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Storing Electrical Supplies

 
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:42 PM   #1
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Storing Electrical Supplies


I'm not an electrician and do have one that does most of my work. But doing remodeling there are times I need to replace a switch or outlet or cover plate or even move over an outlet quick. Nothing major but something that we might run into and need to take care of right away so we can keep going. So over time I have accumulated a decent selection of electrical boxes, switches, receps, cover plates, etc. Right now I have 2 or 3 rubbermaid type bins that I have it all in that I like to carry with me for the times we run into needing that one thing and a drive to the store is 30 minutes each way.

Any creative ideas on how to store this stuff? Right now it's just in a bin and to find the one piece I need I have to take out most of the bin and dig through everything. Not a huge deal since I don't need to do this often but still a pain and since I have organization OCD I would like to be able to store these things a little better. I usually buy things by the box since they are cheap. So have a box of white switches, box of LA switches, box of ivory switches, outlets, 3 ways, covers, etc. And right now they are all just thrown in a bin.

My electrician has shelves on his trailer with everything organized which is great but since electrical is a very very small part of what I do I can't just take up a bunch of shelves to organize everything. Would still like a bin or two but would like to have it somewhat organized so I don't have to dig through a whole bin just to find one switch plate. Also like bins so I can carry the whole thing into the job if needed.

Anyone in a similar predicament? Have any creative solutions?
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Old 01-10-2019, 09:47 PM   #2
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


I use totes also. Best option I've found so far.

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Old 01-10-2019, 10:12 PM   #3
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


Probably pretty hard to find these days, but I have a steel-drawer cabinet in my van, military surplus, that was originally designed to hold computer punch cards. Strong as all get-out (mil-spec, ya know?). Drawers are about 19" wide x 6-7" high with dividers in the middle.

They're great for storing a good bit of the multi-discipline stuff I need to carry. Still need a couple of bottomless bins for the larger things though.
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:10 AM   #4
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


Milwaukee packout boxes. No need to keep a whole box of devices with you at all times.

We keep 3 packouts, one each of white, LA, and ivory full with 3 each of standard and decora switches, outlets and dimmers.

Another packout houses misc parts.

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Old 01-11-2019, 10:16 AM   #5
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


Quote:
Originally Posted by platinumLLC View Post
I'm not an electrician and do have one that does most of my work. But doing remodeling there are times I need to replace a switch or outlet or cover plate or even move over an outlet quick. Nothing major but something that we might run into and need to take care of right away so we can keep going. So over time I have accumulated a decent selection of electrical boxes, switches, receps, cover plates, etc. Right now I have 2 or 3 rubbermaid type bins that I have it all in that I like to carry with me for the times we run into needing that one thing and a drive to the store is 30 minutes each way.

Any creative ideas on how to store this stuff? Right now it's just in a bin and to find the one piece I need I have to take out most of the bin and dig through everything. Not a huge deal since I don't need to do this often but still a pain and since I have organization OCD I would like to be able to store these things a little better. I usually buy things by the box since they are cheap. So have a box of white switches, box of LA switches, box of ivory switches, outlets, 3 ways, covers, etc. And right now they are all just thrown in a bin.

My electrician has shelves on his trailer with everything organized which is great but since electrical is a very very small part of what I do I can't just take up a bunch of shelves to organize everything. Would still like a bin or two but would like to have it somewhat organized so I don't have to dig through a whole bin just to find one switch plate. Also like bins so I can carry the whole thing into the job if needed.

Anyone in a similar predicament? Have any creative solutions?
Try this as a test: Cardboard dividers in the totes, plus a shallow cardboard tray on top. Better than nothing. (think free Costco boxes)
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Old 01-11-2019, 10:20 AM   #6
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


my job got easier when I gave up the need to try and have absolutely every need covered all the time. It was great to go to my truck and pull out a 3 way paddle switch with a dimmer and hand it to the electrician or luckily have that extra 1/2" coupling for the plumber but I made my life easier when I cleaned all that stuff out and just threw a couple of absolute must haves in there, like 1/2' push caps for plumbing that may leak during a demo, or wire nuts and tape for a temp repair.

Just the basics to stave off big trouble or surprises until the right trade could get there to fix it.

No longer swimming in stuff I barely ever used. Of course where I used to live you were never more than 10 minutes from a big box store.

You can't be everything to everybody.
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Old 01-11-2019, 02:03 PM   #7
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


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my job got easier when I gave up the need to try and have absolutely every need covered all the time. It was great to go to my truck and pull out a 3 way paddle switch with a dimmer and hand it to the electrician or luckily have that extra 1/2" coupling for the plumber but I made my life easier when I cleaned all that stuff out and just threw a couple of absolute must haves in there, like 1/2' push caps for plumbing that may leak during a demo, or wire nuts and tape for a temp repair.

Just the basics to stave off big trouble or surprises until the right trade could get there to fix it.

No longer swimming in stuff I barely ever used. Of course where I used to live you were never more than 10 minutes from a big box store.

