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5x5x5 Tech Housekeeping Challenge - Part 2: Tool Organization

Looking for some help on organizing your technical supplies or equipment? We have a super guide and a specific list of tasks to help YOU get your backstage and scene shop area in order. Whether you have a small space serving as your 'scene shop' or a dedicated area and a staff to work there, this article series is designed to help you get inspired and stay organized. We called in technical theatre expert, Stacy Hennon Stone, Assistant Technical Director at the Norris Center/Palos Verdes Performing Arts. Stacy has provided some great tips and step-by-step instructions for all aspects of your scene shop or work area.

If you've got 5 minutes, Stacy's got a task. If you've got 5 hours, Stacy's got more for you. Are you ready to be challenged? Let's do it!

Label everything! I use p-touch (can be bought on Amazon for $20-$50) or print labels from your computer. Outline things with sharpie. Use white gaff tape. ANYTHING! People are more likely to put things away if they know where they go.

Challenge #2: Tool Organization

5x5x5 Tech Challenge - Tool Organization

Use peg board to create a hand tool storage and organization wall.

Attach some 1”x3” or whatever scrap you have around to the wall. Attach the peg board on top of the pieces of wood. This will give space behind the peg board for the pegs to put into the holes.

Different sizes and shapes can be found at the local hardware store, or on line.

Once the board is up, figure out the designs of where everything goes. Hang up the tools. Then use a sharpie to outline all tools. Label the space you have drawn. Now everyone knows exactly what goes where, and what is missing from the storage area.

5x5x5 Tech Challenge - Tool Organization

A built in shelf unit takes more time and money to do. But often the upfront time and cost will save you annoyance for years to come!

Here we have a long shelf on top where all drills and battery chargers are.

The next shelf down had individual cubbies labeled with different power tools.

Below that are drawers for things like drill bits, sand paper and saw blades.

Labeling tools

You will need: bright color spray paint

Many theatres own a set of tools, but also have a group of people who come and go and use their own tools. So who owns which hammer? Easy! Choose a bright color that stands out. We chose orange! Now spray paint all the tools. It will not hurt the tool. But it makes it easy to say “orange stays here”.

For more expensive tools, such as drills or saws use a sharpie, or a stencil with spray paint or etching

machine to put your name on it. Not tape! Use something that will not easily come off.

Click HERE for Part 1 of this series.

Stacy was born and raised in a scientific, artsy family in Redlands, California. In high school, she and her twin sister joined the drama department their freshman year to do props for a musical... "It would be easy!" their friend said! And there started their lifelong involvement in theatre.

Stacy received a BA in Technical Theatre with a minor in Business Administration from the University of Redlands in 2006. Later that year, she co-founded Redland's Civic Light Opera which produced three mainstage musicals, in which she was the Technical Director, Co-Designer, and General Manager.

In Los Angeles, she continued to work in theatre, ranging from the Long Beach Playhouse to Opera Santa Barbara, and everything in between. Stacy has been the Assistant Technical Director at the Norris Center/Palos Verdes Performing Arts for the last eight years.

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