Let's Talk Labeling

Ok, so your just went out and bought a portable labeler. Save the receipt, you might be returning it after this snippet. I have owned roughly 5 of the self-contained labelers, they are all a waste of time. Do yourself a big favor and buy a label printer for the computer. I started with the Brother P-Touch PT-750w , though Brother has a full line up of PT labelers. Depending on your budget and needs, another product in their line might work better for you. 

The Mac/PC/Smart Device compatible P-touch Editor allows you to easily control every aspect of the selected cartridge. Typefaces, symbols, drawing tools and custom graphics, allow you to quickly create a template that you can save. The downside, no file exchange from the computer to the smart device. That said, you can't beat the capabilities for the price, $105 on Amazon

I have created a graphic standard for my labeling. It includes my logo, department and description of contents. If I want to modify this, I can simply "save as" and create it for another department. Keep in mind to "save as" before editing.

I have created a graphic standard for my labeling. It includes my logo, department and description of contents. If I want to modify this, I can simply "save as" and create it for another department. Keep in mind to "save as" before editing.

I have organized my labels in the cloud so I can access them from any computer. The P-Touch software does not require a serial number so you can install it on as many devices as you want.

I have organized my labels in the cloud so I can access them from any computer. The P-Touch software does not require a serial number so you can install it on as many devices as you want.

The P-Touch line of label cartridges come in so many different types. Everything from "iron on" to "wire wrap", there isn't anything you can't slap a label on. You will find and put items away faster, making labeling an important element in an efficient workflow environment. 

Some of the products labeled in the slideshow are from the following companies. Container Store : Festool : Milwaukee : Lutron : Wiha Tools : Shure : Sennheiser : Art Bin : SKB : Kennedy : InterMetro 

The Secret To My Organizing Success.

There is no secret, sacrifice or methodical planning. Organizing is an evolution identifying patterns of tasks and spacial relationships. Sounds complicated doesn't it? I know people that use cardboard boxes and old food containers. My point is creating a spacial relationship within pattern of your daily life. The best way to start from scratch is to make room for two work areas. The first is your inventory of containers, the second, a sorting area. Keep in mind, the containers don't need to be expensive. Everyone from Walmart to The Container Store offers storage solutions. It is up to your budget and expectation. 

Set yourself up for success by identifying what you need to organize. Buy a wide selection of inventory so you can focus on organizing. LEAVE THE STICKERS AND PRICE TAGS ON! The point here is to return what you don't use. 

Set yourself up for success by identifying what you need to organize. Buy a wide selection of inventory so you can focus on organizing. LEAVE THE STICKERS AND PRICE TAGS ON! The point here is to return what you don't use. 

The work area is a place where you can simply sort disfunction. Personally, I subdivide and sort everything before I select a permanent solution. Workflow is a very important part of my organization, I base storage placement within zones. Each zone has storage requirements, specifically related to tasks. This is the next level of being "organized". Most people don't need to be this methodical. 

I am starting to sort items into general holding areas, before I make a commitment to a container. This station is specifically to get an overview of what solution I will need. 

I am starting to sort items into general holding areas, before I make a commitment to a container. This station is specifically to get an overview of what solution I will need. 

With those two stations in place, the difunctional buffet of items are easier to manage. 

With those two stations in place, the difunctional buffet of items are easier to manage. 

I will leave you with a few ideas. Sub containing is a very important solution when you are using large bins with multiple items. To my knowledge, no one makes massive divider containers. Whenever I scout bins at The Container Store, I try to figure out what other containers fit within it. This allows me to subdivide. If I could design my own large containers, subdivision would be the biggest priority. Most systems, including "Smart Home" sold at the Container Store, does not fit all of my storage expectations. Though I have found it useful in several workflow scenarios. 

I am using an Iris container with Inter Design drawer inserts. I have found a combination that makes them stackable. This utilizes more space and subdivides the contents. Adding speed to my workflow. 

I am using an Iris container with Inter Design drawer inserts. I have found a combination that makes them stackable. This utilizes more space and subdivides the contents. Adding speed to my workflow. 

Lastly there is labeling. I am a huge fan of the Brother P-Touch series for the computer. Whether the container is clear or opaque, I label. I will explore this topic on another post. Just remember that organization starts with a spark and never needs to become a fire. Start the process in small achievable goals and it will take on a life of its own. 

Utonia's Shop Design – Reinventing Off-the-Shelf Solutions.

While arranging countless layouts of my shop, I decided that portability was the most important. I  knew that my building was a temporary solution, it is old and not large enough. Coincidentally, when my wife got a job in California, it became an obsession. My business is located in Fort Worth and there would be the possibility of moving it to the Bay Area. The concept of building French Cleat cabinets, became free standing shelves and prefabricated storage solutions. The Container Store specializes in prefabricated solutions for homes and garages; not for woodworking and manufacturing. This is when I needed to take the elfa design into my own hands. 

I had A/C outlets within my design. Work arounds require taking chances.

I had A/C outlets within my design. Work arounds require taking chances.

I learned a great deal about elfa and manipulating it around protruding objects. This one was not perfect, but it worked. 

I learned a great deal about elfa and manipulating it around protruding objects. This one was not perfect, but it worked. 

This area was starting to take shape. I had a light switch to integrate, started to get the hang of it by that point.

This area was starting to take shape. I had a light switch to integrate, started to get the hang of it by that point.

When you start adding all the accessories, it is a cascading effect. I made so many Container Store trips, returning and exchanging, I decided to keep an inventory of parts on hand.

When you start adding all the accessories, it is a cascading effect. I made so many Container Store trips, returning and exchanging, I decided to keep an inventory of parts on hand.

What I love the most about elfa, you can reconfigure at any moment. In fact, you can reinvent solutions based on what you didn't use. That also includes when your needs change. It is a very dynamic storage solution.

What I love the most about elfa, you can reconfigure at any moment. In fact, you can reinvent solutions based on what you didn't use. That also includes when your needs change. It is a very dynamic storage solution.

This is just a taste of the evolution to our general electronics build area. It was the turning point for me to explore the strengths of elfa and how I could tailor it beyond their design intentions. The next project pushed the envelope even further. Stay tuned. 

Find a mentor who understands.

I had the good fortune to hang out with an accomplished Los Angeles musician and producer during the concepting stage of my journey. Justin told me, “never let anyone say you are too old to reinvent your career.” It was so inspiring to hear his story of starting over a few years ago, ending up producing a Grammy winning song. Reflecting on our visit has often been the adhesive that keeps my dream from falling apart. Friends and family mean well, but they will never understand the depth of the trenches you fight in. 

Upon my return I looked at my past and present, determining if there were any paths left to follow. I had been playing guitar for about a year, and was really into it. Thought about the possibility of being a reseller of boutique amps. But retail isn't creative, it's just another job. As I started putting the pieces in front of me together – owning a building, capital to risk, a  guitar teacher, Yu-Po, who builds and services the electronics for tube amps and – it was like a drumroll before the punchline. I tied in his skills with mine and like the final cymbal splash of a career-long joke, we will design and build guitar amplifiers! Now, to see if Yu-Po will agree to be a part of my plan.

And so it began…