Organization of Inventory!

in2tech Jul 9, 2021

  1. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    931
    1,291
    40
    I have nothing, I mean nothing compared to most people here. But I need, once again, to separate all my individual pieces of N Scale Atlas track, and put them back in plastic baggies or small totes, again and labeled. I can't tell you how many times I have done this, but getting older it's really hard for me to see those dang Atlas numbers that are black on black track. You know those 2520, 2501, and such or 9 3/4, etc... And I have a very simple layout compared to most and you would laugh at my inventory compared to others here. But it can still be a problem. Why do we insist on buying so much extra track, etc...

    In my mind, I have enough to go around the outside of the house a few times, ( probably not sure, but appears that way ), and those 30" straight sections that I keep buying even though I haven't used many or any of the original ones :) Like I said my problems with this are very small, as I have seen many pictures or videos with plastic totes stacked underneath their layout.

    Of course mine is after 30-40 years, and I am sure it is the same for others?

    Let's get organized? Yeah right :)

    Now where did I put that piece of track I need? Time for a trip to the hobby shop and buy more :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2021
  2. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    1,816
    786
    43
    Rather sounds like my HO collection. Two DCC Steamers, About 15 various freight cars But, very little tack. Only about 4 feet of straight sectional and an oval for my battery O Christmas train.
    Oh ya! One N gauge engine in DC.
    Plenty of time but little funds for the fun.
     
    gjslsffan and in2tech like this.
  3. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

    2,929
    3,664
    70
    HO scale, about 80 locos (a lot I painted myself), about 300 freight cars, a half-dozen passenger cars, some leftover flex track, leftover turnouts. etc.

    Plenty of detail parts, couplers, raw materials (various styrene, some metal), plenty of leftover/waiting for use scenery material (bushes, foliage, stones, ballast, etc.), assorted loco and rolling stock parts, plastic wheelsets I have swapped out for metal, etc.

    I'm using an Excel worksheet to keep track (pun intended) of everything, but most of the activity is in the Loco Maintenance tab.

    It's easy to accumulate all sorts of bric-a-brac over the years. The hard part is keeping the mess organized...:oops:

    But I like my mess!:D
     
    gjslsffan, RailMix and in2tech like this.
  4. Hardcoaler

    Hardcoaler TrainBoard Member

    6,563
    19,034
    104
    I've got my remaining locomotives and rolling stock on an Excel sheet. Several years ago I worked a massive clean up and organization of my trains, which concluded with me selling everything I no longer had an interest in. I created a lot of needed space, put some money in my pocket and I've yet to regret getting rid of any of it. What remains will definitely find a home on my new N Scale road that's being built.

    I'm at the point in life where I'm getting rid of stuff of all kinds that I'll probably never use.
     
  5. JimJ

    JimJ Staff Member

    1,470
    1,737
    38
    I hear you! I don’t have a ton of stuff but I have plenty of crap in different scales spread out everywhere. And it’s mostly old. So old that some of it seems ridiculous and has a layer of almost sticky dust on it. I need to take a trash bag and go through my basement for some deportations! There’s stuff I’ll never use and nobody else would either. I’m getting to the age where I need to focus on doable projects with an awareness of realistic expectations. Good thread in2tech!
     
    Hardcoaler, gjslsffan and in2tech like this.
  6. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

    1,274
    2,695
    49
    I've got about 20 locos including a number of unbuilt kits and future painting/ lettering projects, along with around 150 freight cars and a large vehicle colection. Since these items represent time frames frome the 1900s to the 2010s, most will not be on the layout at any given time. This will also extend to certain structures. For much of the railroad's "life", (after 1930) the Ford dealer will serve as a date stamp, so when I want to change the operating era, I'll need an easy way to rotate locomotives, rolling stock, a few structures and vehicles on and off the layout. What I've come up with is a couple of old dressers that will sit under the layout. The plan is to build partitioned trays that fit inside the drawers and hold the rolling stock, motive power or vehicles appropriate for a given era so it's at least somewhat easy to stage the layout for a given year. The deep bottom drawers may be reserved for the interchangeable structures that are removed and replaced as time runs in circles. At least that's the plan. Hopefully it will work.
     