You can't be everything to everybody.
I think that is the big difference here. But I would have to say for me it was the opposite. When I got my trailer and was able to carry a little of everything with me is when things got easier for me. So so so many times before I would run into an issue and have to go run to the store, even if one was 10 minutes away that's a 30-60 minute trip that you have to make before you can keep moving on a lot of times. Doesn't take long for those trips to add up to a lot of wasted time. Once I could carry a decent selection of a little of everything is when my productivity increased a lot. Small commercial jobs were the worst. Larger ones wasn't a big deal because I could move on to something else and wait for my plumber or electrician or stop at the store in the morning on the way to the jobsite. But small commercial jobs were you need to get in and out and run into something unexpected is where having a nice selection of stuff is crucial to being able to keep the work moving. Also times where you are doing something and run into an issue like a outlet plate breaks or a switch gets bumped and broken or something like that. So nice to be able to walk out to the trailer and just fix it and be done instead of running to the store. It's also great not having to think of every little thing you might need for every job. I just refill when low on something and then most jobs I can grab the major supplies and not have to try and think of every little detail I may need.

I may try the cardboard idea. Was even thinking after reading that I may be able to make some shelves that a cardboard tray will slide into. Keep a tray for each color or something. Also thought about maybe a few bins that aren't too tall. Something like this I pulled off google, https://www.biglots.com/product/larg...083246&pos=1:4. One box for each color of devices and then another one or two for metal and plastic boxes instead of the deeper tubs that need to be emptied to find one thing. This might be a good option except I haven't really found a durable bin like that.
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Old 01-11-2019, 03:12 PM   #8
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


sounds like you are trying to anticipate too many things and are packing and storing too much stuff.

if you are not a sparky buying by the case is just plain too much stuff to have laying around.
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:43 PM   #9
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


Cardboard...... in a vehicle? Bad idea. Vibrations will wear it thin in no time. Humidity will make it wilt. It just won't last long.

Plastic totes are much better.
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Old 01-11-2019, 04:53 PM   #10
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


this is what I used to use. Sturdy, dividable, stackable, and with lids. They come in different heights and I used them for everything. Had them stacked 3 on top of each other along a shelf in my bed and the only time they came unstacked is if I really drove like a jackass. Still have them in my garage

https://www.mcmaster.com/storage-bins


Design-Your-Own Conductive Compartmented Tote Boxes


Shown with Dividers

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Old 01-11-2019, 05:03 PM   #11
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


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Cardboard...... in a vehicle? Bad idea. Vibrations will wear it thin in no time. Humidity will make it wilt. It just won't last long.

Plastic totes are much better.
I mean a piece of cardboard or two inside the totes. Some stuff is moisture resistant and holds up.

Another option are the plastic signs you seen at the intersections. (Stock up after election day.) Or buy it at staples or office depot. Cut and bend as needed.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:15 PM   #12
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


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sounds like you are trying to anticipate too many things and are packing and storing too much stuff.

if you are not a sparky buying by the case is just plain too much stuff to have laying around.
By case I mean a 10 pack. Not a large quantity but when there are outlets, single pole switches, 3 ways, in white, LA, and ivory. Then plates. So it adds up fast.

Yes I am probably anticipating too many things. But it has paid off for me so far. I only have 2 bins of electrical stuff, one is just metal and plastic boxes that takes up a whole bin. That one I'm not too worried about. It's the one full of devices and plates that I would like to come up with some way to organize it.

Tomorrow I'm headed into town with the family so will pick up a few shallower bins instead of one deep on and see how that works out.

Thanks for all the ideas. I'll update on what I come up with.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:33 PM   #13
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


https://www.contractortalk.com/newre...te=1&p=7452929

Keep it all in Rubbermaid totes, but separate ziplocs for ea category.

All outlets in one ziploc. All white cover plates in a another, all remodel boxes in another, ad nauseam.
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Old 01-11-2019, 09:37 PM   #14
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


You're really stocking ivory?
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:12 PM   #15
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


Doing exterior remodeling I always carry a number of electrical items too. Always having to mover or cut and install light boxes where before was just a wire out the wall. So I have boxes, and all kinds of stuff. I am planning on using the packout boxes , the taller divided one.
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Old 01-11-2019, 11:57 PM   #16
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


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You're really stocking ivory?
I do work in places that have all ivory and if I need to replace a cover or something then I have to match it. So yes I carry some ivory stuff for that reason. I'm not doing brand new homes or even room remodels, that is for my electrician. But when I need to match an existing and it's ivory that is what I need.
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Old 01-12-2019, 12:05 AM   #17
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You're really stocking ivory?
I do a lot of log homes. Light Almond still looks terrible, and white is an abomination.
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Old 01-12-2019, 07:40 AM   #18
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Re: Storing Electrical Supplies


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Originally Posted by Lettusbee View Post
https://www.contractortalk.com/newre...te=1&p=7452929



Keep it all in Rubbermaid totes, but separate ziplocs for ea category.



All outlets in one ziploc. All white cover plates in a another, all remodel boxes in another, ad nauseam.
I do something similar with my electrical and my plumbing supplies. I buy the Glad food storage plastic boxes with lids that are meant for storing leftovers. I keep switches in one, receptacles in another, 3 ways in another, etc. For plumbing I keep 1/2" fittings in one, 3/4" fittings in anither, pex fittings in another, etc. Each container is labelled and they stack on my garage shelf, or in my truck as needed. In your case, you could stack these small containers inside your large rubber maid tote.

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