As a studio owner, I'm constantly battling entropy. Whether it's everyday gear, or rarely-used tools and accessories — stuff tends to pile up randomly in corners and cubbies. When I decided to put more effort into organizing, finding a permanent home for the bigger items was easy. The smaller things, on the other hand, needed help. I decided that the solution was to invest in multi- compartment organizers. ••• If you want a briefcase-style organizer with removable bins, the Stack-On DCOG-10 Deluxe Deep Cup Organizer ($12 street; www.stack- is definitely the one to buy. Mine is filled with screws and other fasteners, and more often than not, when I'm working on a specific project, I need a handful of only one type/size of fastener — that's when the removable bins come in handy. But what makes this organizer stand out from the many others of similar layout are two crucial features. The first is the hinged lid, which incorporates an ingenious pattern of triangular ridges that prevents spillage between bins, no matter the configuration of bins you keep in the box. The lid is just stiff enough that it doesn't flex under load, even when the organizer is full of heavy fasteners and you turn it upside down, but not so stiff that it will crack when forced. The lid locks down securely with two latches that click reassuringly when closed. And I have yet to experience any cross-bin migration, even when I'm carrying the organizer hanging sideways by its beefy handle. The second innovative feature is in the design of the removable bins. A flat "lip" along one top edge of each bin makes bin removable easy. Plus, the lip is just the right size for a label. For each screw type, I cut out the description from the paper box it came in (e.g., Fine Thread Drywall Screw 1-5/8'') and tape it to the lip. As the company name suggests, you can stack multiple DCOG-10 organizers on top of each other, and a stack of several organizers remains stable even in the back a moving car. Also in Stack-On's catalog is the SB series of storage cases without removable cups ($3-$12). I have many of these, in various sizes, configurations, and colors — perfect for rackmount hardware, headphone adapters, sex changers, word clock terminators, tie-wrap anchors, shrink wrap pieces, and the like. These too have lids that prevent small parts from sneaking their way between bins; molded "fences" on the underside of the lid match up perfectly with the top edges of the dividers. The bottoms of each bin are radiused so that even small parts are easy to remove; just poke your fingertip onto the part and slide it up. A few removable dividers are included with each case, but unfortunately, thin parts (like washers), can sneak under these dividers. ••• I also have several clear plastic cases from the Akro-Mils Craft Storage line ($7-$11 street; Like the Stack-On organizers, these too have fenced lids and radiused bottoms. But one advantage is that they also have molded indents along the bottom to prevent flat items from sneaking underneath any removable dividers. A disadvantage is that the lid latch relies on a thin "fold" of plastic versus a real hinge. I also own the largest size of the two-level Akro-Mils Portable Organizers ($22-$28). The bins in the lower level are big enough to hold tools and long fasteners, while the top level is perfect for small fasteners, nuts, washers, etc. A big handle makes it easy to carry the organizer briefcase- style. And thankfully, it includes all of the same anti-migration features as its Craft Storage cousins. 

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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