    Hardcoaler, gjslsffan and JimJ like this.
  7. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    931
    1,291
    40
    Did this about a year ago. The dresser is small and actually my layout is above it on one of the adjustable tables, ( used to sit on top of the dresser ), permanently all year round. But I can take it down if need be and put in attic or under bed. Cleaned the typical dresser drawer of crap you throw in them over time, think junk drawer, but in a dresser :) Now one drawer houses all my DC locomotives, maybe 10 or a few more, what I call my DC rolling stock, has the old couplers, not sure what they are called, Rapido maybe, not the micro train type like my DCC locomotives, I think 7 or 8, and micro train type rolling stock, only about 10. Also has my jewel cases both empty and items stored in them. And a few odds and ends in there. It's so much easier to find stuff now instead of digging to a bottom of even a small tote. But guess what, also some large totes with stuff in the attic, only abut 3 of them. Like I said, my layout is small, compared to other layouts. And so is my inventory!
     
  8. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

    2,076
    3,103
    61
    HO scale only, all DC, but some DCC ready
    A descent inventory is something I desperately need to do. It is embarrassing a bit but I right now have 125 highly detailed, weathered diesel units in service, with 15-20 out on the RR at any one time. I need to shed about half of them, problem is I put enough into them, get attached them so much I dont want to get rid of them. Sure glad I am not trying to build up a supply nowadays though, dont know how many cars I have, well over a thousand though. Need to get rid of about half of them too.
    I just looked and I have 11 locos weathered, detailed up in boxes, ready for shipment, some been sitting here 2 years. I dont want to loose money on them, one thing for sure is, I ain't gettin nuthin for them right now.
    I enjoy modeling too many RR's, and too many eras. Needs to get rid of a bunch of stuff for sure, and the place to start is doing an inventory.
    Maybe I will get around to that, just as soon as I get to a couple other things doncha know.
     
    Hardcoaler likes this.
  9. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

    1,274
    2,695
    49
    Having grown up influenced by the old guys (and they were old guys. Many of them were born around the turn of the century and some before.) who wrote articles and sent photos to MR and RMC in the 60s, I first decided to model 1927. It had a lot going for it. There was a mix old and new steam power, truss rod, composite and steel freight cars and the depression would be forever in the future. I refused to even acknowledge the existence of diesels and American highway vehicles were a comparative rarity. All I would need in that area would be a few Jordan model Ts and 1926 Macks.
    Then some things happened that shook my HO scale world to its foundations. First, I picked up a copy of Million and Dixon's Pere Marquette power. This turned me on to a world of beefy Consolidations, handsome Atlantics and the nearly legendary Berkshires, one of which had just become operational again. Then it was on to harder drugs like SW1s, E7s and the really unique BL2s. (PM successor C&O had the largest fleet of them, most of which spent most of their lives in Michigan. The light trackage of the thumb was one of their regular haunts) I had become hooked on the dreaded diseasel and my collection of HO locomotives and cars had gotten completely out of control. Then came the 1/87 vehicles- a plethora of decent looking American cars and trucks from the 30s. 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s and things spiraled completely out of reason. OK, so now I even had stuff like the C&O GP7s and 35s that came through town when I was a kid. Though it all, I was still fascinated with an earlier time. I had a choice.between biting the bullet and downsizing or diving into modelling in a scrolling era. Since I'm not very good at picking and choosing, the scrolling era is what's happening. I can watch a hundred years of history unfold.
    So what's the point of this disjointed ramble? Simple. If you like it, don't lose it. Don't shed anything you don't want to. Figure out a scenario you can use it for. As I detailed in an earlier post, a usable inventory system is essential. Most era switches will only involve a change of a few years, involving removing a few older vehicles from the layout and stocking the Ford dealer with the apropriate new vehicles. (These will migrate to the roads for the next era shift.) Motive power will be treated the same way according to when the protopye aquired/retired it. Rolling stock will head off layout via staging when nearing the end of its life. Changes on the ficitional Huron Central will happen according to a developed back story. There are some constraints. For one, in order to keep costs down and make time shifts with a reasonable amount of work, the layout won't be large. The flip side of the coin is that a small space will provide a lot of modeling. The only major pain I see is shifting from the 2000s back to the early 1900s. That will require changing all the locos, rolling stock and vehicles as well as a number of structures. Although I won't be changing the railroads modeled beyond changes the prototypes made (PM to C&O to Chessie to Huron and Eastern, for example), there's no reason you couldn't if you wanted to. Any combination of era and modeled road would be possible. Storage drawers would just need to be organized accordingly to keep changes as simple as possible.
    OK, I've drifted a bit off the beaten path here and admittedly the concept isn't for everybody, but it just might solve a problem for someone.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
  10. in2tech

