January 18th, 1999
"Getting Organized, Part 5"
"Eeeny, Meeny, Minee, Mo -
Where Did All My Feathers Go?"

by George Emanuel (aka Muddler)

Photos by the author

Does your bench STILL look like this?

Well if you have been following the program thus far, you now have from a couple, to many, many, boxes full of materials. These have been placed there in no particular order, but they are there somewhere, right? You bet they are!

No, you need a piece of Tyrolian Snerts Ear, but you don't know which box it is in, right?

Well, join the club, cause I don't know where you put it either. But, if you will follow these directions, I would even be able to find it, on the first try. Imagine what you will be able to do, after all, they are your materials.

OK, you have a computer, you have some paper in your printer. The only other thing you will need is a 3 ring binder to put your papers in after we type them up!

OK so here we go.

Fire up your data base program in Works or Office, or Lotus or whatever it is you prefer to frustrate yourself with this week.

Now make up the following fields according to the method your program employs. Or, make up your own fields to suit how you work, or would prefer to see your data.

Field #1 [Box Number] this is the number you put on the label of your materials boxes.

Field #2 [Type] is it feather, fur, dubbing, flash etc.

Field #3 [Color] what color is it? Some products are alpha, some numeric, do it to suit.

Field #4 [Size/Material] if it has a size list it here, you can also use this for material or grade or

Field #5 [Grade] if you want this separate, put it here.

Field #6 [Reorder] yes, or no.

Now you can go further and make up fields for source information if you'd like by adding the following:

Field #6 [Source] name of supplier.

Field #7 [Address] of source.

Field #8 [Phone] self explanatory.

You can go on in boring detail, but remember we are trying to keep this simple.

Now get out box number one and dump it out on the table. Add each item in the box to your data base and then write the box number (and color, size etc) on the plastic bag and place it back in the box. If you did this after last weeks article, move on, if not get cracking. Do this with every item in every box. When you are all through with recording the materials in their respective box numbers, make up your output template according to what you want to see in your index. Next, print out your index Alphabetically, by type. In this manner all of your Marabou will be together, your deer hairs likewise, and etc.

If you want you can also print out a second list by Box Number in the event an entire box should become lost, you will know what was in that box and what you must now replace.

After you have printed your data, place it in the three ringed binder. (if you want and can do it, plastic sleeves are great for protecting your pages, (and you can "tick them off" with a grease pencil if you need to reorder a material) When you add materials to your inventory, and need space, just add it to a new box with the next number in sequence and you are all set.

In any event put all new materials in the last box. This way if you need to find a newly added material you go to the last box. This will also save you from having to print an entirely new index simply because you added a package of "buff mongoose wing"

Now when you want to tie a particular pattern, pull the materials needed from your alphabetical list, and get to tying some flies! I use an empty box into which I put the materials for the pattern I am working on at the moment. That way, at the end of the session, I just put the lid on the "pattern box" and dump my receptacle full of scraps and viola, I am done, cleaned up, and ready for the next time I have a few minutes. When I am done with that pattern, the numbers on the bags tell me into which box to return them, so that I am still organized! (Heck, if I had a wife, she sure would be pleased at my neatness!)

Next week we will discuss hooks, tools, paints, glues and other things that make one heck of a mess if you spill them.

Write me with your suggestions! (hell, I stole a lot of these from other people, might as well steal yours too!) ~ George Emanuel

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