968 on Sun Nov 25, 2012 8:42 am

    I use a system similar to Bluehawk's. However, the inventory list is just to account for all items (no catalog numbers). Although I have been tagging items with provenance so the stoy isn't lost or to account for part of a grouping stored/displayed in a separate location. As for storage, I separate them by conflict and then by item type (ie all WW2 suspenders and belts go into one bin while all WW2 packs go into another). All foreign collections are separated by county. While my WW2 collection is massive, my WW1, Korean War, and Vietnam War collections are not. All are kept in separate bins but the items are mixed in the small collections to save on space and ease of finding items. I keep all my clothing items separate from gear and subdivide them as well (ie cold weather, laundry bags, belts, etc.). I also keep my head head gear and related items separate, all patches are separate (use to keep them in boxes but now they are in ryker boards), all pins and medals are separate too. I even keep all ordnance items separate.

    I rotate displays every 6 mo to a year to help maintain the collection and refresh my memory on where items are. I'm sure many will agree this sometimes feels like Christmas (ie pulling out items you haven't seen in a while).

    I'm lucky to have a pictoral memory and can recount where I acquired the item. The list is to ensure I don't double up on an item variant I already have.

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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by Zeked on Sun Jul 07, 2013 12:06 am

    For awhile I did not keep track of my purchases and acquisitions for an extended period and am trying to get caught up. What a huge pain in the ass it is. What a ton of effort to get everything listed properly.

    This time I bought some tags and am adding all the pertinent details (when I know them) like when I purchased it, who did I get it from, location (forum, vet, etc), price, part of a grouping and so on. I still have them on a spreadsheet but the tag gives me what I need to know right when I look at it.

    Anyway, my advice is keep up on your record keeping if you are keeping track of your collection.
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    Re: A Question about Organization

    Post by bryanbg on Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:45 pm

    I don't have that large a collection, mostly items from my own service in Gulf War One, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. Large totes for my different uniforms and a couple full of "bring back" stuff.

    However my preference is for vintage militaria, which I pile up in my 'man cave' until it becomes too large. I seal the uniform items in XL Ziploc vacuum bags.

    However I keep available those items I'd be willing to use for trade/barter.

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