Ok we have a great start on getting organized, but still
have a ways to go before we are finished. This section
will go fairly quickly as little if any organization is
really required. Trust me you can just throw materials
into boxes at this point and with the system we have for
inventory you will know exactly where each feather and
hair are at all times. You will never put another item
in the wrong box, and when you need to expand to accommodate
new materials, just add a box. The contents of any box
single box really do not matter.
But, since we have the time, and are using this as our
starting point, sort your feathers and your furs into
two piles. Set the fur aside for the moment.
Now sort out your feathers. Capes here, marabou there,
strung hackle, herls etc. into distinct piles. OK you
have that done?
Now get out a black magic marker and some boxes the
size of shoe boxes or there about. The cardboard boxes
printers get envelopes in are great for this and you
may be able to scrounge them from work. Shoe stores
might be a source of boxes. (though they are not as sturdy)
Cigar stores are also good.
Also go to a craft store and get some cedar blocks,
they are small and cheap. Now open a box, throw a cedar
block on the bottom. This will keep the bugs from eating
your money, and believe me we are talking money as you
fill these boxes.
Next take your pile of capes and put them in a box.
If you have too many for one box, put them into two,
three or whatever number you need.
Do the same with your marabou, strung hackles, herls,
chenilles, etc. If you can't fill a box with one material,
put a second or third in with the first. It doesn't matter
if the box contains mixed materials.
When you have all of this done, make a label for each box,
but just use a number thereon, do not write what it contains.
The contents may change over time, but the system is eternal.
OK you have a stack of numbered boxes, now what?
Well, I am glad you asked that question.
Take the first box and empty it's contents out onto your
bench. On each plastic bag holding each of the materials
in that box write the box number. If a color is critical
(I am colorblind) mark the color or stock number on the
bag. The little tags that come on the package have away
of getting lost over time. Put each item back into the box
as you mark it.
Do the same to all of the boxes. Number
each, number the contents, add notes to the bags as
OK, you have them all done? Great,
now pick up the Jungle Cock Cape that fell on the
floor when we first started. Where are you going
to put that now?
Hmmmm. It doesn't matter! Put it in a box where it
will fit, mark the box number on the bag, and we are
ready to move on.
Now I assume you all have a computer, or you probably
would not have been able to access this article in
the first place. Good, and we all have a database
program too, right. Just about all computers come
with one version or another. I have and I suspect
many of you have Microsoft Works version something
You will now make up a very simple data base,
which should contain the following fields:
Box #, Type, (cape, marabou, herl, etc. Use broad
categories here) Color, Size (if you like you can
add source, cost, whatever.)
The above can now be used to describe any material
in any box. It can be manipulated to sort in any
way you need. It does not care if the same type
items are in separate boxes, or if you have three
of the same item in three separate places. When
sorted this becomes very obvious. It is also handy
when it comes to inventory and reordering items. If
they are all written down, which they must be, and
you physically mark your sheet, which you will print
out and use for reference, that you need an item
when you get low, you will order what you need, not
what you misplaced.
You will be able to keep more materials on hand
and won't have to trust the ole memory from year
to year, asking "Do I have the tear-stained nose
hair of a Lithuanian Elf" on hand.
You will not only know that you do, you will know exactly
where it is, and will be ready to tie with it in a jiffy.
Now do the same with your "hairs" and I'll see you next week.
Write me with your suggestions! (hell, I stole a lot of these
from other people, might as well steal yours too!) ~ George Emanuel