Staying Organized


I just got this new organizer for my minimate parts, and I liked it so much that I thought I would write an article about staying organized. Here are five tips that I came up with. Feel free to comment with any other tips that come to mind.

1. Parts Separation

I used to have a big plastic bin for all of my spare minimate parts. It took forever to find the part I needed, especially if it was a hand or accessory. I switched to smaller bins that separated out hair pieces, chest pieces, accessories, and random fodder from the minimate bases. But this still wasn’t an ideal solution, and these little bins occasionally tipped over and spilled their contents all over my desk. So I finally picked up the organizer seen above for $9 at my local hardware store. It took me over an hour to separate the pieces into logical places, but it was time well spent.

2. Character Sheets

Before I start on a custom, I print a sheet of paper with several pictures of the character, usually from different angles and sources. I keep this sheet with me when I am working to use as a reference. Otherwise I would always have a paintbrush full of a color I just mixed, and I suddenly wouldn’t be able to remember all of the areas on the figure that needed this color. The pool of paint usually dries up by the time I am able to run to my computer, pull up google, find a decent reference picture, and run back. Having the character sheets definitely saves on time and frustration.

3. Tool Trays

I use a silverware tray to keep all of the tools I use regularly. The different sections seem to work perfectly for brushes, hobby knives, sharpies, and toothpicks. I always seemed to lose my small detail brush right when I needed it. Now I always know where it is.

4. Drying Rack

Having a place for your customs to dry while you work on other things can be very helpful. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a rack, just a place that it out of your immediate working area. There is nothing worse than finishing a perfect paint job, and then accidentally tipping the figure over and causing a big smudge on the face or chest.

5. Cutting Mat

Cutting mats are nice to have. Even if you are working at an old desk, and you don’t care if it gets scratched, eventually all of those little scratches add up to big scratches and holes. This can be an uncomfortable place to rest your arms while you are painting or sculpting. I know this isn’t exactly an organization tip, but it will also give you more room to cut if you have a specific place to do it.

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6 Responses

  1. boyd says:

    I will vouch for everything Luke has written here. My wife bought me a similar organizer for my Minimate pieces several years ago, and it’s a wonderful way to keep spare parts. And Sarah and I share a cutting mat, though she uses it for less minimate-related things.

  2. drgnrbrn316 says:

    That’s your parts bin?

    Maybe I collect too many extras or my production pace is too slow, but I’ve got about two of those things, with it divided down to part and color and its jammed full at the moment.

    I’m surprised I hadn’t thought about any of the rest of that stuff though.

  3. TM2 Dinobot says:

    Keeping your paints organized is also a must! I tend to keep mine shoved as neatly as possible into shelves. My Testors are all in a nice case.

  4. Shamrock says:

    Just an idea for the drying rack:
    Make some sort of contraption with a variety of pegs that fit into the torso pieces and heads. Thus, parts could be stored, and even painted on these.

    I actually have a couple “Paint ‘Mates” which are basically just Minimates I did not want. I’ll put the part I am painting onto the ‘Mate, and paint it as I would, without caring about if my brush slips. Then you also have something standing which holds it while it dries.
    Also: The waist pegs fit into the base of the head joints.

  5. Jeff says:

    Where do you find all those Minimates?
    I can never find them for cheap- let alone enough extra to have them as spare parts.

    Otherwise very nice!