    in2tech TrainBoard Member

    931
    1,291
    40
    I agree, the topic is about inventory or cleaning up, mainly organizing for me. Just because you might organize, doesn't mean get rid of the things you love. Of course you might find stuff you don't want, but doubt it. Also, I hope you people with these large spreadsheets aren't putting what you spent in a column. Also, at least you have an actual product to look at for your hard earned money. And aren't the ones with the very large collections been doing this for 30-40 years and more? Or maybe not? Like I said mine is nothing compared to the people that are replying to this topic. It's also fun hearing the stories, never thought that would be a part of this topic :)
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2021
  11. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

    2,076
    3,103
    61
    Yea you guys have a point. And my collection has been over almost 40 years.
    Man I hadn't thought about that too much.
    Almost all of my locos are those old blue box Athearns (w scale width hoods) were bought for 20-30 bucks. But then you put another 30 bucks in details, paint, decals, there were many many details available
    Then too.
     
    Mike VE2TRV and JimJ like this.
  12. Joe Lovett

    Joe Lovett TrainBoard Member

    1,443
    3,937
    55
    I keep my inventory on an Excel spreadsheets, since 2007 I've recorded every Frisco N scale manufactured release and have 340 items with another 10 or so Lowell Smith passenger cars that needs to be added. Also have photos of most of them.

    The Frisco items I have are black verbiage and the ones I'm looking for are red. There are about 135 Frisco and about 125 other road names in my inventory. Since my Boston Mountains Sub Division layout is 1948 to 52 I'm thinking about getting rid of other road names that wouldn't fit in this time era except maybe 1960's when I want to run newer locomotives. Love steam and first generation diesel.

    Joe
     
    Hardcoaler, Mike VE2TRV and JimJ like this.
  13. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    509
    931
    31
    I have around 300 pieces of stock, used at firs a MS Access database I downloaded from an italian website. After it got big enough it started losing data and crashed repeatedly.
    I also tried Modell RR Inventory, but (as actually happened in my job) switched finally to Excel with the added bonus that can work on a MAC while the others did not. The only thing missing is the pictures, but I have them safely stored in two folders on my documents.
    Will not need car cards, as I will use switchlist so I am almost OK.

    The problem I have with inventory is not the stock: it is the supplies (scenery / spares / different kits...). Tried to classify in different boxes, but normally it is a full stage mess, with something bought multiple times, something I will possibly not use and all variations in between.

    It is like fighting entropy...
     
    Hardcoaler and Mike VE2TRV like this.
  14. SOO MILW CNW

    SOO MILW CNW TrainBoard Supporter

    765
    64
    26
    You guys are rookies,,lol.

