Optimize Your Spare Parts Collection

Orangeville, ON (James Doan) How often has this happened to you? You have just started to work on your latest modelling project. You think you have a chrome-plated blower for a sweet conversion, but you can’t be sure you actually have it or where it would be if you did.

While every modeller should have a supply of extra parts on hand, there is a problem. The more parts you get, the harder it is to keep track of them. Organizing your parts will reduce the frustration of trying to locate specific parts. This will let you have a more enjoyable modelling experience.

I know several keen modellers who routinely keep an assortment of 3-in-1 kits on hand for their impromptu customizing sessions. The unused parts are predictably added to their swelling spares collection.

The question is – what can you do to organize this potential clutter into a user-friendly inventory?

Keep the threat of kit overload to a minimum by identifying what kits you are likely to bash the most. Pick these up whenever you see them on sale. I have three or four kits I rob from regularly, so I keep several in stock for future projects.

Trade parts and even kits with your fellow club members. As your subject interests change, you can exchange items you no longer want for ones you will use. You can freshen your inventory without increasing it.

Buy “bagged” kits at shows and swap meets. They usually sell for a dollar or two and they are loaded with goodies. Don’t forget to go through the bins at model shows and pick out a handful of parts you think you will use. Dealers tend to build up supplies of parts when they buy out collections.

How you sort your inventory is up to you. A tackle box with swing-out compartments is one good idea. Alternatively, a shop organizer, the ones with the clear, pull-out drawers, works well for keeping track of small parts such as engine and suspension components. You can also use resealable plastic storage bags to keep together broken kits or parts of a similar nature.

By grouping your parts according to type you will have better control of your inventory. You will readily see when you have “over” or “under” stock of certain parts and you can work to adjust your inventory accordingly. Take the opportunity to trade or sell overstocked items and replace them with pieces you need. Knowing what you have in your spares will let you start a project more easily and you can quickly switch parts as required.

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