How do other teams keep inventory organized

Hello, this summer I am organizing all of my teams fabrication inventory, and I want to see how others have them before I continue inorder to get more ideas. We currently have a table made by a alumni that holds about 20 organizing boxes which we keep all frc hardware, and a smaller version with other boxes the team owns, then we have a tool box with most of our tools and a few shelfs that need to be organized. Any thoughts?


stares at disorganized build area

I don’t think I’m qualified to answer this, but I too would like to learn about how other teams organize their workspace


Following because this is probably one of the next things for me to tackle after cleaning up our tool storage.

Right now we have everything stuffed in cabinets and drawers in the classroom where our team meets. The problem is we have things like 28 years of unused seat motors or other items we will never use that came in the kit but have hoarded due to a, “But we might use it” mentality that needs to be broken.

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As always, I like to point to whatever Allison and 3538 are doing:

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lol, if I got a nickel for every time someone responded with “but we might use it” when seeing me trying to throw away obsolete tech from early 2000s…


Inventory organization similar to shop and team organization, starts from the lead mentor or team leader. Set the standard, be the example you are trying to convey, and hold everyone accountable from mentors to students.


It starts when someone develops a system, and communicates how it works. You then need places to put things. Then, put like things together and be adamant that things get put away always.

For example: a shoebox labeled “Bearings”. It contains only bearings. There is no other place where a bearing might get stored, and everyone knows it.

Then there is a box labeled “#35 sprockets”. And a tote “Wheels”.

A former team found over 100 different unique labels that could be applied.

Hardware fasteners are a little different: lidded storage organizers, one for each hardware size (1/4-20 for example). Same with other smaller parts (pneumatics? Wire connectors? You get the idea. )

But remember how it starts.

Try to conceptualize shop organization in terms of time as well as space.

What is the time cost of working in a disorganized space? Many of us have spent full meetings searching for a part or tool we needed.

The time-cost-of-disorganization mindset leads to interesting ideas like Adam Savage’s concept of First-Order Retrievability.

From a writeup about our summer 2021 upgrades to our electrical workbench:

The team’s design requirements for a new electronics work area were:

  1. Make better use of the limited space.
  2. Reinforce a “train the way you work” approach. As much as possible, electronics work at home should look and feel the same as it does at competition.
  3. Reinforce good organization practices to minimize time spent looking for things.

We determined that we wanted, at maximum:

  • 2nd order retrievability for tools (e.g. open a drawer, grab the tool)
  • 3rd order retrievability for small parts (e.g. open a drawer, open a box inside, grab the part)
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