    I use an excel spread sheet, multiple pages
    Rolling stock 1554
    Loco 125
    Track supplies
    Piggy back trailers 60 approx
    Scenery supplies, ( doubt I will ever do scenery,,lol)
    Electrical supplies
    Building kits

    Oh I had grand plans for next layout, so I bought and bought. Now I have 15 Free-moN sections and I am sticking to prototype 74’-82’. I need to sell a bunch of stuff.

    inventory is good for staying on track and organization leads to efficiently using your modeling time.
    Greg
     
    Hardcoaler and Mike VE2TRV like this.
  15. RailMix

    RailMix TrainBoard Member

    1,274
    2,695
    49
    I haven't really given a lot of thought to spares and supplies inventory. I have considered using a spreadsheet for locos and rolling stock although so far I've been too lazy or too busy to do anything in that direction and I like the idea of the physical organization system.
    There are two things that would make the spreadsheet worthwhile, but again, I haven't given them much thought. First,it would be nice if I could use the spreadsheet to generate switchlists, and second, I would like it to remind me when it's time to remove a given car from the layout. For example, when the '31 model A's start showing up at the Ford dealer, it's time for all the truss rod freight cars to start heading off layout to be gone by the time the '36 Fords arrive. (the actual date is 1933, but I will only be operating in years I can buy Ford vehicles for.) Other notable events would be the discontinuance of items like K brakes, archbar trucks, roofwalks, etc. This would not replace the drawer system but rather would just provide some enhancement if I ever get around to it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2021
    in2tech likes this.
  16. minesweeper

    minesweeper TrainBoard Member

    509
    931
    31
    I will use a separate program for the switchlists (JMRI o switchit for Mac), but since european car numbers are way longer than US, and the car type is defined by letters (something like AAR classes, but much more detailed), I will just use the letters and last 3 digits (as quite some cars are of the same type and therefore have the same letters).
    So a direct connection between the spreadsheet and the switchlist software is most probably unworkable.
    Good idea the one of the time frame, there is a FREMO (the european verion, not the US FREE-MO) spreadsheet for car cards that takes also the timeframe and a thousand other technical details (brakes, brakes power) into consideration.
    But that spreadsheet is SO complicated and the data so much that it is basically very difficult to compile.
     
    RailMix likes this.
  17. TrainzLuvr

    TrainzLuvr TrainBoard Member

    184
    268
    10
    I've finally started writing my own online inventory system because I've reached a point where I do not know anymore what I have, and how much of it.

    The coolest feature so far that I added is the camera option - click a button and your web or mobile phone camera turns on and you can take a photo, then crop it and/or adjust basic settings. Photo gets saved along with the database record.

    [​IMG]

    This is going to be a big deal when I go to LTS/shows and need to check whether I have a specific piece of rolling stock or motive power (just scroll through images or search by reporting mark/number.

    To make things easier, I'm following the default values from JMRI OperationsPro, so that I can export from my inventory system and import into JMRI with a click of a button.

    As you can see I've added a bunch of Reporting Marks (Railroads), car types, lengths, coupler types, colours, wheel types, etc.

    [​IMG]
    This is just the beginning, couple of nights of work...Still need to work on more things and add motive power separately, but it's getting there.
     
    Mike VE2TRV likes this.
  18. Mike VE2TRV

    Mike VE2TRV TrainBoard Member

    2,929
    3,664
    70
    Nice work. A good, slick interface, with a lot of the fields I have in my Excel spreadsheet.(y)

    I have some vacation time (three weeks) coming up starting this weekend, and I'm getting a hankering to code something (especially) on hot days when air conditioning is more attractive than fresh air...;) ).

    But the Excel spreadsheet is more portable... hmmmm... dilemma... brain going into overdrive... need more coffee... plot hatching...:sneaky:
     
  19. gjslsffan

    gjslsffan Staff Member

    2,076
    3,103
    61
    I really need to learn basic pc skills
     
    Mike VE2TRV and JimJ like this.
  20. Shortround

    Shortround TrainBoard Member

    1,816
    786
    43
    Hmm. I'll stick to placing them in different boxes, shelves and drawers. 11 is already messing up my old confuser.
     
    Mike VE2TRV likes this.

Share This Page