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Thread: Best way to organize ICs?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Blog Entries

    Default Best way to organize ICs?

    I have literally thousands of these that I've collected over time and I've not found a really great way to organize them. One problem is that I have a wide variety but sometimes only a few of a particular model. So if I organize by model I end up with a lot of empty mini-drawer space. But if I put multiple models in one drawer then I'm having to hunt for stuff. Then there's also the humming and hawing about chips that are sealed nicely in tubes or new foam that don't fit in the drawers... do I take them out?

    How do those of you who have large IC and component collections deal with that efficiently? Is there a magic, space saving method (other than throwing the whole lot in a bucket) that works best?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Pacific Northwest, USA
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    The "lotsa one kind" stuff in my collection goes into labeled tubes.

    The not-so much stuff goes into mini-drawer wall-mounted cabinets organized by part number in sequence (i.e. 7407 comes after 7406). If I have few of one kind, I partition the drawer (which allows for partitioning into 3). HF has a 40 drawer unit for about $15.

    It works for me--and also for resistors and capacitors.

    When I'm working on a project, I take the needed parts and place them into divided tray that I can carry to my workbench.
    Last edited by Chuck(G); June 5th, 2018 at 11:10 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Toronto ON Canada


    For "lotsa one kind" I do the same as Chuck; put 'em in tubes, and the taped-together tubes in long thin boxes by type (SRAM, EPROM etc.)

    New "other stuff" also goes into partitioned drawers, but only loosely sequenced by part number so I don't have to move anything if I add a type in the middle somewhere; sometimes onesies and twosies even share the same partition. A spreadsheet provides an index to what's where and also keeps a rough inventory.

    Pulls go on to anti-static "trays", 8" x 5" or so, also indexed in the spreadsheet.

    Finally I keep another (incomplete) spreadsheet of ICs on boards that I'll unsolder if/when I need a particular IC that I don't have elsewhere.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Connecticut, USA


    I use those sterilite plastic drawers that any big box store sells. I keep them in individual tubes or bags and label them. Doesnt really help when they are all thrown in a heap...

  5. #5


    I organize by purpose when I don't have enough to justify a tube or drawer, but I have a few dozen drawers of caps, resistors, fuses, TTL, proms, leds, and so on. I have most components sorted so I can locate what I need when I need it.
    @ BillDeg:
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  6. #6


    For storage I use old cigar tins. I bought about 200 of them for 20 on ebay some years ago. They're quite thin so you can pack a lot of them into a small space. A shoe box will hold 40-60. If I've got more than a couple of tins worth of something then the extras are kept in tubes and I refill the tins as needed.

    If something is part of an identifiable series (74-series, 4000-series, 27xxx EPROM, etc) then the series is kept together and organised numerically. Everything else is organised by type (UARTs, SRAM, op-amps, etc).


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Central VA


    Hah, neat! I don't know if cigar tins are a thing here in the US, but cigar boxes were the old go-to for apparently every ham ever. You can't leave a hamfest without a cigar box with *something* interesting in it!

    I keep my big stocks of ICs (for kits, day-job stuff, etc) in tubes in old microfiche cabinets. The divisions are the perfect size for most quantities of ICs I have. The "loose" stuff is quasi-grouped by function on sheets of antistatic foam. I've also got a lot of Stack-On brand plastic cabinets for storing other types of parts. Here's a picture of one of the microfiche cabinets:

    And here's some of the small parts drawers:


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